World

Report: At least 1 killed, more than 70 trapped after blast at mine in war-torn east Ukraine

  • A woman reacts as she walks past pro-Russian rebels guarding the Zasyadko mine in Donetsk, Ukraine Wednesday March 4, 2015.  An explosion at the Zasyadko coal mine in war-torn eastern Ukraine killed 32 workers on Wednesday, the speaker of Ukraine's parliament said. Rebels who control the area, however, confirmed only one death. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    A woman reacts as she walks past pro-Russian rebels guarding the Zasyadko mine in Donetsk, Ukraine Wednesday March 4, 2015. An explosion at the Zasyadko coal mine in war-torn eastern Ukraine killed 32 workers on Wednesday, the speaker of Ukraine's parliament said. Rebels who control the area, however, confirmed only one death. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

  • A woman cries as she waits to hear news about relatives after an explosion at  the Zasyadko coal mine in Donetsk, Ukraine Wednesday March 4, 2015.  An explosion at the Zasyadko coal mine in war-torn eastern Ukraine killed 32 workers on Wednesday, the speaker of Ukraine's parliament said. Pro-Russian rebels who control the area, however, confirmed only one death. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    A woman cries as she waits to hear news about relatives after an explosion at the Zasyadko coal mine in Donetsk, Ukraine Wednesday March 4, 2015. An explosion at the Zasyadko coal mine in war-torn eastern Ukraine killed 32 workers on Wednesday, the speaker of Ukraine's parliament said. Pro-Russian rebels who control the area, however, confirmed only one death. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

  • A pro-Russian rebel watches as people embrace as they wait to hear news about miners after an explosion at  the Zasyadko coal mine in Donetsk, Ukraine Wednesday March 4, 2015.  An explosion at the Zasyadko coal mine in war-torn eastern Ukraine killed 32 workers on Wednesday, the speaker of Ukraine's parliament said. Pro-Russian rebels who control the area, however, confirmed only one death. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    A pro-Russian rebel watches as people embrace as they wait to hear news about miners after an explosion at the Zasyadko coal mine in Donetsk, Ukraine Wednesday March 4, 2015. An explosion at the Zasyadko coal mine in war-torn eastern Ukraine killed 32 workers on Wednesday, the speaker of Ukraine's parliament said. Pro-Russian rebels who control the area, however, confirmed only one death. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

An official mouthpiece for separatists in east Ukraine is citing a rebel official as saying an explosion at a coal mine has killed at least one person and trapped more than 70 workers underground.

Donetsk News Agency cited rescue services official Yuliana Bedilo as saying the explosion was caused by a mixture of gas and air — a common cause of industrial mining accidents.

The east of Ukraine has been wracked by fighting between government forces and Russian-backed rebels for almost a year, during which more than 6,000 people have been killed.

Bedilo was quoted as saying the incident at the Zasyadko mine in the rebel-controlled city of Donetsk was not caused by shelling. Rescue operations are said to be underway.