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Fighting in Eastern Ukraine Intensifies


FILE - A man smokes near a residential building, which locals said was damaged during recent shelling, in Donetsk, Ukraine, Aug. 7, 2015.

FILE - A man smokes near a residential building, which locals said was damaged during recent shelling, in Donetsk, Ukraine, Aug. 7, 2015.

Fighting between government forces and separatists intensified in eastern Ukraine on Monday, with the country's president ordering his foreign minister to hold urgent talks with his counterparts from Germany, France and Russia about the escalating violence.

The Ukrainian presidential website reported that some 200 separatist fighters using tanks launched an attack around the village of Novolaspa, located halfway between the separatist stronghold of Donetsk and the government-controlled port of Mariupol.

Ukrainian military chief of staff Viktor Muzhenko told President Petro Poroshenko that the attack was repulsed, the presidential website reported. According to other reports, government forces later pulled out of Novolaspa.

Rebel officials denied their forces had attacked Novolaspa, claiming rebel units were already based there, and accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the village.

Ukrainian military spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov said Monday that government forces were still in control of the town of Starohnativka, located just a few kilometers southwest of Novolaspa, following a separatist attack. He said one Ukrainian serviceman was killed and nine injured in the attack.

Poroshenko said via Twitter on Monday that he had ordered his foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin, to hold "urgent consultations" with the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Russia over the escalating violence in eastern Ukraine.

At least one person was killed Sunday in fighting between government forces and separatists in the rebel-controlled town of Horlivka, northeast of Donetsk. Each side accused the other of shelling civilian areas.

A cease-fire deal reached in February called for the two sides to observe a truce and withdraw heavy weapons.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe observers said in a tweet Sunday that four vehicles belonging to the OSCE monitoring mission to Ukraine were set on fire outside their hotel in Donetsk, in an apparent arson attack.

Some information is from Reuters.

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