Five civilians including two children die in east Ukraine: Officials

Five civilians including two children die in east Ukraine: Officials

KIEV - Five civilians, including two children, and three more Ukrainian soldiers have died in the latest fighting in Ukraine, officials said Saturday.

The civilian deaths came in Gorlivka, some 30 kilometres north of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, late Friday, the local council in the rebel-held city said.

It added that a further 12 people were also injured when artillery struck a residential area of the city, seriously damaging two apartment blocks and destroying six flats. The council did not specify who fired the mortars.

Earlier Saturday, security officials in Kiev said three more Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in fighting in the east over the past 24 hours, taking to seven the total number of servicemen killed across the region in the past day.

On Friday, a five-year-old girl died in shelling in a village near the city of Lugansk while a mining company worker was killed in another shelling at a coal mine northeast of Donetsk, Ukrainian officials and his employer said.

The latest wave of casualties comes with the unrest in Ukraine high on the agenda at a G20 summit in Brisbane, where Western leaders have pledged to pile fresh pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia denies involvement in the conflict but Western powers fear a possible escalation, with NATO this week accusing Moscow of sending fresh armoured columns and troops across the border to bolster pro-Russian separatist forces.

Seven months of fighting in eastern Ukraine has claimed the lives of more than 4,000 people, according to figures from the United Nations.

A ceasefire agreed in September has stopped fighting along much of the frontline but not artillery bombardments around strategic hotspots.

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