Russian missiles have torn through apartment buildings in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, local officials said on Thursday, killing at least two people person and burying families under rubble.

It comes as the Kremlin’s forces continue to pound the fiercely contested area with long-range weapons.

Russian military units simultaneously launched six S-300 missiles during the night, according to Ukrainian internal affairs minister Ihor Klymenko.

The missiles hit three Donetsk cities, Pokrovsk, Novohrodivka and Myrnohrad, he said.

The cities lie 15-25 miles from the frontline.

Emergency workers pulled the body of a 62-year-old man from the wreckage of a destroyed multi-storey building in Novohrodivka.

Another death was reported in the same city by Ukraine’s Emergency Service.

Four more people may be under the rubble, including a child, authorities said.

In Pokrovsk, the strikes destroyed a multi-storey building, nine houses, a police office and cars.

Emergency crews helped rescue a man with a six-month-old baby, covered in blood, in his hands, officials said.

The head of the city administration, Serhii Dobriak, said it is fourth time Pokrovsk has come under attack in the past month.

“They are striking the city centre, the houses,” he said.

“They are just destroying the civilian population.”

He urged people to evacuate because “the intensity of strikes is increasing”.

All three of the targeted cities are close to Avdiivka, a city where a fierce battle has taken place in recent months.

Avdiivka is a gateway to parts of the Donetsk region still under Ukrainian control.

Ukrainian officials said recently that Russian forces have ramped up attacks in eastern Ukraine in a bid to gain ground near Avdiivka and around Bakhmut, another key frontline city.