Heavy overnight shelling near the eastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol kills two, wounds six and damages more than 50 houses. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
Local authorities in Sartana, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Ukraine's port city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov, reported on Monday (August 17) at least two civilians were killed when rebels shelled the town on Sunday (August 16). Several people, including a 10-year-old girl, were taken to hospital with wounds. Houses were badly damaged by overnight shelling with windows shattered and fences partially destroyed. A woman surveyed damage to a house, where a man and a woman were killed, with a puddle of blood and rubble on floor and broken furniture in the room. Fighting flared between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists in two separate parts of eastern Ukraine overnight. The clashes, near Mariupol in the southeast and at Horlivka, a rebel-held town, formed part of an upsurge in violence which put further strain on a fragile ceasefire between the two sides. The separatist website, DAN, said at least three people had been killed and four wounded as a result of government shelling of Horlivka, a regular frontline hot spot northeast of the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk. There was no immediate government confirmation of this report. The upsurge in fighting has also drawn expressions of concern among Western governments, who see a ceasefire and tentative peace agreement worked out in Minsk, Belarus, as still the best chance of ending the separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine. Many artillery guns, tanks and other heavy weapons have been withdrawn by both sides under the terms of the Minsk agreement in February, but deaths occur regularly in sporadic outbursts of fighting. More than 6,500 people have been killed in the conflict which erupted in April 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea, in reaction to the fall of a Moscow-backed president in Kiev, and threw its support behind separatists in the east. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week expressed "grave concern" to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov over the rise in separatist attacks and urged an immediate ceasefire, the State Department said. In a newspaper interview, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the situation was explosive and he urged both parties in the conflict to come together quickly to prevent a spiral in violence.