9 dead in uptick of violence in eastern Ukraine

DONETSK: At least seven civilians and two Ukrainian troops have been killed in the latest uptick of violence in eastern Ukraine.

The military conflict between Russia-backed rebels and Ukrainian government troops in the country's industrial heartland has largely subdued after an armistice was signed in February. But despite the pledges to withdraw heavy caliber weapons, both sides seem to be engaged in heavy fighting.

The rebel mouthpiece Donetsk News Agency said five people were killed in shelling overnight while Ukrainian officials reported two civilian deaths on their side. The Ukrainian Security and Defense Council also reported two troops killed and six injured overnight.

An Associated Press reporter in Donetsk witnessed a movement of weaponry in the past few days while salvos of incoming and outgoing Grad rockets are frequently heard.