Pro-Russian separatists ride in a car in the direction of the battle line in Seversk (Siversk), located near the town of Krasny Liman, Donetsk region, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov
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Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists were locked in fierce fighting in the east of Ukraine Thursday and a rebel commander acknowledged big losses among separatists heavily outgunned by government forces.Even as President Petro Poroshenko and his team prepared to unveil their blueprint for ending more than two months of rebellion, government forces, using artillery and heavy armor, said they were tightening the noose on separatists near Krasny Liman, north of the main regional hub of Donetsk.Government forces said the fighting erupted in the early hours after rebels refused to lay down their arms as part of Poroshenko's peace plan.Both Ukrainian government and rebel accounts of the fighting suggested a major battle involving armored vehicles including tanks.A top rebel commander, Igor Strelkov, reported "heavy losses" in equipment and arms among the separatists, faced with a huge superiority in heavy armor on the government side at Yampil.
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