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July 26, 2014

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Fierce fighting near rebel-held city in Ukraine

Updated Monday, July 14, 2014 | 2:55 a.m.

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Fighting has intensified around the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk as government forces step up efforts to disrupt rebel lines and claim more territory from the faltering insurgency.

The Defense Ministry said Monday that government troops had retaken several villages around the rebel-controlled city and reopened a corridor to the airport.

A spokeswoman for the Luhansk People's Republic told The Associated Press that separatist fighters destroyed a Ukrainian armed convoy in the village of Heorhiivka, 10 kilometers (6 miles) west of the airport. She says at least three Ukrainian soldiers were killed in that clash.

In the last two weeks, the government has halved the territory held by the pro-Russia fighters, who have been forced back into strongholds around the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk.