In this Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015 photo, Pro-Russian rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko, center, surrounded by guards, smiles not far from rebel positions near the Donetsk airport in Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov)
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A burst of violence in eastern Ukraine cast further doubt Friday over whether a planned summit can bring lasting peace, with at least 11 people killed in clashes between the army and pro-Russian rebels.After weeks of relative calm, the new wave of violence has shaken eastern Ukraine, threatening all-out conflict and serving as a reminder of the war's worst days last summer.At least six Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 18 others wounded, while five civilians were left dead on Thursday and Friday, officials said.Some analysts have argued that Russia's strategy in the conflict may be to exhaust Ukraine's defence and financial resources, preventing it from further integration with the West.Russia however denies sending troops and weapons into eastern Ukraine to support the rebels, despite witness claims to the contrary, and peace talks have meanwhile stalled.
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