On Thursday, January 11, three Ukrainian soldiers were killed during clashes with separatist forces in the eastern village of Novoluhanske, Donetsk oblast. Four soldiers and three civilians were also injured in the fighting.
Additional clashes between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists are likely in the coming days and weeks despite the recent Christmas ceasefire.
This marks the bloodiest day of fighting in the country since a ceasefire between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian forces began on December 23.
Clashes between Ukrainian state forces and the separatists have been taking place on a regular basis despite a number of ceasefire agreements made since 2014. According to the UN, more than 10,300 people have died since the eastern Ukraine conflict erupted in April 2014, soon after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. The fighting has displaced more than 1.6 million people. The rebels remain in control of a large swath of territory in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, which are mainly Russian-speaking regions.
Due to the ongoing conflict, many Western governments advise against travel to the far east of Ukraine, including the cities of Donetsk, Horlivka, Makiyivka, Mariupol, and Luhansk.