KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine are bracing for what could be the next phase in Ukraine's conflict: bloody urban warfare.
The insurgents have lost much ground in recent weeks, and Ukrainian forces have driven the rebels from their stronghold of Slovyansk.
Many have regrouped in Donetsk and rebels also hold the city of Luhansk, where they are said to be taking up positions in residential and industrial zones while lobbing artillery at government troops.
Despite the government's desire to minimize civilian casualties, Ukraine's forces could find themselves dragged into grueling warfare inside the cities as they fight to hold the country together.
Insurgents in Donetsk loaded their families onto buses bound for Russia Wednesday. One says having his wife and daughter out of in a safer place will free him to concentrate on the battles ahead.