July 28, 2014 7:40 am
Updated: July 28, 2014 7:47 am

At least 8 civilians killed as hostilities in eastern Ukraine intensify


WATCH ABOVE: Renewed fighting in the region is making it too dangerous for the team to travel to the site. As Vassy Kapelo’s reports, Ukrainian troops are trying to re-take some of the key pro-Russian rebel-held cities in the area.

KIEV, Ukraine – Officials in rebellion-wracked eastern Ukraine say at least eight civilians have been killed by fighting and shelling in two cities held by separatist militants.

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Authorities in Luhansk said Monday that five people were killed and 15 injured by overnight artillery strikes. Three were killed in Donetsk as a result of clashes, the city’s government said.

Territory between the cities has seen intensified fighting as government troops try to gain control over the area where a Malaysia Airlines plane was downed earlier this month.

READ MORE: Ukraine forces advance to edge of Donetsk

Both sides in the conflict have traded accusations over the mounting civilian death toll.

Rebels accuse government troops of deploying artillery against residential areas. Authorities deny that charge, but also complain of insurgents using apartment blocks as firing positions.

WATCH: Residents of the southeastern Ukrainian town of Lysychansk were recovering on Saturday from a battle between pro-Russia separatists and the Ukrainian Army that resulted in a victory for Kyiv.

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