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Kyiv says four soldiers killed in a bombing in eastern Ukraine

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In this file photo dated Monday, Dec. 9 2019, a Ukrainian soldier takes position on the front line at the town of Novoluhanske in the Donetsk region, Ukraine.
In this file photo dated Monday, Dec. 9 2019, a Ukrainian soldier takes position on the front line at the town of Novoluhanske in the Donetsk region, Ukraine.   -   Copyright  Vitali Komar/AP
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Four soldiers have died and two others were injured in a bombing in eastern Ukraine, the country's army has said in a statement.

It said that pro-Russia separatists, which have controlled swathes of eastern Ukraine since 2014, had targeted a Ukrainian military position with mortars, grenade launchers, and machine guns. The attack, in the Donetsk region, marks the worst loss of life in the region since 2019.

It appears to mark the end of a ceasefire that had held since July 2020, although tensions between separatist forces and the Ukrainian army have increased in the first months of 2021. In 2020, a total of 50 Ukrainian soldiers were killed, compared to 100 the year before.

The conflict with separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk has left more than 13,000 dead and over 1.5 million displaced, although the violence has been reduced markedly since the Minsk accords in 2015.

The Kremlin is widely believed to back separatist forces in eastern Ukraine with both military and economic resources, although it denies it.