Four people killed in east Ukraine fighting: Kiev

AFP , Saturday 18 Oct 2014

Two Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in combat with pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine, Kiev's military said Saturday, as violence rocked a truce after talks between Kiev and Moscow ended without a breakthrough.

"Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed over the last day, three were injured," said spokesman Volodymyr Polyovy.

"One soldier was killed by a sniper's bullet, and one as a result of a shelling attack," he said.

AFP correspondents also saw two civilians -- a man and a woman -- killed after a shell hit a residential house in the western district of rebel hub Donetsk.

The clashes are the latest violence to batter a fragile ceasefire deal between Kiev and the rebels, which has failed to stem fighting at flashpoints around the region.

Polyovy said insurgents "continued to violate the ceasefire agreement at several locations" over the past 24 hours, including at the airport in rebel hub Donetsk where Ukrainian positions were shelled twice.

Donetsk city hall said several residential houses were destroyed in the districts close to the airport.

AFP correspondents in the separatist-controlled city, once the biggest in the region and home to about one million people, heard artillery strikes on Saturday morning.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Friday held crucial talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and key European leaders, without making any apparent progress on the key sticking points.

Poroshenko said after the talks that "the main problem is the implementation of the agreement" Kiev struck with the pro-Russian rebels on September 5, which commits both sides to stop firing.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 3,400 people in the past six months, according to a "very conservative estimate" published in a UN report Friday.

"Serious ceasefire violations continue to be reported daily and shelling has intensified" in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the latest report from the United Nations said.

Short link: