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Ukrainian troops closer to Donetsk

Ukrainian troops have taken control of a key checkpoint on the western edge of Donetsk, the biggest city in the rebellious east, and are making gradual advances to quash pro-Russian separatist forces.

An Associated Press reporter today saw a tank carrying the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag in the suburb of Marinka, which lies on a key road into Donetsk.

Rebel soldiers could still be seen in sniper positions in a nearby area closer to the city centre.

Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky, a spokesman for the Ukrainian military operation in the east, said further fighting was expected to ensure full control over Marinka.

Donetsk, a city of one million people, has largely been spared of fighting earlier during the rebellion that erupted in April but has come under shelling in recent weeks.

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