A serviceman of volunteer battalions of territorial defence Lugansk-1 checks passing cars at their checkpoint near the eastern Ukrainian city of Lisichansk on July 28, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ GENYA SAVILOV
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The EU was set to approve punishing sanctions against Russia Tuesday over its role in the Ukraine crisis, as fighting in the strife-torn east again prevented international experts from reaching the crash site of Malaysian flight MH17 .The Ukrainian military denied it was carrying out hostilities near the vast MH17 site, where the remains of some of the 298 victims still lie 12 days on.The fighting came a day after rebels claimed Kiev had regained control over part of the site.More than 1,100 people have been killed in the fighting has engulfed eastern Ukraine over the past three months, the United Nations said, a toll that does not include the plane crash victims.The insurgents launched their bloody bid to join Russia as Kiev veered decisively towards the West after deposing pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych in February. Heavy fighting is ongoing in another rebel stronghold Lugansk, with local authorities reporting at least 22 civilians were killed Tuesday by shelling in two conflict-stricken cities in eastern Ukraine.
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