Ukraine truce ‘on
verge of collapse’

A civilian has been killed in shelling in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, raising fears that a ceasefire signed just days ago is on the verge of collapse.

The fatality was reported on the same day that large explosions were heard near the airport in Donetsk.

Blasts from the area near the airport were powerful enough to be heard in downtown Donetsk, the main rebel-held city in eastern Ukraine.

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Volodymyr Polyovyi, a spokesman for Ukraine’s national security council, said rebels appeared to have tried to attack the airport, which has been under the control of government troops since May and has come under unremitting attacks from pro-Russia separatist rebels since then.

The ceasefire had appeared to be holding for much of Saturday
but shelling started late at night.

A rebel statement said Ukrainian forces violated the ceasefire by firing on their positions in six locations yesterday, including near Donetsk airport. The statement said several rebels were killed.

Shelling also occurred overnight on the outskirts of Mariupol, where Ukrainian troops retain defensive lines against the rebels. The city council there said one civilian was killed and a serviceman was wounded.

A shell also destroyed a nearby petrol station and the volunteer Azov Battalion said their positions were hit by Grad rockets, but did not give details.

Mariupol is located on the coast of the Sea of Azov, 70 miles south of Donetsk.

Rebels recently opened a new front on the coast, leading to fears that they were trying to secure a land corridor between Russia and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in March.