Drone footage filmed for five days by the Ukrainian charity fund Army SOS shows the devastation around the besieged eastern town of Debaltseve which has been at the heart of fighting between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists for weeks.

The area around a strategic rail junction connecting Donetsk and Lugansk, the two self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine, continues to be fought over by Ukrainians and rebel fighters despite a ceasefire.

The video shows burnt houses and military vehicles parked in residential areas as well as houses with damaged roofs and broken windows. Shell craters can also be seen on fields covered with snow.

The ferocity of the fighting in Debaltseve was unexpected and has heightened concerns in Kiev and the West that the separatists and Russian President Vladimir Putin want to cement the latest rebel gains before peace takes hold.

The separatists said soon after the ceasefire came into effect they had no intention of observing it at Debaltseve, where they have been advancing since January.