Donetsk - Five people were killed in mortar attacks on the Ukrainian rebel-controlled city of Donetsk early Wednesday as peace talks were due to be held in Minsk.
Pro-Russian rebel representative Ivan Prikhodko told AFP that mortar fire had killed two people, including a bus driver at the bus station.
An employee of the Donetsk metalworks plant said separately that two guards had lost their lives in an attack on the smelter.
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"One other person died at a bus stop near the plant," plant worker Georgy, who asked that his last name not be used, told AFP.
An elderly woman at a local market said that the shelling hit the city "during rush hour."
"There were lots of people," Svetlana, 56, said. "They were all going to work," she added, noting that she had heard five explosions.
The leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine were to meet later Wednesday in the Belarussian capital Minsk in the hope of thrashing out a peace deal to end 10 months of fighting in which at least 5,300 people have died.