Fierce fighting in eastern Ukraine

Ukraine says an offensive by Russia-backed separatists over the past two days has killed seven of its soldiers and wounded 14 others.

The military said an increase in fighting on several fronts left five killed and nine troops injured on January 29. Two more were killed and five injured on January 30.

Military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said most the casualties were sustained near the town of Avdiyivka, north of the separatist stronghold of Donetsk.

"The situation in the Avdiyivka industrial zone is challenging,” Motuzyanyk said. “The enemy continues to fire at our positions with heavy artillery and mortars."

Meanwhile, the separatists said on January 30 that shelling by Ukrainian troops killed one civilian and wounded three others in the town of Makiyivka, south of Avdiyivka, a day after one of their fighters was killed.

The conflict between Ukrainian government forces and the separatists has killed more than 9,750 civilians and combatants in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.

Read more at RFERL.

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