KIEV, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- At least 15 government troops were killed in fighting against independence-seeking insurgents in eastern Ukraine over the past 24 hours, a military spokesman said Tuesday.
Besides the fatalities, at least 49 other Ukrainian servicemen were wounded, according to Andrei Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council.
Lysenko said around 50 insurgents have been killed during the confrontation since Monday, but that number could not be immediately verified. The insurgents have not made comments on their casualties.
Lysenko repeated Kiev's claim that Russian forces are helping the insurgents, saying the "movements of Russian troops" were reported in six towns in the Donetsk region and in four communities in the Lugansk region.
In addition, Lysenko said that shells were fired from Russian territory against Ukrainian troops stationed near the joint border.
Russia and Ukraine have long been trading accusations of cross-border shelling, blaming each other for escalating the tension in border areas.
Increasing casualties have been reported in eastern Ukraine in recent weeks since government troops started fresh offensives against the main insurgent strongholds.
Over 2,500 people have been killed and at least 400,000 others have fled the restive Donetsk and Lugansk regions since mid-April.