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Jan 11, 7:11 AM EST

A Ukrainian government official says the nation's forces have captured new positions in the rebel-held east


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MOSCOW (AP) -- A Ukrainian government official says the nation's forces have captured new positions in the rebel-held east.

Olexander Motuzyanyk, presidential spokesman for the operation in the east, said on Wednesday that one soldier was killed and three injured in fighting in the conflict zone in the past 24 hours.

In a briefing published on the Ukrainian defense ministry's website, Motuzyanyk confirmed reports that government forces have captured "new important" positions north of the rebel stronghold Donetsk.

Fighting between government troops and Russia-backed separatists has killed more than 9,600 people since it broke out in 2014.Both Ukraine and the separatists are party to a truce under which both parties should cease fire and stop advancing. Motuzyanyk insisted, however, that the new positions are "within the borders" stipulated by the cease-fire agreement.

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