Kiev: At least six civilians and two government soldiers have been killed in fierce fighting in eastern Ukraine over the past day, a government official and rebels said Sunday.
Three civilians were killed and one was seriously wounded when shelling hit their homes in two government-held towns along the frontline in the war-ravaged Lugansk region, Kiev-loyal local governor Gennadiy Moskal said in a statement.
Two Ukrainian servicemen were also killed by rebel rocket fire in the hotly contested town of Schastya, some 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of the major rebel-held city of Lugansk, Moskal said.
On the other side, a military spokesman for the pro-Russian rebels told the separatists` news agency that three civilians were killed and 19 were wounded in the past 24 hours across the territory of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People`s Republic.
The insurgent-controlled mayor`s office in rebel bastion Donetsk said separately that one civilian was killed in shelling in the city overnight, but it was not clear whether this casualty was included in the larger rebel figure.
An AFP reporter in the rebel-held city of Makiivka, which borders Donetsk, saw three buildings hit by mortar fire.
A woman at the scene said that her grandmother had been killed and grandfather wounded when shelling hit their home.
The reports of the latest casualties come after the collapse of peace talks in Minsk on Saturday aimed at thrashing out a ceasefire agreement to halt fighting that has killed more than 5,100 people since April 2014.
Ukraine`s representative at the meeting blamed the rebels for scuppering negotiations by refusing to discuss an immediate truce, while the insurgents said Kiev had to first halt fire before they would agree to stop fighting.
The fiercest battles are currently over the strategic transport hub of Debaltseve, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Donetsk, where rebels have torn up a previous truce deal to smash into Ukrainian territory.
Ukraine`s defence minister Stepan Poltorak on Saturday said that insurgent fighters now have "partial" control of the town, but Kiev denies rebel claims that they have surrounded some 8,000 Ukrainian troops there.