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Ukraine

More deaths in eastern Ukraine as fighting intensifies

Over 30 people have been killed in the last 24 hours, according to Kyiv, as heavy fighting continues in the Donetsk region. Meanwhile, aid workers search for a way to access those in need.

Ukrainian officials reported Wednesday that 34 residents have been killed and a further 29 wounded during the past 24 hours in fighting between pro-Russian separatists and troops in the eastern Donetsk region.

Heavy fighting was reported from the city of Donetsk, where government forces are trying to force out rebels.

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

Lysenko said fighting had continued in Ilovaysk for more than a day although government forces had gained overall control of the town.

Yesterday, Kyiv announced soldiers captured most of the town of Ilovaysk near Donetsk.

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

Thus far the conflict has displaced 344,000 people and killed more than 2,000 since April 6.

The humanitarian situation is dire, with many people left without electricity and supplies and access restricted to aid workers. The city of Luhansk was left without electricity and water for the 18th consecutive day on Wednesday. A Russian humanitarian aid convoy has been waiting to cross the Ukraine border now for a week.

The Red Cross said the safety of its aid workers passing through rebel-held territory could not be guaranteed.

sb/kms (dpa, AP, AFP)

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