Jul 5, 8:18 AM EDT

Land mine blast in east Ukraine kills 5 soldiers, wounds 3

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MOSCOW (AP) -- Ukraine says five of its soldiers were killed and three wounded when a land mine exploded in the east of the country, where government troops are fighting Russia-backed separatists.

The presidential administration spokesman for the military operation, Alexander Motuzyanik, told reporters Sunday that the explosion occurred the previous day near the village of Donetsky in the Lugansk region, which is along the front line. The spokesman's remarks in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, were carried by Russian news agencies.

Despite an internationally brokered cease-fire in February, sporadic fighting continues along Ukraine's front line and each side regularly accuses the other of shelling its positions.

The United Nations estimates that the war in Ukraine has claimed about 6,500 lives since it broke out in April 2014.

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