Ukrainian forces have all but abandoned Donetsk airport after months of bitter battle, although military officials continue to insist they hold part of the terminal.

The Defense Ministry said Thursday that six soldiers had died over the previous day of fighting for the airport, which lies on the northern edge of the Russian-backed separatists' stronghold.

Russian television reporters on Wednesday toured the airport building and showed the bodies of killed Ukrainian soldiers.

Fighting for the airport peaked over the weekend, shattering the relative tranquility in place since a new truce was reached in early December.

Fighting in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 4,700 people since April, according to U.N. estimates.