Ukraine says seven soldiers killed in clashes in rebel east

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Ukraine says seven soldiers killed in clashes in rebel east

Kiev (AFP) - Seven Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in just three days in renewed fighting with pro-Russian rebels in the east of the country, the military said Monday.

Four soldiers were killed on Saturday, two Sunday and one on Monday, bringing the death toll to 14 since the beginning of June.

"The escalation began two to three weeks ago, the enemy is sending heavy weapons to frontline positions which is a violation of the peace agreements," military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told journalists.

More than 10,000 people have died since the pro-Russian insurgency began in April 2014, which Kiev and the West accuse Moscow of masterminding.

The US and EU have imposed sanctions on Russia, but Russia has denied backing the rebels.

Efforts to secure a peace deal have ground to a halt as the fighting has dragged on, and neither side appears prepared to make concessions.

The conflict, along with Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, have pushed ties between Moscow and the West to their lowest point since the Cold War.