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Ukrainian Forces Win More Ground; 9 Troops Dead

Created: 07/04/2014 4:17 PM WDIO.com

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Fighting in eastern Ukraine Friday has left at least nine government soldiers dead.

The military has been pressing an offensive against pro-Russian insurgents, using heavy artillery and combat jets. Ukrainian security officials say they've recaptured 17 eastern villages from the insurgents.

Prospects for a truce appear dim. Ukraine's president says his government is ready to conduct another round of talks with Russia and the rebels Saturday, but there's no word on where those talks might take place. Two previous rounds held during a ten-day cease-fire brought no visible progress.

Kiev also is accusing Moscow of making aggressive moves, including massing troops near the border and allowing insurgents to attack Ukrainian border posts from its side. The head of Ukraine's SBU security service says 20 Russian tanks or armored vehicles have illegally crossed the border to take part in the insurgency in the past four days.

Russia is pushing for a truce with President Vladimir Putin facing increasingly angry nationalist demands to send troops to help the insurgency. Such a move would almost certainly trigger new, potentially crippling Western sanctions.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
 

Ukrainian government forces maneuver antiaircraft missile launchers Buk as they are transported north-west from Slavyansk, eastern Ukraine Friday.
AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky

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