KIEV – Three Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and 27 wounded in clashes with pro-Russian separatist rebels in the east of the country, the military said on Thursday.
Government forces have recently gained the upper hand in the three-month conflict against separatists in the Russian-speaking eastern regions in which more than 200 government troops have been killed as well as hundreds of civilians and rebel fighters.
But though government forces pushed the rebels out of a stronghold in Slaviansk at the weekend, the heavily armed separatists have dug in in Donetsk, a city of 900,000 people, and remain active in and around Luhansk on the Russian border. The government's "anti-terrorist operation" said that one soldier was killed late on Wednesday when rebels fired machine-guns at a truck carrying soldiers at Muratova near Luhansk.
"The vehicle was ambushed. In the course of the fighting one serviceman was killed and three were wounded," it said in a statement.