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Ukraine says troops entered rebel-held city


KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Ukraine's government said Sunday that separatists shot down a Ukrainian fighter plane after army troops entered deep inside a rebel-controlled city in the east in what could prove a breakthrough development in the four-month long conflict.

Ukraine's national security council said government forces captured a district police station in Luhansk after bitter clashes in the Velika Vergunka neighborhood.

Weeks of fighting have taken their toll on Luhansk, which city authorities say has reached the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe. The siege mounted by government forces has ground delivery of basic provisions to a halt and cut off power and running water links.

Although rebel forces have regularly yielded territory in recent weeks, they have continued to show formidable fighting capabilities.

Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky said Sunday that the separatists have shot down a Ukrainian fighter plane over the Luhansk region after it launched an attack on rebels. The pilot ejected and was taken to a secure place, he said.

Another military spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, later said that the status of the pilot was still being clarified.

Part of a Russian aid convoy carrying food and other supplies intended for Luhansk and other afflicted zones on Sunday headed to the section of border closest to the city, but stopped just short of the frontier crossing in the early afternoon. The convoy has been marooned for days in a town near the border amid objections from Ukraine, which initially complained that the mission was not authorized by the International Committee for the Red Cross.

The Red Cross, which would have responsibility for distributing the aid, on Saturday said the main holdup was a lack of security guarantees from all sides in the conflict.

As the status of the Russian aid convoy remained uncertain, the foreign minister of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France were expected to meet in Berlin on Sunday over the crisis.

Rebels have been bullish about their ability to continue their battle and, in at least one case, have openly bragged of receiving support from Russia.

In a video posted online this weekend, the leader of the self-proclaimed rebel government in the Donetsk region, Alexander Zakharchenko, was seen saying new military equipment was on its way from Russia. He said the shipment included tanks and some 1,200 fighters who have undergone training in Russia. Donetsk, the main rebel-held city, is several hours drive west of Luhansk, and is also suffering through fighting including frequent shelling.

Lysenko said the government had information that separatists had received reinforcement from Russia, but added that there is evidence rebels are complaining about not receiving some of the equipment they have been promised.

Russia has consistently denied allegations that it is supporting the rebels with equipment or training. But Ukraine's president on Friday said that Ukraine had destroyed a large number of military vehicles that had recently crossed from Russia.

Russia And Ukraine Try Diplomacy As Fighting Continues

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spectrumprodec2 August 17 2014 at 8:37 AM

without Russian support this conflict would have been over months ago and many lives would have been spared. it is therefore Russia's fault 100%

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11 replies
ramonbatt August 17 2014 at 9:00 AM

Ukraine is fighting the military of Russia. No such as separatist. Putin is 100% behind supporting and aiding wis to special forces. Putin wants the rest of the Black Sea from Ukraine.

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4 replies
Doug August 17 2014 at 9:27 AM

Don't be fooled, the rebel forces are regular Russian troops in civilian clothes.

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2 replies
GEORGESEDARES Doug August 17 2014 at 11:47 AM

Yes and Putin is currently, "Stalin" for time.... Catch up on history.

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2 replies
tvkvjs GEORGESEDARES August 17 2014 at 3:34 PM

Do you even history?

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luigi1947 GEORGESEDARES August 17 2014 at 8:11 PM

Stalin would be insulted if he were still alive

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jjdp Doug August 17 2014 at 12:02 PM

A wolf in Sheeps clothing.

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1 reply
tvkvjs jjdp August 17 2014 at 3:35 PM

Yes and it is Ukrainian Government a wolf and West sees them in Sheeps clothing

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jrc22552 August 17 2014 at 10:02 AM

Meanwhile, back on the course at Martha's Vineyard, Barack lines up a putt to salvage his bogey.

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12 replies
bps163 August 17 2014 at 9:29 AM

Putin should be charged as a war criminal for sighting such a takeover. The deaths of the 300 on an air flight and the deaths of all the Ukraine people. Putin brought this war to Ukraine and he should jailed for it.

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6 replies
Len August 17 2014 at 11:02 AM

Some on the right howl that President Obama must intervene in the Ukraine instead of playing golf. Why? the Ukrainians are doing just fine on their own because President Putin doesn't dare openly attack the Ukraine, especially since there is no guarantee that he would win if he did. For Putin, such a loss would be catastrophic.

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2 replies
vinkbear Len August 17 2014 at 11:26 AM

Putin doesn't want to openly attack the Ukraine, so he's made up the facade of pro Russia seperatists to make it appear that it's an internal struggle. That's a little hard to swallow since the seperatists are equipped with Russian weapons, wear Russian uniforms without insignia and Russian heavy weaponry has been confirmed crossing the border into eastern Ukraine. If he wanted to openly attack the Ukraine, he could take over the country in days, but would risk being condemned by the international community, so he plays his game and hopes that the world is too occupied or too stupid to realize what's going on.

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Jim Len August 17 2014 at 12:32 PM

If Russia invaded Ukraine, it would win hands down, unless NATO intervened. Then you have the basis for WW III. Let's be careful about this issue.

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almazstmp August 17 2014 at 11:55 AM

As usual AOL article is lacking a statement from the rebel side. Which makes this a propaganda piece instead of a news reporting.

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7 replies
Roberta August 17 2014 at 2:35 PM

Well Putin lovers, his halo is slipping.

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Junior August 17 2014 at 9:15 AM

With obama in office this is know time for us to get to involved. obama would surrender at first chance and we would then haft to do our own fighting here in the States. If it was not for Putin that war would be over the bad thing is, is that it may take some nation like we used to be to stop this.

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8 replies
julius August 17 2014 at 1:45 PM

By the way to all who think that Putin downed the airliner please take your time and check the link
same was said by Russian military long time ago

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
Panas julius August 17 2014 at 9:59 PM

Yes, the Russians have evidence. In fact they have evidence for the five different versions that they have floated, they also have evidence for the one that actually brought down the plane, but they do not talk about that one.

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