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Fighting Escalates in Ukraine’s Separatist Eastern Regions

A separatist advance launched last week in eastern Ukraine appears to have buried the frequently violated truce leading to a sharp increase in casualties.

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A pro-Russian separatist sits in a van while heading to the frontline near the eastern Ukrainian city of Debaltseve, in the Donetsk region, on Jan. 28.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Jan. 29 called for urgent truce talks with pro-Russian rebels to end a bloody surge in fighting. Poroshenko said the new meeting in the Belarussian capital should lead to "an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of contact."

The European Union was considering new sanctions against Russia because of the worsening situation in Ukraine, while Russian President Vladimir Putin complained that the conflict manifests geopolitical double standards.

Manu Brabo / AFP
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Pro-Russian separatists patrol at an advanced post near Debaltseve on Jan. 28.

Manu Brabo / AFP
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A pro-Russian separatist dug in a trench, fires his machine gun towards an Ukrainian Army positions near Debaltseve.

Manu Brabo / AFP
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A Ukrainian soldier examines a fragment of rocket from a Grad multiple launch rocket system, after shelling near Debaltseve.

Aleksey Chernyshev / AFP
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An elderly Ukrainian woman walks next to a sheet covered in blood after shell hit a residential area, killing two civilians in Kyibishevsky district on Jan. 29.

Manu Brabo / AFP
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A Ukrainian woman begs Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to stop the bombing.

Manu Brabo / AFP
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Image: Local residents wait in a queue to get humanitarian aid near a grocery store in Donetsk

Local residents wait in a queue to get humanitarian aid near a grocery store in Donetsk.

Alexander Ermochenko / X03560
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Local citizens talk at the entrance to a bomb shelter in Donetsk. Some 44 people have been permanently living in a bomb shelter for more than one month, as their homes are damaged or too close to fighting line.

Alexander Ermochenko / EPA
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People wait in a shelter for a break in the shelling in Enakieve, Southwestern Debaltseve.

Dominique Faget / AFP
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Pro-Russian separatist lies on the ground as he takes cover during Ukrainian army artillery fire on their position near Debaltseve.

Manu Brabo / AFP
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