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Ukrainian forces press attacks on rebel-held areas

  • A Russian military truck carries a MSTA-S self-propelled howitzer about 10 kilometers from the Russia-Ukrainian border control point at town Donetsk, Rostov-on-Don region, Russia, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. Ukrainian government troops were fighting pro-Russian rebels in the streets of Luhansk on Tuesday and captured most of a town near the eastern city of Donetsk, tightening the noose around that key rebel-held stronghold, Ukrainian officials said. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    A Russian military truck carries a MSTA-S self-propelled howitzer about 10 kilometers from the Russia-Ukrainian border control point at town Donetsk, Rostov-on-Don region, Russia, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. Ukrainian government troops were fighting pro-Russian rebels in the streets of Luhansk on Tuesday and captured most of a town near the eastern city of Donetsk, tightening the noose around that key rebel-held stronghold, Ukrainian officials said. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

  • An officer of volunteer battalion 'Donbas' holds battalion colours during a blessing ceremony in St. Michael Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014.  Ukrainian government troops were fighting pro-Russian rebels in the streets of Luhansk on Tuesday and captured most of a town near the eastern city of Donetsk, tightening the noose around that key rebel-held stronghold, Ukrainian officials said. Commander of the Donbass battalion, Semyon Semenchenko was wounded during fighting Tuesday. He said government soldiers had destroyed three rebel checkpoints and four firing positions and that fighting continued. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    An officer of volunteer battalion 'Donbas' holds battalion colours during a blessing ceremony in St. Michael Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. Ukrainian government troops were fighting pro-Russian rebels in the streets of Luhansk on Tuesday and captured most of a town near the eastern city of Donetsk, tightening the noose around that key rebel-held stronghold, Ukrainian officials said. Commander of the Donbass battalion, Semyon Semenchenko was wounded during fighting Tuesday. He said government soldiers had destroyed three rebel checkpoints and four firing positions and that fighting continued. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

  • FILE - In this July 23, 2014 file photo, a man walks past a piece of the crashed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in a garden in the village of Petropavlivka, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. The remains of at least 15 Malaysians killed when the jetliner with 298 people on board was shot down over Ukraine on July 17 will be returned to their home country this week, the first Malaysian victims of the disaster to be flown home, the country's defense minister said Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)

    FILE - In this July 23, 2014 file photo, a man walks past a piece of the crashed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in a garden in the village of Petropavlivka, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. The remains of at least 15 Malaysians killed when the jetliner with 298 people on board was shot down over Ukraine on July 17 will be returned to their home country this week, the first Malaysian victims of the disaster to be flown home, the country's defense minister said Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)

  • People carry a stretcher with a dead man after shelling by the Ukrainian forces in Makiivka, 25 km (16 miles) from Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014.  Government troops on Tuesday pressed attacks in the two largest cities held by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, as Kiev also pursued diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict that has killed more than 2,000. (AP Photo/Antoine E.R. Delaunay)

    People carry a stretcher with a dead man after shelling by the Ukrainian forces in Makiivka, 25 km (16 miles) from Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. Government troops on Tuesday pressed attacks in the two largest cities held by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, as Kiev also pursued diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict that has killed more than 2,000. (AP Photo/Antoine E.R. Delaunay)

  • The head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, Onufriy blesses Ukrainians during a religion ceremony in the golden domed Orthodox Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug.  19, 2014.  Onufriy blessed the new church bell before it is lifted into place, set in the main bell tower of the golden domed Orthodox Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    The head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, Onufriy blesses Ukrainians during a religion ceremony in the golden domed Orthodox Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. Onufriy blessed the new church bell before it is lifted into place, set in the main bell tower of the golden domed Orthodox Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

  • The head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, Onufriy, center, blesses Ukrainians during a religion ceremony in the golden domed Orthodox Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014.  Onufriy blessed the new church bell before it is lifted into place, set in the main bell tower of the golden domed Orthodox Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday.  (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    The head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, Onufriy, center, blesses Ukrainians during a religion ceremony in the golden domed Orthodox Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. Onufriy blessed the new church bell before it is lifted into place, set in the main bell tower of the golden domed Orthodox Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

  • Ukrainians kiss the big church bell and pray, before it is lifted into place, set in the main bell tower of the golden domed Orthodox Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014.  The bell weighs 7,150 kilograms and is decorated with a unique decor, made in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    Ukrainians kiss the big church bell and pray, before it is lifted into place, set in the main bell tower of the golden domed Orthodox Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. The bell weighs 7,150 kilograms and is decorated with a unique decor, made in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

  • A Russian military truck carries a MSTA-S self-propelled howitzer about 10 kilometers from the Russia-Ukrainian border control point at town Donetsk, Rostov-on-Don region, Russia, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. Ukrainian government troops were fighting pro-Russian rebels in the streets of Luhansk on Tuesday and captured most of a town near the eastern city of Donetsk, tightening the noose around that key rebel-held stronghold, Ukrainian officials said. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
  • An officer of volunteer battalion 'Donbas' holds battalion colours during a blessing ceremony in St. Michael Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014.  Ukrainian government troops were fighting pro-Russian rebels in the streets of Luhansk on Tuesday and captured most of a town near the eastern city of Donetsk, tightening the noose around that key rebel-held stronghold, Ukrainian officials said. Commander of the Donbass battalion, Semyon Semenchenko was wounded during fighting Tuesday. He said government soldiers had destroyed three rebel checkpoints and four firing positions and that fighting continued. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
  • FILE - In this July 23, 2014 file photo, a man walks past a piece of the crashed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in a garden in the village of Petropavlivka, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. The remains of at least 15 Malaysians killed when the jetliner with 298 people on board was shot down over Ukraine on July 17 will be returned to their home country this week, the first Malaysian victims of the disaster to be flown home, the country's defense minister said Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)
  • People carry a stretcher with a dead man after shelling by the Ukrainian forces in Makiivka, 25 km (16 miles) from Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014.  Government troops on Tuesday pressed attacks in the two largest cities held by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, as Kiev also pursued diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict that has killed more than 2,000. (AP Photo/Antoine E.R. Delaunay)
  • The head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, Onufriy blesses Ukrainians during a religion ceremony in the golden domed Orthodox Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug.  19, 2014.  Onufriy blessed the new church bell before it is lifted into place, set in the main bell tower of the golden domed Orthodox Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
  • The head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, Onufriy, center, blesses Ukrainians during a religion ceremony in the golden domed Orthodox Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014.  Onufriy blessed the new church bell before it is lifted into place, set in the main bell tower of the golden domed Orthodox Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday.  (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
  • Ukrainians kiss the big church bell and pray, before it is lifted into place, set in the main bell tower of the golden domed Orthodox Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014.  The bell weighs 7,150 kilograms and is decorated with a unique decor, made in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Government troops pressed attacks yesterday in the two largest cities held by pro-Russia rebels in eastern Ukraine, while Kiev also pursued diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict that has killed more than 2,000 and displaced an additional 300,000.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko prepared to host German Chancellor Angela Merkel this weekend before heading to a meeting next week with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Associated Press

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