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Nine coal miners killed after underground lift breaks in eastern Ukraine

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A closed coal mine near the eastern Ukrainian town of Luhansk.
A closed coal mine near the eastern Ukrainian town of Luhansk.   -   Copyright  DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP, FILE

Nine workers have been killed after an underground coal mine lift collapsed in eastern Ukraine.

Nineteen other miners were injured in the accident on Monday, according to pro-Russian authorities in the region.

The steel cable holding the lift broke as the men descended to the bottom of a mine shaft, emergency services in the self-proclaimed republic said in a statement on Tuesday.

The accident occurred in the town of Voznessenovka in the industrial Luhansk region, where pro-Russian separatists have been fighting Ukrainian government forces since 2014.

Authorities said that nine bodies were brought to the surface and that nineteen others had been hospitalised.

An investigation into the incident has also been launched.

Fatal accidents are relatively common in coal mines in eastern Ukraine, often caused by dilapidated infrastructure or violations of safety regulations.

In 2019, a fire killed 17 people in the Luhansk region, while another similar accident claimed the lives of 33 miners in the Donetsk region in 2015.