Fighting continued in Ukraine between government forces and separatists one day after the country’s military suffered its worst casualties since signing a truce earlier this month.

Separatists tried to storm the government-held Donetsk airport twice in the past 24 hours, Ukraine military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told reporters today in Kiev. Rebels shelled Ukrainian army positions with Grad multiple rocket launchers in at least four locations, the military said on Facebook. Nine Ukrainian soldiers were killed in attacks, including a tank assault on an armored personnel carrier near Donetsk airport, the government said yesterday. Three government troops were wounded, with no deaths reported.

The violence contrasts with comments last week by President Petro Poroshenko that the worst of the war is over as Ukraine focuses on elections next month, securing gas supplies and preparing a bid for European Union membership. Russia, which denies involvement in the conflict, said it wants to normalize ties with the EU and the U.S. after being hit by sanctions.

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