Three Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in a new wave of fighting between Ukraine's forces and pro-Russia fighters in the east of the country.
Ukrainian military spokesman, Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, said Tuesday that the three were killed in separate rounds of fighting that erupted in two provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk.
"Tragically, three Ukrainian servicemen were killed and 15 of our fighters were wounded. One serviceman remains unaccounted for," Motuzyanyk said, adding that two of the soldiers were killed in Lugansk, a province with fewer cases of confrontation recorded over the past few months.
"A secret subversive group crossed the river and attacked our soldiers. The battle lasted for 15 minutes," he said, accusing the pro-Russia forces of breaching a recent ceasefire deal along the volatile frontline that went into effect in early September.
For more than two years, eastern Ukraine has been the scene of bloody battles between government forces and pro-Russia fighters. The conflict has left more than 9,600 people dead, most of them killed before another truce deal came into effect in February 2015. The agreement reached between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany in the Belarusian capital of Minsk largely calmed the situation but sporadic clashes have continued on the frontline.
Warring sides were supposed to end hostilities by the end of last year but lack of progress and continued fighting forced them to extend the Minsk Agreement through 2017.
Top diplomats from Germany and France were scheduled to meet officials in Kiev on Tuesday to revive the peace agreement.
Kiev says Russia is the main obstacle in the way to establish peace in the region as it allegedly supports fighters through weapons and funds. Moscow denies any involvement, but says it will continue to support the ethnic-Russian population in the east of Ukraine against what it calls the suppression of the Ukrainian government.