At least 16 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in clashes with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, First Deputy Health Minister of Ukraine Ruslan Saliutin reported.
Video posted on YouTube showed men in Ukrainian uniforms taking cover in a field said to be in Volnovakha, as vehicles burned nearby, explosions were heard in the distance, and attack helicopters flew low overhead, according to ABC news.
The attack happened about 20 kilometres south of the industrial hub of Donetsk, which is now in the hands of separatists who say they will disrupt the election.
In Luhansk Ukrainian border guards said they had fought off an attempt by dozens of separatists, armed with grenade launchers and rifles, to enter the region from Russia.
The clashes came as Russia moved 15 transport planes and 20 trains carrying personnel and military equipment out of three provinces that border Ukraine, according to the Defense Ministry.