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Ukrainian government troops take over much of Luhansk

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DONETSK, Ukraine — After days of constant street battles, Ukrainian troops took control today of a large part of the rebel stronghold in Luhansk, a government spokesman announced, while battles around the rebel’s largest city of Donetsk left at least 52 people dead.

Hard-hit Luhansk, an eastern city about 12 miles from the Russian border, has been without electricity, running water or phone connections for 18 days due to the fighting between government forces and pro-Russia separatists. Russia has sent a massive aid convoy to help the residents there but it is still stuck at the border, since it has not yet received Kiev’s approval because the proposed route lies through rebel-held territory.

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