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7 Ukrainian soldiers killed in past 24 hours

Fighting in eastern Ukraine is at its worst level since a ceasefire was agreed last September.

FILE: A Ukrainian soldier stands guard at a check-point near the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on 11 August 2014. Picture: AFP.

KIEV - Seven Ukrainian servicemen have been killed and 24 wounded in fighting in separatist eastern territories in the past 24 hours, Kiev military spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov said on Monday.

Fighting in eastern Ukraine is at its worst level since a ceasefire was agreed last September. The rebels have launched an offensive on the port city of Mariupol and vowed to encircle the town of Debaltseve, where Seleznyov said fighting was the most intense.

More than 4,700 people were killed in 2014 in eastern Ukraine in a conflict pitting pro-Russian separatists against government forces loyal to Kiev's pro-Western government. The fighting has provoked the worst crisis in relations between Russiaand the West since the Cold War.

Ukrainian authorities and separatists have exchanged hundreds of prisoners of war as part of a 12-point plan to end the conflict

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