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Leading Ukraine rebel military commander admits rockets launched from residential areas

  • Alexander Khodakovskiy, commander of the Vostok battalion, a rebel unit, speaks in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Balint Szlanko)

    Alexander Khodakovskiy, commander of the Vostok battalion, a rebel unit, speaks in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Balint Szlanko)  (The Associated Press)

  • A customer pays with cash in a supermarket in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. Since Dec. 1 local residents haven't been able to use bank cards in Donetsk as the Ukrainian government decided to shut down the banking system in the rebel-held southeast. ATMs have not been working for about a month, having run out of cash. (AP Photo/Balint Szlanko)

    A customer pays with cash in a supermarket in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. Since Dec. 1 local residents haven't been able to use bank cards in Donetsk as the Ukrainian government decided to shut down the banking system in the rebel-held southeast. ATMs have not been working for about a month, having run out of cash. (AP Photo/Balint Szlanko)  (The Associated Press)

A leading military separatist commander in eastern Ukraine has admitted that rebels have mounted rocket attacks against government troops from within residential areas, but says efforts are being undertaken to halt the practice.

Vostok Battalion commander Alexander Khodakovsky said Thursday that fighters using residential neighborhoods for cover for shelling attacks will face arrest. He denied the practice was commonplace.

A large number of homes in the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk have been hit by rockets believed to be fired by government troops responding to rebel attacks. Separatist officials accuse government forces of attacking civilians indiscriminately.

A nominal overall cease-fire was agreed on in September, but daily fighting has continued all the same. The U.N. says more than 4,300 people have been killed since the conflict began in mid-April.