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Explosions, gunfire near Ukraine's Slavyansk: AFP

Monday, May 12, 2014

A man shows the fins of a mortar at his partially destroyed home as a result of mortar fire in the eastern Ukranian city of Slavyansk.

SLAVYANSK, Ukraine - Several explosions and gunfire could be heard near the flashpoint eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk Monday, according to an AFP reporter there, as Kiev seeks to flush out pro-Moscow rebels holed up there.

Fighting broke out in a nearby village on the "front line" of the siege of the town of at least 110,000 people amid what Kiev calls an "anti-terrorist" operation, a rebel spokeswoman said.

The insurgents have been launching near daily assaults on the town's television tower, sparking brief exchanges of fire with the army encircling the town.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on his official Facebook site that rebels had "opened fire on a TV tower in Slavyansk again." He reported that the separatists, who have proved to be well-armed and well-trained, had fired 14 mortar shots at the tower and the army responded with gunfire.

There were no casualties on the military side, the minister said. There was no word of any casualties sustained by the insurgents.

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