US alarmed by spike in violence in eastern Ukraine

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration says it is alarmed by a spike in violence in eastern Ukraine.

It is blaming Russia for the conflict's highest two-day casualty figures in the last 18 months.

State Department spokesman John Kirby says six Ukrainian service members were killed and 33 wounded over the last two days in what he calls a "Russian-separatist attempt to seize additional Ukrainian territory."

He says Russia is violating previous truce deals by supporting the rebels.

Kirby on Tuesday called on Moscow to pressure the separatists into stopping.

He said Washington supports a "cease-fire recommitment" to provide greater security to Ukrainians on all sides.

Russia and Ukraine blame each other for the ongoing conflict that killed more than 9,600 since April 2014.

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