15 Killed in East Ukraine

15 Killed in East Ukraine15 Killed in East Ukraine

At least 15 people, including seven civilians, have been killed during battles in eastern Ukraine over the last 24 hours, official reports said Tuesday. Five government troops were killed and an unspecified number wounded as independence-seeking insurgents have intensified their offensive on Ukrainian soldiers, said Andrei Lysenko, spokesman for the National Security and Defense Council, Xinhua reported.

Insurgents deployed tanks and heavy artillery during the fighting around Donetsk airport, forcing Ukrainian troops to open fire in response, Lysenko said, adding that rebels suffered "significant losses" during the battles. According to one of the insurgent leaders, Eduard Basurin, at least three soldiers from rebel forces have been killed and 36 wounded during the confrontation in Donetsk. Meanwhile, Donetsk city council said four civilians died and 10 others suffered shrapnel wounds as the result of shelling in the residential area of the city.

Separately, three civilians were killed in the neighboring Lugansk region over the past day. According to Gennady Moskal, the head of Lugansk Regional Administration, a 53-year-old woman was killed in shelling from Grad rocket-launchers in the center of Zolotoe town. Besides, a 78-year-old father and his 45-year-old son died when shell hit their house in Popasnaya town. Violence in eastern Ukrainian regions has continued despite a ceasefire declared on Sept. 5. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry estimated Monday that 56 Ukrainian servicemen and 32 civilians have been killed since the truce took effect.

The latest report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said more than 3,600 people have been killed and around 8,440 others wounded since the start of the violent conflict in eastern Ukraine in mid-April.