Ukraine: Three civilians and eight soldiers have been killed in fighting in east Ukraine in the past 24 hours, government and rebel officials. Separatist authorities said shelling killed three civilians and wounded five more in rebel bastion Lugansk while Ukraine’s military said eight soldiers lost their lives and a further 34 were injured across the conflict zone.The casualties are the first to be reported since pro-Russian rebels and Kiev agreed a peace plan Thursday after marathon talks in the Belarussian capital Minsk between the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany. A ceasefire across the conflict zone is meant to start Sunday with both sides supposed to start pulling back heavy weaponry from along the frontline no later than two days after that.
Ahead of the truce Ukraine’s army said that the fiercest fighting remained focused around the key strategic town of Debaltseve, where rebel fighters are battling to encircle government troops. A journalist in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk said that sporadic missile salvos and dozens of artillery bombardments could be heard from the city starting early Friday morning. At least 5,486 people have been killed and some 13,000 wounded in 10 months of fighting around east Ukraine since April, according to the United Nations.