OLENIVKA, Ukraine, April 27 : (AFP) – Four civilians including a pregnant woman were killed and eight others wounded early Wednesday when their cars came under mortar fire in war-torn eastern Ukraine, rebel officials said.

The shelling attack occurred in the rebel-controlled village of Olenivka just 300 meters (yards) from a demarcation line separating pro-Russian rebels and government forces.

The body of a pregnant woman could be seen in the back seat of one of the damaged cars, mobile phone ringing constantly, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.

Another victim could be seen in the front seat of another car, while the remains of two other people lay in the road surrounded by shell fragments and water-filled craters.

“According to preliminary information, another eight people were injured”, rebel commander Eduard Basurin told AFP, blaming a mortar attack.

There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian military. The attack was the latest in a fresh upsurge of violence in eastern Ukraine, which has killed at least six Ukrainian soldiers over the past week — the heaviest toll in the separatist east in nearly two months.

Around 9,200 people have died and more than 21,000 have been wounded since the revolt against Ukraine’s pro-Western leadership erupted exactly two years ago in eastern Ukraine.

A series of truce agreements have helped reduce the violence, although sporadic clashes persist and prevent the two sides from reaching a political reconciliation deal.RSS