Kiev, Aug 18 IANS | 3 months ago

Dozens of civilians, including children, have been killed in an attack on a refugee convoy in Ukraine's eastern Lugansk region Monday, a security spokesman said.

"Until now, we have not been able to count the exact number of casualties. The work in this direction is underway," Andrei Lysenko, a spokesman for the National Security and Defence Council, told reporters.

A convoy of refugees was hit by heavy shelling at 9.40 a.m. near the villages of Novoselovka and Khryashchevatoe, not far from the area where the Ukrainian troops are fighting pro-Russian insurgents, Xinhua quoted military spokesman Anatoly Proshyn as saying.

"The force of the blow on the convoy was so strong that people were burned alive in the vehicles -- they weren't able to get themselves out," Proshyn told Ukrainian news channel 112.ua.

Ukrainian officials blamed the rebels for the deadly attack. However, Andrei Purgin, deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, denied that the insurgents were responsible for the incident.

At least 2,000 people have been killed since the government troops launched an offensive against rebels in the eastern regions of Lugansk and Donetsk in mid-April.

The four-month-long conflict has also displaced over 300,000 civilians, according to the UN estimates.

(Posted on 18-08-2014)

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