An elderly woman pushes a stroller with a child in a basement, used as a shelter from artillery fire, in the settlement of Makiivka on the outskirts of Donetsk, August 19, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
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A gunbattle broke out in the center of the rebel-held Ukrainian city of Donetsk and residents ran for cover from artillery fire Tuesday, taking a government military offensive into the heart of the retreating pro-Moscow separatist rebellion.In a prelude to the talks between Putin and Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to visit the Ukrainian capital Kiev Saturday, her office said, to show support for the Ukrainian government.Donetsk has for months been the headquarters of Ukraine's separatist rebellion, with rebel flags flying over administrative buildings and the main avenue.The center of the city was transformed into a battle zone Tuesday afternoon. The meeting will be the first between Putin and Poroshenko since a fleeting encounter in Normandy, France, in June at commemorations of the World War Two D-day landings.European officials say privately that they will keep up pressure on Putin to not support the rebels, but at the same time Ukraine has to be persuaded not to ruthlessly press home its advantage on the battlefield.
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