Donetsk: A man and a woman were killed Saturday by shelling in the centre of the eastern Ukraine rebel stronghold Donetsk, just hours before a truce was due to start, an AFP journalist at the scene said.
Mortars also fell close to the residence of pro-Russian separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko in the insurgent bastion.
Artillery bombardments happen daily around Donetsk but the centre of the city is rarely hit.
Ahead of the ceasefire set to come into effect at midnight (2200 GMT Saturday) fierce fighting was raging across the region.
Close to the battleground town of Debaltseve -- some 65 kilometres (40 miles) northeast of Donetsk -- AFP journalists saw six multiple rocket launcher systems, several tanks and a dozen 152 mm cannons heading towards the rebels` frontline.
Regular artillery bombardments could be heard by journalists in the town of Gorlivka, some 20 kilometres from Debaltseve.