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Shell Lands Near Hospital in Ukraine's Donetsk, Killing 3

 / Updated 
Image: The covered bodies of victims are seen outside a building neighbouring a hospital in Donetsk
The covered bodies of victims are seen outside a building neighbouring a hospital in Donetsk February 4, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Sergeev STRINGER / Reuters

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DONETSK, Ukraine - At least two shells landed near a hospital in the separatist-controlled eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Wednesday, killing at least three people nearby.

Pictures from the scene showed a huge crater in the ground in front of Hospital no. 27 in Donetsk's Kirovsky district, a southwestern suburb, after shells struck the area.

A statement on the website of the rebel-controlled city administration said an artillery shell had hit the building at 12 noon (4 a.m. ET) and that there were dead and wounded.

The Russian news agency RIA quoted rebel sources as saying four people had been killed.

A Reuters cameraman who visited the scene said the hospital itself had not been hit, though its front windows had been shattered by debris after one shell slammed into the ground about 10 yards in front of it.

He saw three bodies - one near the hospital and two others on the street near neighboring buildings. At least two shells had been fired, one after the other, he said.

Earlier, the Ukrainian military said two of its soldiers had been killed and 18 wounded in fighting against pro-Russian separatists in the previous 24 hours.

The Ukrainian military said separatist forces had launched around 80 artillery or rocket attacks on Ukrainian positions and villages in the past 24 hours.

The nine-month-old conflict in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 5,000 people. Violence has surged since the latest peace effort collapsed last Saturday in Minsk, Belarus, with no agreement.

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- Reuters

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