KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's military reported more heavy fighting between government forces and Russian-backed separatists in parts of eastern Ukraine overnight into Friday and a spokesman said five Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in the past 24 hours.
A military statement said the rebels used mortar, "Grad" rocket systems and artillery in attacks on government positions at Debaltseve, an important rail junction in the east, and near Mariupol, a strategic city on the Sea of Azov coast.
It said Kiev's forces were holding their positions but returning artillery and mortar fire when fired upon.
"Ukraine lost five service personnel and another 23 were wounded during firing and military clashes in the past 24 hours," military spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov said in a morning briefing.
(Writing by Richard Balmforth; Editing by Alessandra Prentice)