November 15, 2015 / 1:11 PM / 2 years ago

Ukrainian soldier killed in violence in east

KIEV (Reuters) - A Ukrainian serviceman was killed and eight were wounded in attacks by pro-Russian separatists in the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian military said on Sunday, as both sides reported renewed violence despite a ceasefire deal.

The guns were mostly silent in September and October, but there has been an increase in ceasefire violations in recent weeks, with each side blaming the other.

“The most difficult situation is still around Donetsk airport, where illegal groups cynically violated agreements, firing at Ukrainian positions using 120 caliber mortars,” Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksander Motuzyanyk said in a daily televised briefing.

For their part, separatist officials accused Ukraine of using mortars and tanks to fire on rebel-held territory, separatist news agency DAN reported.

Under the ceasefire deal, both sides are meant to have withdrawn most weapons from the frontline as part of a 12-point peace plan designed to end a conflict that has killed more than 8,000 people since April 2014.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which monitors the implementation of the ceasefire, warned on Friday that this month’s increase in violence threatened to derail the peace process.

On Saturday Kiev reported five soldiers killed in direct attacks from the separatist side in the previous 24 hours, the highest daily death toll in two months.

Reporting by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Andrew Bolton

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