Men carry the body of a killed Ukrainian army soldier out of a van and into the morgue in Volnovakha, on May 22, 2014, after an ambush at a check point between Blohoddatne and Horlivka, 50km south of Donetsk. AFP PHOTO / FABIO BUCCIARELLI
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At least five people were killed Friday in fighting near Ukraine's eastern hub of Donetsk two days before a presidential election undermined by an upsurge in attacks by pro-Russian separatists.Friday's fighting pitted a volunteer force attached to the Ukrainian army against militants armed with heavy machineguns and backed by at least one armoured vehicle.German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to accept the assessment of about 1,000 observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe who are monitoring the election throughout the country of 46 million people.Kiev media are describing the election as the most important since Ukraine's independence in 1991 because it gives people a chance to unite behind a legitimate leader after months of unrest that have exposed a deep cultural divide between its Russian and Ukrainian speakers.The Ukrainian authorities are mobilising more than 55,000 police and 20,000 volunteers to ensure security on polling day.
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