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Five troops dead in Ukraine clashes

Five Ukrainian government troops battling separatist forces in the east of the country have been killed in one of the worst single days of bloodshed since a ceasefire was declared in February.

Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said four soldiers died when their armoured vehicle hit a mine near the front line town of Avdiivka. Another was killed in an ambush at another location.

Skirmishes have reportedly been increasing in recent weeks along the line of contact between the warring sides. International ceasefire monitors say both parties are violating the peace agreement by deploying heavy weapons near the front line.

More than 6,000 people have died over a year of conflict fuelled by an armed insurgency calling for the breakaway of Russian-speaking eastern Ukrainian regions.

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