Fighting in Ukraine as aid convoy reaches customs

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Associated Press

Posted on August 21, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 21 at 3:01 PM

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Fierce fighting continues in eastern Ukraine as government troops try to snatch back territory from separatist rebels.

Ukrainian troops have made significant gains this week in a conflict that has claimed more than 2,000 lives and forced over 340,000 people to flee their homes.

Meanwhile, a Russian aid convoy is making tentative steps toward Luhansk. The city has been under siege for 19 days, lacking basic amenities like running water or electricity. The International Committee of the Red Cross says residents are struggling to survive amid the ongoing fighting.

Russia has been trying to send in over 200 trucks carrying what it says is humanitarian aid to help civilians in Luhansk, but Ukraine fears the move is a ploy to aid the pro-Russian separatists. The convoy has been held up at the border for a week in a dispute over the conditions under which Ukraine will admit the Russian trucks.

The Ukrainian border guard service says the trucks today began the process of clearing customs at the Russian border next to a rebel-held border post in Ukraine.

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APPHOTO XEL102: Ukrainian soldiers pass by street vendors close to Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. The rebel stronghold 20 kilometers from the Russian border has been under siege for 19 days, lacking basic amenities like running water or electricity. (AP Photo/Petro Zadorozhnyy) (21 Aug 2014)

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APPHOTO XEL101: Ukrainian soldiers evacuate a wounded comrade close to Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. During fighting near Luhansk, the Ukrainian military captured two paratrooper vehicles from the Pskov military division, who were from the Russian Federation paratroopers division. In one of the cars, a complete package of documents were found - driver's licence and military documents. The personnel and the vehicle are registered at military division 74268 from the First Paratroopers Division of Pskov Ukrainian National Security Council spokesman said. Moscow denied the reports. A spokesman for Russia's defense ministry told Russian news agencies that the armored personal carrier in the photos did not belong to Russia and the kind of documents found in the vehicle had not been used for five years. (AP Photo/Petro Zadorozhnyy) (21 Aug 2014)

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APPHOTO PAG107: Several trucks of the Russian aid convoy are searched at the Russian inspection zone inside a border control point with Ukraine in the Russian town of Donetsk, Rostov-on-Don region, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin) (21 Aug 2014)

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APPHOTO XSG108: First trucks of the Russian aid convoy stand in the Russian inspection zone inside a border control point with Ukraine in the Russian town of Donetsk, Rostov-on-Don region, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. Russia has been trying to send in about 200 trucks carrying what it says is humanitarian aid to help civilians in Luhansk, but Ukraine fears the move is a ploy to aid the pro-Russian separatists, and the convoy has been held up at the border for a week.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits) (21 Aug 2014)

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APPHOTO XSG104: The first trucks of the Russian aid convoy are seen behind Russian, left, and Ukrainian border signs in the Russian inspection zone inside a border control point with Ukraine in the Russian town of Donetsk, Rostov-on-Don region, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. Russia has been trying to send in over 200 trucks carrying what it says is humanitarian aid to help civilians in Luhansk, but Ukraine fears the move is a ploy to aid the pro-Russian separatists. The convoy has been held up at the border for a week in a dispute over the conditions under which Ukraine will let in the Russian trucks. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) (21 Aug 2014)

<<APPHOTO XSG104 (08/21/14)££

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