Pro-Russia militia attack Ukraine border

Militia have attacked the Luhansk border post with automatic weapons and grenade launchers.

FILE:Pro-Russian militia have attacked a border post in East Ukraine with automatic weapons and grenade launchers. Picture: AFP.

KIEV - A fierce battle was underway on Monday in Ukraine's rebellious east after a pro-Russian militia attacked a Ukrainian border post with automatic weapons and grenade launchers in the early hours.

Security sources said a force of separatists had occupied the upper floors of a nearby apartment block and were shooting into the border post on the southern edge of Luhansk, a city very close to the frontier with Russia.

"Shooting is continuing. There has been no let-up in firing for seven hours now," said border post spokesperson Oleh Slobodin.

"We have eight or nine wounded. The attackers have five dead and eight wounded," he continued.

Ukraine's eastern region has been divided by separatist armed rebellion for the past two months which the Kiev government says is provoked by Russia. It says armed fighters from Russia and the Caucasus region are fighting alongside rebels who are fighting rule from Kiev.

Another statement from the Ukrainian border service said the separatists at the Luhansk border post were sniping from private apartments and had stopped people from leaving the residential block they had occupied, making it difficult for the border guard forces to return fire.

The Ukrainian army is taking part in an "anti-terrorist" operation to try crush the rebellions in the east. Border guards said on Monday that the army had not yet been reinforced to help them fend off the attack in Luhansk.