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East Ukraine clashes kill 14, including 10 troops

 
 
 
 
 
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Fierce clashes between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia forces have killed 14 people, including 10 government soldiers in the volatile eastern regions of the country.

Ukrainian military spokesman, Oleksiy Dmytrashkivsky, said Friday that clashes took place in the eastern town of Shakhtersk, some 25 kilometers away from the crash site of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.

The spokesman added that the 10 bodies were confirmed to be Ukrainian soldiers and the remaining four have not yet been identified.

According to the Ukrainian army, its forces had been ambushed in the town.

This comes as the military said it was re-launching a broader offensive against pro-Russia forces following a day-long ceasefire; however, it claimed that it would not carry out operations in the immediate vicinity of the MH17 crash site.

Meanwhile, a team of 70 international experts arrived on Friday at the crash site to conduct search operations in a bid to recover the remains of some of the 298 victims of the July 17 crash. Over 200 bodies have so far been found.

The group of experts had been unable to access the area for several days in a row due to fighting around the site.

Pro-Russia forces have repeatedly accused Kiev of blocking access to the crash site by fighting in the area.

Ukraine launched military operations in Donetsk and Lugansk in mid-April to crush pro-Russia forces there. Violence intensified in May after the two flashpoint regions held local referendums, in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.

The United Nations says at least 1,129 people have been killed in the ongoing military campaign in eastern Ukraine.

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