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Two killed in Ukraine explosion

Several people were also injured in the explosion which occurred in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk.

A pro-Russian militant guards a regional state building that was seized by separatists in eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on 2 June, 2014. Picture:AFP.

KIEV - At least two people were killed and several injured on Monday in an explosion in Luhansk which separatists controlling the eastern Ukrainian city said was the result of an air strike by the Ukrainian military.

This was denied by the Kiev side, which said it was caused by separatists who had launched a heat-seeking rocket at a Ukrainian plane but the missile had zeroed in instead on the rebel-occupied regional administration building.

A video clip published by local people on a Russian social media page showed two bodies lying in parkland near the main regional building, one of them a woman.

"The number of casualties is still being determined, but it is already known for sure that there are two dead,"a local health official, Pavel Malysh, told Interfax-Ukraine news agency. Interfax quoted unnamed separatist sources as giving a higher death toll of five.

The video showed a man pumping the chest of a prone victim to resuscitate him while other people carried other casualties in makeshift stretchers made of blankets.

Malysh quoted eyewitnesses as saying more than 10 wounded had been taken to the main regional hospital.

Earlier, defence analyst Dmytro Tymchuk, who is seen as having reliable military sources, said Ukrainian security chiefs had begun a "full-scale operation to neutralise terrorist groups" in Luhansk.

Vladyslav Seleznyov, a spokesman for the operation against the separatists, denied there had been any air strike against the regional administration offices.

But he acknowledged air strikes against two separatist checkpoints in Luhansk region.

"We destroyed two checkpoints in Luhansk region. When the plane was turning back, they (the separatists) tried to shoot it down. A heat-seeking device was launched but it turned out that it fell on the fighters themselves and destroyed part of the wall of the administration building," he told Ukrainska Pravda online newspaper.

Separatists had fired the missile from the roof of the state security building they are occupying but it homed in on the main administration building, also held by the rebels, a senior military official, Aleksander Rozmaznin, was quoted by Interfax as saying.

Ukraine's eastern region has been riven with separatist armed rebellion for the past two months which the Kiev government says is provoked by Russia. It says fighters from Russia are fighting alongside rebels against Kiev.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called the Luhansk incident an air strike.

"The authorities in Kiev have committed another crime against their own people," a statement on the ministry's website said.

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