7 children die in fire in southern Ukraine

Seven children died of smoke inhalation and their mother was hospitalised after a fire in their home in southern Ukraine on Monday, the emergencies ministry said.

"Seven children -- five boys and two girls aged between two and 14 -- died in the fire" in Kinetspil village about 300 kilometres (190 miles) south of Kiev, a spokeswoman for the ministry in southern

Mykolaiv region, Svitlana Vodolaga, told AFP.

The fire, presumably caused by a short circuit, killed all but one of the children in the family of 10 as the eldest daughter was out, while father had gone to work.

The mother tried to save the children after managing to escape the burning house and call the neighbours for help, but it was too late, she added.

Ukraine has been hit by an abnormal cold snap leading to an increase in the number of fires by 38 percent since last year, the ministry said in a statement. There have been 165 fires so far this year, which killed 21 people, it said.

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