World

Ukraine says 3 soldiers killed in fighting in the east, heaviest conflict around Debaltseve

  • Wreaths are placed on the graves of victims of Saturday's shelling after a funeral in Mariupol, Ukraine, Tuesday Jan. 27, 2015. European Union leaders are threatening fresh sanctions against Russia because of what it sees as "growing support" of Moscow for separatists in eastern Ukraine during intensified fighting over the past days. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

    Wreaths are placed on the graves of victims of Saturday's shelling after a funeral in Mariupol, Ukraine, Tuesday Jan. 27, 2015. European Union leaders are threatening fresh sanctions against Russia because of what it sees as "growing support" of Moscow for separatists in eastern Ukraine during intensified fighting over the past days. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)  (The Associated Press)

  • People cross tram lines in a fog in Mariupol, Ukraine, Tuesday Jan. 27, 2015. European Union leaders are threatening fresh sanctions against Russia because of what it sees as "growing support" of Moscow for separatists in eastern Ukraine during intensified fighting over the past days. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

    People cross tram lines in a fog in Mariupol, Ukraine, Tuesday Jan. 27, 2015. European Union leaders are threatening fresh sanctions against Russia because of what it sees as "growing support" of Moscow for separatists in eastern Ukraine during intensified fighting over the past days. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)  (The Associated Press)

  • Eduard Basurin, the deputy commander of Russian-backed separatist forces, speaks at a news conference in Donetsk, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. Rebel forces in eastern Ukraine have claimed major victories in their offensive against Ukrainian government forces in recent days and say they intend to press further, in violation of a peace agreement concluded in September. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    Eduard Basurin, the deputy commander of Russian-backed separatist forces, speaks at a news conference in Donetsk, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. Rebel forces in eastern Ukraine have claimed major victories in their offensive against Ukrainian government forces in recent days and say they intend to press further, in violation of a peace agreement concluded in September. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)  (The Associated Press)

A Ukrainian official says three soldiers have been killed in the past 24 hours in fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told reporters on Wednesday that the situation remains tense and that pro-Russian rebels are attacking the army on all fronts.

The military conflict between Russia-backed separatists and the government forces in eastern Ukraine has been raging since April, claiming more than 5,100 lives, according to the United Nations.

Lysenko said the fighting is particularly fierce in Debaltseve, a strategic town which links the Donetsk rebels with the separatists in the Luhansk region.