Six Ukrainian soldiers killed in east Ukraine fighting

Six Ukrainian soldiers were killed and nine injured in fighting between government forces and Russian-backed rebels over the past day, the Ukrainian military said Tuesday.

"In the course of the last 24 hours, six Ukrainian servicemen were killed and nine injured," military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said.

Ukraine's army said earlier that pro-Moscow fighters had shelled government positions 33 times despite a nominal ceasefire that has halted fighting along much of the frontline but not stopped deadly artillery exchanges at strategic flashpoints.

The pro-Kiev governor of the war-ravaged Lugansk region, where insurgents hold the main city, said that a 43-year-old woman had her leg blown off by rebel mortar fire.

Rebel authorities said that two fighters and one civilian were injured by government shelling in the separatist stronghold of Donetsk.

The casualties are the latest in the seven-month conflict that has claimed over 4,100 lives and left nearly 10,000 wounded, according to figures from the United Nations.

They come as Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visits Kiev and Moscow Tuesday for key talks aimed at reviving the failing peace plan to end the hostilities.

The European Union on Monday agreed to blacklist more Kremlin-backed rebels in Ukraine but stopped short of fresh sanctions against Moscow, saying there was hope of restarting dialogue with Moscow to end the worst standoff since the Cold War.