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Latest clashes claim seven lives in eastern Ukraine

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Ukrainian tank is stationed outside a building in the eastern town of Avdiivka, just north of Donetsk, February 2, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The latest clashes in eastern Ukraine have claimed the lives of more civilians and soldiers amid an escalation of fighting in the region.

Pro-Russia forces said shelling by the Ukrainian military had claimed the lives of two civilians in Donetsk on Friday.

Ukrainian authorities said three soldiers were killed in other parts of the region.

Near the town of Avdiivka, located just north of Donetsk, Ukraine's army said a woman and an emergency worker were also killed as Ukrainian soldiers and pro-Russians exchanged fire using mortars and rockets.

Nearly 30 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine's fighting since January 27, when tension rose again.

Ukrainian servicemen with their 122mm MLRS BM-21 Grad prepare to take position during military exercises of the Ukrainian army on shooting range in the Kiev region, October 28, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The conflict in eastern Ukraine erupted not long after people in the Black Sea Peninsula of Crimea voted in a referendum in March 2014 to rejoin the Russian Federation.

In April the same year, Kiev officially launched military operations to crush pro-Russians in Donetsk and Luhansk, which are mainly populated by ethnic Russians.

Nearly 9,500 people have died and over 21,000 others injured in the war, according to the United Nations.

On Wednesday, negotiators from Ukraine and Russia agreed in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, to call for an immediate ceasefire.

The pro-Russians did not attend the meeting but they are not against such calls.

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