Four killed in artillery attack in eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists are believed to be behind the attack

Four killed in artillery attack in eastern Ukraine

Image: Google Maps

There are reports that four civilians have been killed in the eastern part of Ukraine.

The country's President Petro Poroshenko has cancelled a planned visit to the Eurovision final , which is taking place in Kyiv tonight, around 500km away.

It's thought that three woman and one man died in renewed artillery attacks, which authorities are blaming on pro-Russian separatists.

A top Ukrainian official said on Saturday that "Russian occupying forces" had killed four civilians in the war-torn east just hours before the Eurovision Song Contest final kicked off in Kiev.

The Kiev-appointed head of the conflict-riven Donetsk region said the civilians died when a shell hit an apartment block.

Pavlo Zhebrivskiy wrote on Facebook: "The Russian occupying forces attacked a residential area of Avdiivka, three women and one man was killed."

Avdiivka is a devastated suburb of the Russian-backed insurgents' de facto capital city of Donetsk.

These latest casualties bring the number of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians who have been killed by officials this month to 14.

Ukraine accuses Russia of plotting and backing the three-year eastern conflict in which more than 10,000 have died. Russia vehemently denies these claims.