The International Committee of the Red Cross has confirmed that a Swiss staff member was killed today by a shell that landed close to its office in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine.

"One of our colleagues, a Swiss national, was killed in Donetsk, Ukraine, when a shell hit close to our office.

"We're deeply distressed by this loss," ICRC spokesman Ewan Watson said.

The independent aid agency was still trying to piece together what happened and did disclose the victim's name.

Donetsk came under heavy shelling today for the first time since Moscow and Kiev signed a truce on 5 September.

A shopping centre in the city was hit during the attacks which took place at around 4pm Irish time and caused a fire at another location. 

Local witnesses also reported hearing massive explosions close to the International Airport in Donetsk. 

Officials said they were investigating whether or not there were any casualties. 

Meanwhile the World Bank said today the conflict in Ukraine will disenfranchise any prospects of economic growth until 2016.

The international lender said the Ukrainian economy was likely to shrink by 8% this year and contract further in 2015.

The World Bank had previously expected Ukraine's gross domestic product to contract by 5% this year and then grow by 2.5% next year.

It now anticipates the economy will contract by 1% in 2015.

The conflict has hit production of key industrial sectors such as steel and energy in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, hardest hit by fighting in which about 3,500 people have been killed, according to UN figures.

A ceasefire has so far been prone to violations. 

Ten people were killed by a burst of shelling in Donetsk yesterday.