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Passenger bus hits landmine in east Ukraine, four dead

At least four people have been killed and six injured when a bus hit a landmine in eastern Ukraine. The incident happened in the government-controlled city of Artemivsk.

The bus had been carrying about 20 passengers from Artemivsk, a government-held town north of the region's main city of Donetsk, to the town of Horlivka which is still held by separatists.

While trying to avoid the Ukrainian checkpoint near Artemivsk, a road block manned by government forces, the bus driver struck the landmine, Russian news agency Interfax quoted a police officer as saying.

"The bus driver wanted to avoid a Ukrainian checkpoint near Artemivsk by going through the field and he drove over a landmine," a deputy police chief in the Donetsk region, Ilya Kyva said.

A local police official also said the six injured passengers were in a serious condition.

"According to information from the local hospital, there are currently four dead and 17 injured", a spokesman for the Donetsk regional administration confirmed.

Ukrainian media reported that 26 passengers were on the bus. Three women died in the incident and eight people were heavily injured, television channel "112" said in a report citing a local official.

In the conflict area in Donetsk region, landmines have been strewn across rural roads and fields in an attempt to make them impassable.

jil/rc (Reuters, AFP)