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Local residents have a meal at an emergency center after shelling hit supply infrastructure in the government-held industrial town of Avdiyivka, Ukraine January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Maksim Levin


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is "deeply concerned" with the spike in violence in eastern Ukraine, which has caused dozens of Ukrainian military and civilian casualties, the State Department said on Tuesday.

"To avert a larger humanitarian crisis, we call for an immediate, sustained ceasefire and full and unfettered access for" monitoring, acting spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.

Ukraine and Russia blamed each other on Tuesday for a surge in fighting in recent days that has led to the highest casualty toll in weeks and cut off power and water to thousands of civilians on the front line.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; editing by Diane Craft)