At least 6 civilians killed in shelling attack in east Ukraine

At least six civilians were killed on Thursday when a shell or a mortar hit a trolleybus stop in the rebel-controlled city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, a Reuters witness said.

The Reuters cameraman said he saw six bodies on the ground near, and inside, a trolleybus in a southern district of the city. Windows of shops nearby had been blown out by the blast.

The incident took place in a part of the city under the control of separatists who are fighting Ukrainian government forces. The city administration later put the number of dead at 7, though rebel statements suggested a higher death toll.

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Brendan Hoffman | Getty Images

A Ukrainian military spokesman meanwhile said that Kiev government forces had withdrawn from the new terminal at the main airport in Donetsk, a symbolic target where heavy fighting has been taking place for months.

Six Ukrainian servicemen had been killed in the past 24 hours in fighting there, Kiev officials said.

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"Yesterday the decision was taken to leave the territory of the terminal for new positions," Vladislav Seleznyov said. "Fierce fighting continues."

"We continue to control the southern part of the airport ... we left the new terminal because it looks like a sieve and there's simply nowhere to hide there," he said.