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34 Killed in Rebel-Held Ukraine City   08/20 06:28

   Fighting in Ukraine's mostly rebel-held region of Donetsk has killed 34 
local residents and wounded 29 others in the past 24 hours, authorities said 
Wednesday.

   KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Fighting in Ukraine's mostly rebel-held region of 
Donetsk has killed 34 local residents and wounded 29 others in the past 24 
hours, authorities said Wednesday.

   Government troops trying to quell the pro-Russia insurgency in eastern 
Ukraine have been focusing on encircling Donetsk, the largest city still in 
rebel hands, and driving the rebels out of the city of Luhansk. Several 
neighborhoods in Donetsk have been hit with artillery fire in the last few days 
as fighting on the outskirts has intensified.

   The Donetsk regional administration quoted the death toll of 34 as of noon 
Wednesday in a statement on its website.

   Earlier, a Ukrainian official said nine troops were killed in overnight 
fighting in a town near Donetsk as the government battled to gain control of a 
major railroad and highway. It was not immediately clear if those deaths were 
in addition to the 34 or included in that count.

   Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security Council, said 
nine soldiers were killed and 22 wounded in fighting in Ilovaysk overnight.

   Fighting is continuing in Ilovaysk after more than a day of hostilities 
although government forces have gained overall control over the town, Lysenko 
said.

   Ilovaysk lies on a major railroad and a highway that connects the regional 
capital of Donetsk to the Russian border.

   The Kiev government also has pursued diplomatic efforts to resolve the 
conflict, which has killed more than 2,000 people and displaced 300,000 since 
fighting began in mid-April.

   Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko hosts German Chancellor Angela Merkel 
this weekend in Kiev before meeting next week with Russian President Vladimir 
Putin in what could be the first meeting between the two leaders since June.


(KA)


 
 
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