Ukraine’s rebel forces are conducting an offensive to capture the government-held airport in Donetsk, officials say.
Pro-Russian rebels have tried several times in recent weeks to take the airport, which lies to the north-west of the city.
The insurgents continued an offensive – begun on Wednesday, October 1 – on “a broad front”, the Ukrainian military says.
An official truce in place in eastern Ukraine has often been violated.
Ukraine’s rebel forces are conducting an offensive to capture the government-held airport in Donetsk (photo Reuters)
The cease-fire was called on September 5, but, on October 1, four people were killed by a shell which landed on a school in Donetsk, and six died when a minibus was hit.
A spokesman for what the Ukrainian government calls its anti-terrorist operation said Ukrainian forces repelled four attacks on the airport on Wednesday evening.
A T-64 tank was destroyed and seven rebels were killed, Vladyslav Seleznyov told Kanal 5 TV.
The rebels used tanks, multiple-launch rocket systems, artillery and mortars, Vladyslav Seleznyov said, resuming their attacks on Thursday morning with small-arms fire.
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Ukraine’s army is now in full control of the airport in the eastern city of Donetsk after a day of bloody clashes, the interior ministry announced.
More than 30 pro-Russia separatists were reported killed after an attempt to seize the airport early on Monday.
Ukraine’s army is now in full control of the airport in the eastern city of Donetsk after a day of bloody clashes
Ukraine’s newly elected President Petro Poroshenko vowed to tackle the eastern uprising in hours, not months. Russia has called for an immediate end to military action.
Meanwhile, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) says it has lost contact with a monitoring team.
The OSCE said four of its monitors were on a routine mission east of Donetsk when they were stopped at a checkpoint at about 18:00 on Monday.
The monitors, all male, were Turkish, Swiss, Estonian and Danish. Danish trade minister Mogens Jensen said it was believed they were being held by armed separatists.
In April, seven international military observers linked to the OSCE were held captive in eastern Ukraine for a week.
President Barack Obama had telephoned Petro Poroschenko on Tuesday to congratulate him on his victory in Sunday’s elections and offer him “the full support of the United States”, said the White House.
Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said the airport was “under our full control” but operations were continuing.
Sporadic gun and artillery fire could be heard into the afternoon.
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