An aide to the Ukrainian interior minister says 15 pro-Russian rebels were killed in clashes with government troops at a border crossing with Russia.

Speaking on a television show late Thursday, Anton Herashchenko said Ukrainian border guards clashed earlier in the day with armed men who came from Russia in trucks and an infantry vehicle and tried to cross the border at the village of Marynivka in eastern Ukraine.

Herashenko says the attackers were supported by about a hundred rebels who came from the Ukrainian side of the border. He says five Ukrainian troops were injured and 15 rebels were killed. Their bodies were taken to a nearby town.

Ukrainian government troops for weeks have been clashing with pro-Russian rebels who dismiss the Kiev government as illegitimate.