KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian forces denied allegations by pro-Russian separatists that they had launched a new offensive in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, saying they were strictly adhering to a ceasefire agreement.
Sporadic violence has flared up since the Sept. 5 truce, but the ceasefire has come under particular strain this week with both separatists and the central government accusing each other of violating the terms of the deal.
Earlier on Thursday Andrei Purgin, deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said the Ukrainian army had launched "all-out war" on rebel positions, Russian news agency RIA reported.
Ukrainian military spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov denied this, saying the army remained in agreed positions.
"We refute these allegations...we're strictly fulfilling the Minsk memorandum (on a ceasefire). We remain within the previously defined boundaries, in our positions. We're not advancing," Seleznyov said by telephone.
Separately, the Ukrainian military said three soldiers had been killed on Thursday, reporting a total of 26 separate artillery clashes with separatists.
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets, Writing by Alessandra Prentice, Editing by Timothy Heritage and Angus MacSwan)