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Toll rises to 20 in Ukraine clashes

Toll rises to 20 in Ukraine clashes
Highlights

Ukraine’s military distributed gruel and tea on Thursday in a frontline town battered by five days of violence that has sparked global condemnation...

Ukraine’s military distributed gruel and tea on Thursday in a frontline town battered by five days of violence that has sparked global condemnation and killed at least 20 people.

Government forces and Russian-backed separatists have been exchanging mortar and rocket fire around the flashpoint eastern town of Avdiivka that sits just north of the Russian-backed rebels’ de facto capital of Donetsk.

The surge in clashes since Sunday have reignited fears of full-scale warfare returning to Ukraine after a relative lull in 33 months of bloodshed in the European Union’s backyard.

The Avdiivka shelling left more than 20,000 people without heat or water in freezing winter weather and authorities scrambling to provide relief.

The escalation in violence has sharpened attention on a conflict that had slipped from recent focus despite claiming the lives of more than 10,000 people.

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