Seven killed by shelling near Ukraine's Mariupol: City hall

AFP , Tuesday 14 Oct 2014

Pro-Russian rebels fire artillery toward Ukrainian position at Donetsk Sergey Prokofiev International Airport outskirts the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. (Photo: AP)

Seven civilians died and 17 were injured when shells exploded near a funeral procession in a suburb of the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol on Tuesday, city hall said.

"Several shells exploded on the territory of the village (of Sartana). Civilians participating in a funeral procession were hurt," it said in a statement, blaming the attack on pro-Russian rebels.

Seven people died and 17 were injured, a spokesman for the Mariupol city hall told AFP.

Mariupol, a large southern city in the eastern region of Donetsk, a hub of the pro-Russian insurgency, is controlled by Kiev and has been peaceful for many weeks.

But on Monday, local authorities said Ukrainian forces outside the city were attacked with artillery from the east.

Earlier Tuesday, the military said seven soldiers had died over the last 24 hours, the heaviest daily toll since a tenuous truce was struck between Kiev and the separatists on September 5.

Territories east of Mariupol, an industrial hub on the Azov coast, were seized by pro-Russian rebels in a swift offensive last month which the government blamed on help from regular Russian forces.

Kiev and the separatists had struck a tenuous truce last month but the agreement has proven largely ineffective, with hundreds of casualties since then, most of them civilians.

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