Kyiv Says One Ukrainian Soldier Killed, Eight Wounded In Conflict In East

Ukraine says one of its soldiers has been killed and eight others wounded in clashes with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on April 12 that separatist fighters fired machine guns, anti-tank missiles, and grenade launchers, violating a cease-fire 20 times in a 24-hour period.

Heavy weapons, including anti-tank missiles, are banned under the Minsk peace agreements.

The ministry also said that Ukrainian armed forces killed nine separatists and wounded eight others.

Meanwhile, the separatists in the Luhansk region accused Ukrainian government forces of violating the cease-fire seven times in the same period.

Since April 2014, some 13,000 people have been killed in fighting between Kyiv's forces and Russia-backed separatists who control parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Cease-fire deals announced as part of the Minsk accords -- September 2014 and February 2015 pacts aimed at resolving the conflict -- have contributed to a decrease in fighting but have failed to hold.

A new cease-fire agreement was reached on March 8, but both sides have accused each other of repeated violations since then.

With reporting by TASS