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Eight Ukrainian troops were killed and 34 wounded overnight despite a peace deal and a looming cease-fire deadline, the country’s military said Friday.
The deadly conflict has continued despite the agreement reached by leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France in the Belarusian capital of Minsk on Thursday. The leaders agreed to implement a cease-fire, set to take effect on Sunday, at one minute after midnight.
Vladislav Seleznyov, spokesman for the Ukrainian army general staff, said in comments carried by Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Friday that much of the latest fighting had taken place in Debaltseve, a key transport hub that has been hotly contested in recent days.
Separately, 14 people were injured in fighting in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk in the 24 hours ending at 6 a.m. local time, municipal authorities there said.
The U.S. has given the Minsk deal a very cautious welcome. Secretary of State John Kerry noted that there is "a long road ahead before achieving peace and the full restoration of Ukraine's sovereignty."
The deal, details of which were posted on the Kremlin website, included a full pardon for rebel fighters, an all-for-all prisoner swap, and the removal of "all foreign forces...and mercenaries from Ukraine."
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