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Ukraine Crisis

Kids, Other Civilians Die as Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebels

DONETSK, Ukraine - Intense fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine killed dozens of civilians, soldiers and rebels, as Kiev pressed on with an offensive on Tuesday including areas near the wreckage of Flight MH17. Ukrainian forces have been pushing rebel units back towards their two main urban strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk and have sought to encircle them in several places. The government says its forces have retaken several villages in the rolling countryside near where the airliner crashed on July 17.

Officials said up to 17 people, including children, were killed in fighting on Monday evening in the town of Horlivka, a rebel stronghold north of Donetsk that saw fierce battles between the rival forces in the last few days. In the city of Luhansk, officials said five civilians were killed when shelling hit a retirement home. Kiev says 10 soldiers were killed over the last 24 hours, while a rebel commander said 30 of his fighters had been killed or wounded. Western countries say Moscow has stepped up its support for the rebels since the downing of the airliner, which Washington says was almost certainly shot down accidentally by rebels using a Russian-made surface-to-air missile.

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- Reuters