“As a result of a five-hour-long battle, four Ukrainian soldiers died, and seven more … received various injuries,” spokesman for the defense ministry Dmytro Gutsulyak told a press briefing.
The battle early Thursday took place in Lugansk region near the village of Krymske when pro-Russian separatists “attempted to overtake observation posts” on a local highway, Gutsulyak said.
Another soldier was killed in artillery fire elsewhere in the conflict zone, he added.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Ukrainian troops were attacked with high-caliber artillery. “The Russians… are trying to attack the positions of our troops, violating the ceasefire,” he said.
Rebel officials, cited by official media in the so-called Lugansk People’s Republic, the separatist enclave in Lugansk region, in turn blamed the Ukrainian army for violating the truce.