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KIEV, Ukraine - Seven Ukrainian soldiers were killed when a shell fired by pro-Moscow separatists hit their armored personnel carrier near Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine, a military spokesman said on Monday. It was the largest loss of life among Ukrainian soldiers in a single incident since a fragile cease-fire in the region began on Sept. 5.
Despite the cease-fire, fighting has flared frequently around Donetsk international airport, which is held by government forces. The rebels hold key points inside the city itself, an industrial hub with a pre-war population of about one million. A United Nations human rights official said on Sept. 23 that more than 3,500 people had been killed in the conflict, including 298 people who died when a Malaysian passenger plane flying over eastern Ukraine was brought down in July.