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Heavy Fighting Resumes In Eastern Ukraine As Truce Talks Collapse

Posted: February 1, 2015

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Russian-backed rebels are shelling a strategic rail hub in the Donetsk region a day after cease-fire discussions fell apart.

Ukrainian soldiers are seen in an armored vehicle topped with a Ukrainian flag near the city of Artemivsk, in the Donetsk region, on Sunday.

Ukrainian soldiers are seen in an armored vehicle topped with a Ukrainian flag near the city of Artemivsk, in the Donetsk region, on Sunday. Manu Brabo

Intense fighting in eastern Ukraine has resumed since the collapse of cease-fire talks on Saturday. Reuters says Russian-backed separatists used artillery to try to push Kiev's forces from the strategic rail hub of Debaltseve.

NPR's Corey Flintoff — reporting from the town of Svyatogorsk, which has become a de facto refugee camp for many civilians fleeing the fighting — tells Weekend All Things Considered that he's "met people who've gotten out of some of the most dangerous areas. Many of them have absolutely terrifying stories to tell."

"These people have been living without heat or running water for ten days, in the middle of a bombardment," Corey says. "The police chief there says that a dozen civilians were killed in the town yesterday--although we haven't been able to verify that."

At a briefing in which he noted that 13 civilians had been killed in the fighting in the past 24 hours, Kiev military spokesman Volodymyr Polyovy said: "Fighting continues across all sections of the frontline."

According to Reuters:

"The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which took part in the talks in Minsk, Belarus, along with envoys from Ukraine and Russia, said rebel delegates had not been ready to discuss crucial points of a peace plan."

"'In fact, they were not even prepared to discuss implementation of a ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons,' the OSCE said in a statement."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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