Deadly Shelling in E. Ukraine

Deadly Shelling in E. UkraineDeadly Shelling in E. Ukraine

At least seven civilians and two soldiers were killed overnight Monday in eastern Ukraine as shelling from the warring sides intensified.

The local Donetsk News Agency said artillery fire killed three people in a front line town of Horlivka and two in the rebel capital of Donetsk, AP reported.

Ukrainian officials reported two civilian deaths on their side, in a suburb of Mariupol on the Black Sea. The Ukrainian Security and Defense Council also reported two troops killed and six injured overnight.

Witnesses said weaponry were on the move in the past few days while salvos of incoming and outgoing Grad rockets were frequently heard.

The fighting between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian government troops in the country’s industrial heartland eased after a truce was signed in February. But despite pledges to withdraw heavy caliber weapons from the front lines, both sides seem to be engaged in recent heavy fighting.

The conflict has killed an estimated 6,400 people since April 2014, according to the United Nations.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday accused the Ukrainian government in Kiev of derailing recent talks between Ukraine, the rebels and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that were supposed to agree on a weaponry withdrawal.

He said the uptick in shelling could be the beginning of a new Ukrainian offensive.

“We’re worried about events of the recent days, which look very much like preparation for fresh hostilities.”