Five soldiers, one civilian killed in east Ukraine


Fresh clashes between Ukraine’s military forces and pro-Russia fighters have left five Kiev soldiers and one civilian dead as a new round of peace talks fail.

Kiev military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told reporters on Thursday that the five servicemen were killed in the eastern provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk.

Meanwhile, the pro-Russia fighters say the government forces shelled the town of Gorlivka for one hour, striking a jail building and killing one civilian.

The clashes come after three days of Russia and European-mediated talks between the two conflicting sides in Ukraine for ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine failed to make progress.

The recent round of talks in the Belarus capital of Minsk between representatives from Europe, Russia, Ukraine and pro-Russia were aimed at salvaging a widely-ignored ceasefire deal between the warring sides.

The shaky truce, which was signed nearly six months ago, has failed to end the deadly violence in the mainly Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine, with both sides trading accusations over breach of ceasefire.

The warring sides signed the ceasefire deal, dubbed Minsk II, at a summit in Minsk in February. The agreement introduces measures such as a ceasefire, the pullout of heavy weapons and a constitutional reform in Ukraine by the end of the year.

However, both Kiev and the pro-Russians have failed to stick to the framework of the agreement, including pulling-back heavy weapons deployed to the war zone, according to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

The United Nations estimates that the fighting in eastern Ukraine has left dead close to 7,000 people and displaced at least 1.4 million others so far.

Kiev launched its military campaign in the pro-Russian regions of Lugansk and Donetsk in April 2014.