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Five Ukrainian soldiers dead in attacks by Russia-backed separatists

Civilian killed an another 29 wounded in just 24 hours after peace talks collapsed on Saturday

A man talks on a phone as workers repair a heating pipeline at a site hit by shellREUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Reuters –Artillery attacks on the Ukrainian city of Donetsk killed at least one civilian on Monday while Kiev's military reported that five more Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in clashes with separatists in the east in the past 24 hours.

Municipal authorities in Donetsk said 15 civilians were killed over the weekend by shells, mortars or other missiles that hit residential areas of the city which is controlled by the separatists.

To the northeast of Donetsk, the Russian-backed rebels kept up attacks to dislodge government forces from the small town of Debaltseve, a strategic rail hub, in fighting which has grown more intense since peace talks collapsed on Saturday.

Kiev military authorities said separatist forces launched more than a 100 attacks by artillery, rocket systems and tank fire on Ukrainian positions and residential areas in the past 24 hours.

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"As a result of these attacks and military clashes, Ukraine lost five service personnel and another 29 have been wounded," military spokesman Vyacheslav Seleznyov said at a morning briefing.

The crash of artillery fire continued throughout the night coming mainly from the area of the airport which government forces lost to the separatists a week ago.

In central Donetsk, about one km (half a mile) from the main square, a shell hit a two-storey house in the morning, killing one civilian.

A pool of blood where the civilian was killed could be seen outside the house whose top floor had been largely destroyed, leaving its rooms gaping open.

One neighbor, a blonde middle-aged woman in a fur coat called Lina, said she heard a huge blast and later saw a body.

"I was in my kitchen. I am in this building right across the street when everything rattled and shook and later I went out and saw the body."

"How do we go to work? How are we supposed to live here when we are being killed one by one?" she said.

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