September 7, 2014 / 7:27 AM / 3 years ago

Prolonged shelling heard near Donetsk airport in east Ukraine - Reuters witness

DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) - A Reuters witness heard prolonged shelling in an area north of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine's largest city, and saw plumes of black smoke filling the sky on Sunday morning, in a further test for a ceasefire that is barely 40 hours old.

The shelling came from near the airport, which has been in the hands of Ukrainian government forces though pro-Russian rebels control the city. Rebels told Reuters the airport itself was now empty and that the fighting was centred on a nearby military compound.

"Listen to the sound of the ceasefire," joked one armed rebel. "There's a proper battle going on there."

Overnight the port of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov, to the south of Donetsk, also saw a serious violation of the ceasefire when government forces came under artillery fire. There was no word on casualties.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, writing by Gareth Jones

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