Steady shelling heard near Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine, plumes of black smoke seen rising in area. Rough Cut. (No Reporter Narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Prolonged shelling was heard in an area north of Donetsk, with plumes of black smoke filling the sky on Sunday morning (September 7), in a further test for a ceasefire that is barely 40 hours old. The shelling came from near the airport, which has been in the hands of Ukrainian government forces though pro-Russian rebels control the city. Rebels told Reuters the airport itself was now empty and that the fighting was centred on a nearby military compound. Overnight the port of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov, to the south of Donetsk, also saw a serious violation of the ceasefire when government forces came under artillery fire. The ceasefire, brokered by envoys from Ukraine, the separatist leadership, Russia and Europe's OSCE security watchdog on Friday (September 5) in Minsk, is part of a peace plan intended to end a five-month conflict that has killed nearly 3,000 people. The renewed shelling broke out hours after Russia's President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko had agreed in a telephone call the truce was holding and had discussed ways of getting in humanitarian aid. Both sides blamed the other for the violations to ceasefire.