Shelling briefly traps 500 miners in east Ukraine
DONETSK, Ukraine - Agence France-Presse
REUTERS PhotoNearly 500 coal miners in Ukraine's war-torn east were briefly trapped underground on Monday after their pit lost power when a shell hit an electricity substation.
The incident occurred in rebel-controlled Donetsk city's Zasyadko coal mine -- one of eastern Europe's largest and scene of a similar incident on January 11.
"When the power went out, there were 496 miners underground," a Donetsk region emergencies ministry official told AFP by telephone.
"All the Zasyadko miners have been rescued," local miners' union chief Mikhail Volynets told AFP. "They are all fine." More than 300 miners were trapped in the same pit for a few hours on January 11.
The nine-month war in east Ukraine between pro-Russian militants and government forces has claimed nearly 5,100 lives.
Fighting around the rebel stronghold Donetsk intensified this month after a brief lull and the daily death toll is again reaching levels last seen at the height of the war in August.
Rebel leaders last week pulled out of peace talks with the Western-backed government in Kiev and vowed to seize new territory that could expand their reach over most of Ukraine's industrial east.