Heavy artillery fire around Ukraine rebel city Donetsk: AFP
Heavy artillery fire on Wednesday rocked east Ukraine's main rebel bastion of Donetsk in the fiercest fighting around the city in days, an AFP journalist said.
The explosion of outgoing mortars being fired from near the centre towards government positions at the ruined airport could be heard from early in the morning, setting off car alarms, the correspondent said.
Donetsk's city hall said in a statement that "the sound of artillery fire and explosions can be heard in all districts" of the mining hub.
The intensified shelling, the heaviest heard since the weekend, comes after monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in east Ukraine warned that growing clashes could tip the region back into all-out conflict despite a frequently-violated ceasefire deal.
A fragile truce has been in place in the east of the former Soviet republic since September.
It has halted clashes along much of the frontline but not stopped bombardments at strategic flashpoints.
Ukraine's military said Wednesday one soldier had been killed and two wounded as it positions came under repeated shelling around the region.
Government forces also accused the rebels of trying to capture a strategic location along the volatile frontline, delineated as part of the ceasefire deal, north of the second-largest rebel city Lugansk.
© 2014 AFP