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Ukraine’s Donetsk rocked by intense artillery fire

385723_Ukraine-Donetsk-shelling

Intense artillery fire has once again erupted in the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian forces have been engaged in a months-long battle, witnesses say.

On Wednesday, a string of mortar attacks targeted government positions around the city’s airport, causing explosions and setting off car alarms, they added.

“The sound of artillery fire and explosions can be heard in all districts,” Donetsk’s city hall said in a statement.

The heavy shelling came after monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) warned about growing clashes in east Ukraine despite a shaky ceasefire between the two sides, in place since September 5.

Both the Ukrainian government and the pro-Russians have blamed each other for violating the peace deal.

The Ukrainian army said on Wednesday that one of its soldiers had been killed and two others injured as its positions in the east came under repeated shelling.

Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east became the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia protesters and the Ukrainian army after the government in Kiev launched military operations in mid-April in a bid to crush protests.

Violence intensified in May after the two flashpoint regions of Donetsk and Luhansk held local referendums in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation.

According to the latest figures by the United Nations, more than 4,000 people have been killed and over 9,300 others injured since the fighting began in April.

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