Ukraine launches offensive to retake Donetsk

Ukraine launches offensive to retake Donetsk

July 26th, 2014 by Associated Press in National Iinternational
FILE - This July 19, 2014, file photo shows pro-Russian fighter guarding the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine. Ukraine said the passenger plane was shot down as it flew over the country, killing all 298 people on board. A series of unanswered questions about the downing of the flight shows the limits of U.S. intelligence-gathering even when it is intensely focused, as it has been in Ukraine since Russia seized Crimea in March. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File) Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - A Ukrainian security spokesman says government forces advanced to the outskirts of a key town in an effort to go after pro-Russian separatists in one of their main strongholds.

National security spokesman Andriy Lysenko said Ukrainian forces were outside Horlikva north of the main regional center of Donetsk.

Lysenko said at a briefing Saturday that after taking Horlivka, "the direct route is open for the forces of the anti-terrorist operation to the capital of the Donbass region - the city of Donetsk."

Donetsk, a city of about 1 million people, is a major center of the separatist uprising that has battled Ukrainian government forces for five months.

An Associated Press reporter found the highway north of Donetsk blocked by rebels and heard the sound of artillery to the north.