Donetsk: International observers with the OSCE came under fire in restive eastern Ukraine on Sunday in what the mission described as an "unacceptable" incident.
The six monitors were unharmed despite their vehicles being hit by mortar or artillery fire in the rebel-held Donetsk area as fighting flared between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels. The incident was one of many undermining a shaky ceasefire in place since September 5.
Alexander Hug, the deputy head of the OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine, said the Monday incident was "regrettable".
"Putting our observers at risk is unacceptable to the mission," he told a press conference in Donetsk.
He said one of the vehicles was so heavily damaged it had to be abandoned as the observers sought safety.
The OSCE brokered the truce signed by Kiev, Moscow and pro-Russian separatists, but the rival sides have since accused each other of repeated violations.
Six civilians were killed in shelling near Donetsk airport on Sunday, the deadliest day since the truce.
Hug said the OSCE monitors had witnessed over the past 48 hours an increase in incidents that breached the truce agreed in the Belarussian capital Minsk.
"We call upon the participants to the protocol in Minsk to abide by the stipulations in that agreement so that the situation in the region and in the Lugansk region can be brought back to normal," Hug said.
Sunday`s incident came after the OSCE observers had made an "on-site assessment" of the rebel-held zone where a Malaysia Airlines was shot down east of Donetsk.
Flight MH17 was downed in July with the loss of all 298 people on board after being hit by what Dutch investigators said last week were numerous "high energy objects".
The government in the Netherlands, which lost 193 citizens in the disaster, said Thursday that the site was still too unsafe for investigators to resume the recovery of victims` remains.