Ukraine: Separatists claim part capture of Debaltseve

- Ukraine reports five soldiers killed as pro-Russian separatists claim seizure of part of the country’s eastern railway hub.

KIEV, Ukraine (AA) – At least five Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and nine others injured in the past 24 hours, Ukraine's Counterterrorism Center has said, as pro-Russian separatists claimed they had seized part of the strategic city of Debaltseve.

The reports came on Tuesday as clashes continued in eastern Ukraine, despite a cease-fire between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists being agreed in Minsk on Feb. 12.

Ukraine's Counterterrorism Center spokesperson Andriy Lysenko claimed the cease-fire had been violated 164 times within 24 hours by pro- Russian separatists and accused them of assaulting and provoking Ukrainian troops.

Meanwhile, Donetsk police officials said separatists had captured part of Debaltseve, the country’s eastern railway hub.

- Fighting erupts

Donetsk deputy police chief Ilya Kiva told a local TV channel that part of a railway station in the key strategic city had been surrounded and taken by separatists.

He said intense clashes were continuing despite the latest cease-fire agreed in Minsk, which called for a complete ceasefire to be effective from midnight on Feb. 15.

Kiva added that the situation in the city could change at any moment and many battles were taking place on different streets and roads in Debaltseve.

Fighting between government forces and pro-Russian separatists broke out in Ukraine's Donbass region in April 2014.

In September and December 2014, the two sides managed to reach two cease-fire agreements, which lasted until Jan. 12, when fighting broke out throughout the region.

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