DONETSK, November 9 (RIA Novosti) — Intense exchanges of artillery fire resumed Sunday morning near the Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine, with thundering blasts heard as far as the city center, a RIA Novosti correspondent said.
Our correspondent cited a source in the Donetsk militia headquarters as saying that Ukrainian troops loyal to the government in Kiev had stepped up attacks on the city overnight, with reports of continuing shelling coming from along the line of engagement.
Donetsk city defenders told RIA Novosti pro-Kiev armed forces had been pounding their positions from the direction of Pisky and Opytne, two villages north of Donetsk, as well as from the city of Avdiivka nearby. Militias said they returned the fire with howitzers artillery systems stationed across the city.
According to the estimates provided by Donetsk militia leader Eduard Basurin, intense artillery bombardments have killed two city defenders and wounded six people, including five civilians and one soldier.
Militia headquarters said artillery exchanges intensified along the line of contact that stretches across the entire region, with more bombardments reported bear the port city of Novoazovsk in the south.
Fierce fighting is also reported in the adjacent Luhansk region, in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) that swore in its leader last Sunday.
"In the last few days, there have been intense clashes in the LPR territory. Initially, there were sporadic scuffles that escalated into fierce fights. Shelling continues along the entire line of engagement marked by the Seversky Donets River," Lt. Col. Alexander Bednov, the commander of the fourth motorized rifle division of the Luhansk Defense Ministry, said Sunday.
He said four troops have been killed in the ongoing clashes so far, while 12 people have been wounded.
The United Nations estimates that since the start of the Kiev-led campaign in mid-April more than 4,000 people have died and 9,000 have been injured in east Ukrainian hostilities as of October 31. A ceasefire is currently in place in the southeast, though the warring parties have accused each other of violating it.