Ukraine Russia
Ukrainian servicemen ride on a military truck near the eastern Ukrainian town of PervomayskReuters

Seven Ukrainian soliders have been killed in a separatist shell attack on an armoured personnel carrier near the airport in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, according to a military spokesman.

"Seven (Ukrainians) were killed late last night not far from Donetsk airport," spokesman Andriy Lysenko said.

The attack represents the largest number of Ukrainian soldiers killed in the unrest since a ceasefire took effect on 5 September.

The West is accusing Russia of arming and training rebels in Ukraine's restive eastern regions, a claim which Moscow denies.

UN agencies estimate more than 3,000 people have been killed in the fighting between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian military since April.

Elsewhere, Ukrainian nationalists tore down a statue of Lenin in Kharkiv, the country's second biggest city.

The move was supported by local officials with the governor of the Kharkiv region signing an order to remove the statue before the "Kharkiv is Ukraine" rally.

"Those saying it's childish to topple Lenin statues don't get that for Ukrainians it's a symbolic act of divorce from USSR/Russia colonialism," said Myroslava Petsa of Ukraine's Channel 5.

According to the Kyiv Post, more than 160 Lenin statues have been torn down in the country since the beginning of anti-government protests last December which led to the removal of former president, Viktor Yanukovych.