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Deadly Fighting Continues In Ukraine Ahead Of Cease-Fire

The agreement to down weapons is due to be enacted on Saturday night. However, Kiev says there has been no let-up in violence since the deal was reached in Minsk, Belarus yesterday.

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Ukraine's military said eight service personnel have been killed and 34 wounded in the ongoing conflict against pro-Russian separatists in the past 24 hours, Reuters reported.

REUTERS © Gleb Garanich / Reuters

Members of the Ukrainian armed forces ride on armored personnel carriers near Debaltseve, eastern Ukraine, Feb. 12.

The reported deaths come despite a cease-fire deal that was agreed to yesterday during peace talks in Minsk, Belarus, and is due to be enacted overnight on Saturday.

A Ukrainian military statement said:

In the Donbass (eastern Ukraine), this night was not a calm one. The enemy shelled positions of the 'anti-terrorist operation' forces with the same intensity as before.

Ukrainian military spokesperson Vladyslav Seleznyov said: "Following military action and shelling ... Ukraine lost eight service personnel and 34 others were wounded."

The military said the fighting had been heaviest near a key railway junction in Debaltseve.

The head of the town's Kiev-controlled administration, Hennadiy Moskal, wrote online, "The town's heating system is broken, power lines are damaged as well as the water supply ... So this is how a comprehensive cease-fire is prepared for," Reuters reported.

AFP reported that seven civilians had been killed since the agreement, citing rebel sources.

Pro-Russian rebels have accused the Ukrainian military of shelling separatist-held Donetsk and Horlivka. A rebel website said three children had been killed, although Reuters were unable to verify these reports.

The BBC also reported shelling in Donetsk and Luhansk, and said there had been no confirmed reports of casualties. The corporation's correspondents in Donetsk said the shelling on Friday sounded less intense than previous days.

Francis Whittaker is a homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

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