Europe

3 Ukrainian troops killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine

  • FILE In this Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015 file photo a worker carries a metal rod at the front-line Avdiivka coking plant in eastern Ukraine. Fighting between government troops and separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine escalated on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, killing several people overnight, injuring many more and trapping 200 coalminers underground, the warring sides reported. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov, File)

    FILE In this Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015 file photo a worker carries a metal rod at the front-line Avdiivka coking plant in eastern Ukraine. Fighting between government troops and separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine escalated on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, killing several people overnight, injuring many more and trapping 200 coalminers underground, the warring sides reported. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • A wounded Ukrainian soldier is treated in Avdiivka, Ukraine, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. Fighting between government troops and Russia-backed separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine escalated on Tuesday, killing at least eight people late Monday and early Tuesday, injuring dozens and briefly trapping more than 200 coal miners underground, the warring sides reported.(AP Photo/Inna Varenytsia)

    A wounded Ukrainian soldier is treated in Avdiivka, Ukraine, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. Fighting between government troops and Russia-backed separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine escalated on Tuesday, killing at least eight people late Monday and early Tuesday, injuring dozens and briefly trapping more than 200 coal miners underground, the warring sides reported.(AP Photo/Inna Varenytsia)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Ukrainian soldier inspects a crater left by an explosion in Avdiivka, Ukraine, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. Fighting between government troops and Russia-backed separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine escalated on Tuesday, killing at least eight people late Monday and early Tuesday, injuring dozens and briefly trapping more than 200 coal miners underground, the warring sides reported.(AP Photo/Inna Varenytsia)

    A Ukrainian soldier inspects a crater left by an explosion in Avdiivka, Ukraine, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. Fighting between government troops and Russia-backed separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine escalated on Tuesday, killing at least eight people late Monday and early Tuesday, injuring dozens and briefly trapping more than 200 coal miners underground, the warring sides reported.(AP Photo/Inna Varenytsia)  (The Associated Press)

Fighting in eastern Ukraine has escalated, killing at least three people overnight, injuring many more and trapping 200 coalminers underground.

The press office of the Ukrainian government's operation in the east said on Tuesday that heavy shelling around Avdiivka on the northern outskirts of the separatist stronghold of Donetsk has killed at least three troops and injured 20 more. The operation headquarters also reported an unspecified number of civilian casualties.

Fighting, which appears to be the worst in many months, is concentrated around the Donetsk suburb of Avdiivka, home to a giant coking plant. Its director said on Monday that preparations were being made to stop production after heavy shelling.

In Donetsk, the rebels' Donetsk News Agency said an electric power cut had trapped more than 200 coalminers fellow ground.