Shells hit homes and hospital in Ukraine

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Sustained shelling in the main rebel stronghold in eastern Ukraine has struck residential buildings and a hospital, killing at least four people and wounding 10 others.

Mortar fire struck the Vishnevskiy Hospital in Donetsk, killing one person and wounding five others, city council spokesman Maxim Rovensky said.

“There was a sudden explosion,” witness Dr Anna Kravtsova said. “A mortar round flew through the window.”

The shelling, which destroyed an array of equipment in the dentistry unit, also hit three nearby apartment buildings.

It followed a night of shelling in another area as the fighting between the government and pro-Russian separatists inched ever closer to the city centre.

The mayor’s office said in a statement posted on its website that three people had been killed, five wounded and several residential buildings destroyed during those attacks.

The government denies it uses artillery against residential areas, but that claim has come under substantial strain in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary.

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have been fighting the Kiev government since April. Ukraine and Western countries have accused Moscow of backing the mutiny with weapons and soldiers, a claim the Russian government has repeatedly denied.

Clashes erupted in central Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, as city authorities sought to clear away the remnants of a tent colony erected by demonstrators involved in the street uprising against pro-Russia president Viktor Yanukovych.

At the time, protesters were angry about endemic corruption and wanted closer ties with the European Union.

In eastern Ukraine, government troops have made tentative progress in their strategy to retake Donetsk and other towns and cities.