Fighting in east Ukraine kills 11, including six soldiers

Fierce fighting in east Ukraine has killed at least 11 people over the past 24 hours, officials said today, as government forces and pro-Russian rebels battled for control of an airport.

Kiev: Fierce fighting in east Ukraine has killed at least 11 people over the past 24 hours, officials said today, as government forces and pro-Russian rebels battled for control of an airport.

A military spokesman reported six soldiers killed and 18 others wounded over the past day, adding that a civilian was left dead in a rebel strike on a checkpoint near Fashchivka in the Lugansk region.

City officials in hard-hit Donetsk earlier said four civilians died after shelling sparked a fire at a warehouse there.

"In the past day, six Ukrainian soldiers were killed. Eighteen more were wounded," military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said.

Fierce fighting broke out yesterday around the Donetsk airport, a wrecked shell repeatedly hit by battles but still of symbolic and strategic importance. After an overnight lull, there were reports of fresh fighting today.

Clashes have also hit other areas in the east as part of an upsurge in violence in recent days in a conflict that has killed more than 4,800 people.