Five Ukrainian soldiers were killed in clashes in the country’s separatist east over the past 24 hours, in the deadliest violence since a September truce, the military said Saturday.

 

“We lost five soldiers in fighting over the past 24 hours and four were injured,” army spokesman Andriy Lysenko said.Ukrainian soldiers

 

The troops were killed in clashes with pro-Russian rebels to the north and west of the separatist stronghold of Donetsk.

 

Over 8,000 people have been killed since the rebels took up arms against Ukraine’s pro-Western government last year following the ouster of a Russian-backed president in the capital Kiev.

 

The violence had significantly abated after the two sides agreed to a renewed truce in September that had largely held.

 

But in the past few weeks, the clashes have multiplied, leading to several deaths on the government side.