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Fighting intensifies in eastern Ukraine

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Fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian militants has intensified in eastern Ukraine. International investigators looking into the downing of a Malaysia Airlines plane have yet to reach the crash site.

The Ukrainian military is stepping up its offensive against the militants in an effort to secure access to the crash site in the Donetsk region.

An air raid on central Donetsk, a militant stronghold, killed one person on Tuesday. Artillery attacks on the city of Horlivka killed 4 people and wounded more than 20.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte talked with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko by phone on Tuesday and asked him to stop the fighting around the crash site.

The Ukrainian government is facing difficulties as the countries whose nationals died in the crash are calling for a ceasefire.

Russia's Interfax news agency on Tuesday quoted a Russian immigration official as saying that more than 730,000 people from Ukraine have fled to Russian territory.

Most of the evacuees are believed to have sought temporary refuge with relatives and friends.

The number of evacuees is reportedly on the rise at more than 450 facilities set up along the border.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed a senior official in charge of human rights issues to provide support for the evacuees and prepare for the winter.

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