June 18, 2015 / 11:01 AM / in 2 years

Three Ukrainian soldiers killed as fighting intensifies in east: Ukraine military

Members of the Ukrainian armed forces gather on the roadside near the village of Vidrodzhennya outside Artemivsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, June 9, 2015. REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko

KIEV (Reuters) - Three Ukrainian servicemen have been killed and 14 wounded in the past 24 hours in fighting in separatist eastern territories despite a ceasefire, the Ukrainian military said on Thursday.

Ukraine and separatists have accused each other of increasing attacks in recent weeks, prompting international monitors to warn of the threat of a bigger flare-up.

“Clashes aren’t getting any less frequent and in certain parts they are turning into full-scale military operations,” Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said.

On Wednesday Russia and Germany, who were involved in brokering the Minsk ceasefire deal in February, called for an immediate cessation of hostilities.

Separatist officials accused Ukrainian forces of shelling and firing from tanks at rebel territory overnight and expressed disappointment in the pace of the peace process, rebel press service DAN reported.

More than 6,200 people have been killed since fighting broke out in April 2014 when pro-Russian rebels opposed to a new pro-Western government declared independence from Kiev.

In Kiev, parliament approved President Petro Poroshenko’s decision to dismiss the head of Ukraine’s SBU security service Valentyn Nalivaichenko.

The authorities did not announce the reason for his departure, but the SBU and other security services have been accused of failing to investigate crimes committed under previous president Viktor Yanukovich.

Nalivaichenko’s successor has not yet been announced.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets, Writing by Alessandra Prentice, Editing by Angus MacSwan

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