KIEV, Ukraine – Officials say five Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and 29 wounded in the past day in eastern Ukraine as fighting rages around a strategic railway hub.
Defense Ministry Spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov told The Associated Press Monday that fighting remains most intense around Ukraine-held Debaltseve, which is now almost entirely encircled by Russia-backed rebels.
Municipal authorities in Donetsk, the main rebel stronghold in the region some 60 kilometers (37 miles) southwest of Debaltseve, said in a statement posted online that 15 civilians were killed by shelling over the weekend. Explosions could still be heard throughout the city on Monday morning.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine has claimed more than 5,100 lives since April. Despite a September cease-fire and a period of relative calm in December, fighting has intensified in recent weeks.