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Ukraine Reports Intense Battles Near Mariupol

Ukraine has reported intense battles with pro-Russian separatists near the government-held coastal city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov.

A military spokesman in Kyiv said on August 12 that clashes north of the strategic city of Mariupol had killed one soldier and injured three.

The pro-Russian separatists said a civilian had died in a different part of the area.

A resident in a village located halfway between Donetsk and Mariupol told AFP exchanges of heavy mortar and rocket fire began on August 10 and had not stopped since.

The latest battles are focused on a highway that connects Mariupol with the separatists' de facto capital, Donetsk.

The majority of the road is now under the control of government forces.

The OSCE has reported increased cease-fire violations in areas east and north of Mariupol.

In recent days Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists have traded accusations of attempting to break a cease-fire deal that was agreed in Minsk six months ago.

On August 10, the Ukrainian military reported the heaviest shelling by pro-Russian separatists since the Minsk truce was signed in February.

Mariupol sits along a key route linking parts of eastern Ukraine controlled by the rebels and Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in March 2014.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

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