Major Russian military convoy lining-up at the Ukrainian border.

ROSTOV, RUSSSIA — Russian military convoy at Morozovsk, Rostov advances towards the border with Ukraine. Ukraine’s smouldering seven-year war with Russian-backed separatists on its eastern border has flared up sharply in recent days after the worst clashes in months.

Four Ukrainian soldiers were killed — the largest daily death toll for government forces since the latest shaky ceasefire took effect last July — after an hours-long battle last Friday, north of the separatist stronghold city of Donetsk.

Kyiv and Moscow accuse each other of triggering the escalation in the conflict, which has claimed about 14,000 lives since Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

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