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Dozens die in Ukraine in street battles, Donetsk shelling; warplane shot down

Published on Aug 21, 2014 3:09 AM

KIEV/DONETSK, Ukraine (REUTERS/AFP) - Heavy shelling hit residential neighbourhoods in Ukraine's rebel stronghold of Donetsk and government forces fought street battles in other towns on Wednesday as they sought to crush a four-month-old separatist rebellion.

A Ukrainian warplane was also said  to have been shot down on Wednesday over rebel-held territory, although a spokesman said it was too early to tell who had shot down the plane – the latest in a string of military jets to be hit – or what had happened to the pilot.

The forces of the Western-backed Kiev government are steadily gaining the upper hand over the separatists in Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine and are tightening the noose around the main rebel bastions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Reuters reporters in Donetsk said mortar rounds had struck Chelyuskintsev Street in the north of the city, a few kilometres from the front line of the conflict, shattering the windows of several five-storey apartment buildings and shearing off the branches of trees and downing power lines.

People walk in front of a building damaged by, what locals say, was recent shelling by Ukrainian forces in Donetsk on August 20, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
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