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Shells hit school in Donetsk

Officials and witnesses in Donetsk have reported at least 10 deaths after a school and nearby street were shelled. Rebels also appear to have closed in on Donetsk airport.

Shelling that hit a school plaground and a mini bus in a nearby street in the Kievsky district of Donetsk, Ukraine on Wednesday left at least 10 people dead, official and witnesses reported on Wednesday.

The attack coincided with the first day of classes for pupils in the Donetsk region after the summer break. The scheduled start of the school year was postponed by a month due to conflict in the area, which remains a stronghold of rebels waging a separatist rebellion.

Witnesses told Reuters news agency that amongst the victims were a biology teacher and a parent, though no children were reportedly hurt.

More than 200 people, including 70 children are thought to have been at school number 57 when the playground was shelled, shattering the school's windows.

Some 4km (2.5 miles) away, rebels in eastern Ukraine also appeared to be successfully closing in on the government-held Donetsk airport on Wednesday - a strategic victory for the pro-Russian separatists that further undermines the fragile ceasefire that was implemented on September 5.

Since the truce between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists was called almost a month ago, violence has continued to flare up in eastern Ukraine. As recently as Monday, officials in Ukraine reported that at least a dozen people in total, including soldiers and civilians had died during the day's clashes.

The UN reports the conflict has claimed at least 3,500 lives since fighting began in eastern Ukraine in April.

ksb/kms (Reuters, AFP)

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