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Five Ukraine troops die in clashes

Five Ukrainian troops have been killed and 21 injured while fighting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine in the past 24 hours, an official has said.

Ukrainian troops have made significant advances into rebel-held territory this week in a conflict that has already claimed more than 2,000 lives and forced over 340,000 people to flee their homes.

Government troops were still fighting separatists in and around Ilovaysk, a town near the rebel-held city of Donetsk, even though the town was under government control, said spokesman Andriy Lysenko.

Fierce fighting also continued in Luhansk, a rebel stronghold 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the Russian border. The city has been under siege for 19 days, without basic amenities like running water or electricity.

Some Russian trucks in a massive aid convoy have begun to clear customs at a rebel-held border crossing in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian border guards said.

Russia has been trying to send in over 200 trucks carrying what it says is humanitarian aid to help civilians in the hard-hit city of Luhansk, but Ukraine fears the move is a ploy to aid the pro-Russian separatists.

The convoy has been held up at the border for a week in a dispute over the conditions under which Ukraine will let in the Russian trucks.

At least two people were killed and an unspecified number wounded today in an artillery strike on a Donetsk suburb, the mayor's office said. Once home to one million, the largest city still held by the rebels has seen one-third of its population flee.


From Belfast Telegraph