KIEV : Two Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in fresh clashes between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in the country’s war-torn east, the military said Sunday.

“Over the past 24 hours, as a result of fighting, we lost two of our servicemen while another four soldiers were wounded,” Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told journalists.

He did not specify the exact location where the soldiers had perished along the 30-kilometre-wide (19-mile-wide) buffer zone separating the two sides’ forces.

Lysenko again accused insurgents of violating peace agreements by shelling government-held areas with heavy weaponry including mortars and cannons.

Tensions between Ukraine and Russia escalated this month after the Kremlin accused Kiev of plotting armed incursions into Russian-annexed Crimea.

Kiev said last week that pro-Russian insurgents had killed three of its soldiers in the worst violence seen in the separatist east for a year. It accused rebels of launching more than 500 mortar and 300 artillery shells at government positions.

Western powers have warned against any escalation of the 28-month conflict that has claimed more than 9,500 lives since it erupted in April 2014.

Kiev and the West have accused Russia of supporting rebels and deploying troops across the border, both claims that Moscow denies.