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Ukraine Claims Advances Against Pro-Russian Separatists Outside Donetsk

Ukrainian officials said their forces advanced to the outskirts of a key town north of Donetsk on Saturday as they try to retake the stronghold held for months by pro-Russia rebels. The move comes as Ukrainian forces appear to have gained some momentum recently by retaking control of territory from the rebels. But Russia also appears to becoming more involved in the fighting, with the U.S. and Ukraine accusing Moscow of moving heavily artillery across the border to the rebels.

Ukrainian national security spokesman Andriy Lysenko said Ukrainian forces were outside Horlikva, just north of the regional center of Donetsk. Donetsk, a city of about 1 million people, is a major center of the separatist uprising that has battled Ukrainian government forces for five months. Russia launched artillery attacks from its soil into Ukraine on Friday, while the United States said it has seen powerful rocket systems moving closer to the Ukraine border. The Russian Foreign Ministry accused the United States on Saturday of conducting "an unrelenting campaign of slander against Russia, ever more relying on open lies."

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— The Associated Press