KIEV, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- At least 10 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine over the past 24 hours as government troops stepped up their offensive against independence-seeking insurgents, authorities said Thursday.
According to Andrei Lysenko, spokesman for the National Security and Defense Council, five Ukrainian servicemen were killed overnight in confrontation with rebels.
Following the fierce battles, government forces took control over a "significant part" of Lugansk city and continue encircling another large rebel stronghold -- the city of Donetsk, Lysenko said.
Civilian casualties have been also reported in the area of fighting.
According to Lysenko, a family of three refugees, trying to leave the war-torn area, was killed when their car was hit by gunfire in Lugansk region. A five-year-old child was among those dead.
Separately, at least two civilians were killed and many others wounded in a deadly artillery attack on Mospino town, the suburb of Donetsk city, according to the local authorities.
The conflict, which erupted in eastern Ukraine in mid-April, claimed the lives of over 2,000 people and injured thousands of others, local experts estimated.