Around 30 self-defense fighters in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk may have been killed after Ukrainian troops stepped up their offensive in the region. Some of the casualties are a result of an attack on a truck carrying wounded rebels.
Truck overturned in Donetsk
© Unknown
A self-defense fighter in Donetsk told Reuters about 30 to 35 of his comrades had been killed in nearly 24 hours of fighting with Ukrainian forces.

Earlier, the people's governor of the Donetsk Region, Pavel Gubarev, wrote on Facebook, that 35 self-defense fighters were killed and 15 injured.

An overnight attack by Ukrainian troops on a truck carrying wounded rebels reportedly accounts for a portion of the casualties.

Footage by LifeNews shows a truck full of dead bodies. Representatives of the self-defense squads say they cannot yet give the names of those killed; the process of identification has only just began.

"They were wounded. The car was driving them from a battlefield," a masked representative of the self-defense forces in Donetsk told LifeNews. "First snipers shot the driver, then they fired point-blank at the rest from a shoulder-launcher. The survivors were then gunned down by Right Sector militants - no one in the truck survived."

Reuters reported two wrecked and blood-covered Kamaz trucks in Donetsk - one of them on the airport road.

Also overnight, self-defense forces reported that Ukrainian military opened fire at an ambulance transporting two injured from the Donetsk airport. The doctors inside the ambulance were unharmed, deputy of Donbass' self-defense forces, Sergey Tsypakov, told RIA Novosti. The two wounded remain in the ambulance and it is not possible to evacuate them at this point, he added.

This comes as the Ukrainian military is broadening its offensive against anti-Kiev forces in the southeast of the country.

The fighting in Donetsk continued throughout the night around the airport.

Early on Monday morning, forces belonging to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic came to the airport demanding that Ukrainian troops leave.

In response, Ukrainian fighter jets and helicopters were unleashed at the armed self-defense occupying the airport.

A video posted on YouTube reportedly shows Ukrainian jets attacking the area around the airport on Monday:

Airstrikes started after the self-defense forces failed to comply with the ultimatum put forward by Kiev's troops, that is to surrender by 1pm local time, Vladislav Seleznyov, the head of the counter-terror operation said on his Facebook page.

Donetsk self-defense forces claimed on Twitter to have regained control over the airport after the Ukrainian troops launched its military operation.

The State Aviation Service halted air traffic through the airport till 9.00am local time Tuesday.

Loud explosions and gunfire were reported from Donetsk throughout the day, with Ukrainian army aircraft occasionally circling around the airport.

Reports of fighting outside the city airport also emerged. RT's sources in Donetsk said a private housing area was being shelled by mortar fire "for over an hour."

Also on Monday, at least three civilians were reportedly killed and several wounded when the Ukrainian military launched a mortar attack on the town of Slavyansk in eastern Ukraine.

The clashes in Donetsk began just a few hours after the early results of the elections were announced.

Ukrainian confectionary tycoon Pyotr Poroshenko is winning the presidential election in the first round of voting, having secured more than 50 percent of votes.