Europe

Eastern Ukraine shelling hits both sides

  • People take shelter during shelling in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, late Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Salvos of artillery shook eastern Ukraine on Thursday, the fifth day of escalated fighting between government troops and Russia-backed separatist rebels. (AP Photo/Alexander Ermochenko)

    People take shelter during shelling in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, late Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Salvos of artillery shook eastern Ukraine on Thursday, the fifth day of escalated fighting between government troops and Russia-backed separatist rebels. (AP Photo/Alexander Ermochenko)  (The Associated Press)

  • A car lies damaged on a street after artilley shook Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, late Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Salvos of artillery shook eastern Ukraine on Thursday, the fifth day of escalated fighting between government troops and Russia-backed separatist rebels. (AP Photo/Alexander Ermochenko)

    A car lies damaged on a street after artilley shook Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, late Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Salvos of artillery shook eastern Ukraine on Thursday, the fifth day of escalated fighting between government troops and Russia-backed separatist rebels. (AP Photo/Alexander Ermochenko)  (The Associated Press)

  • A woman watches a burning building after shelling in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, late Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Salvos of artillery shook eastern Ukraine on Thursday, the fifth day of escalated fighting between government troops and Russia-backed separatist rebels. (AP Photo/Alexander Ermochenko)

    A woman watches a burning building after shelling in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, late Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Salvos of artillery shook eastern Ukraine on Thursday, the fifth day of escalated fighting between government troops and Russia-backed separatist rebels. (AP Photo/Alexander Ermochenko)  (The Associated Press)

Strong shelling has hit both government- and rebel-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine, continuing an escalation of fighting this week. Ukraine says four soldiers had been killed over the past day.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Friday that several civilians were killed in the city of Donetsk, the main stronghold of Russian-backed separatist rebels, but did not give details.

Shelling from the rebel side has centered on the town of Avdiivka, just north of Donetsk city. A British photographer was wounded in the eye in shelling Thursday night, according to the Facebook page of Ukraine's anti-rebel military operation.

At least 15 people have been reported killed in the fighting this week. More than 9,700 people have died in the war between government troops and rebels that began in April 2014.