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Five dead in fighting near Ukraine's Donetsk

At least five people were killed in fighting early Friday between pro-Russian militiamen and Ukrainian forces near the eastern city of Donetsk, an AFP photographer said. 

KARLIVKA, Ukraine: At least five people were killed in fighting early Friday between pro-Russian militiamen and Ukrainian forces near the eastern city of Donetsk, an AFP photographer said.

The photographer said he saw five bodies near the village of Karlivka northwest of Donetsk, four of them apparently rebels and the fifth possibly from a volunteer force attached to the military.

Fighting in the east has witnessed a bloody resurgence ahead of Sunday's presidential election that the pro-Russian insurgents have vowed to disrupt.

On Thursday, attacks by separatist gunmen in the rebel-held regions of Donetsk and Lugansk killed a total of 18 soldiers, according to a new toll provided by a military spokesman.

It was by far the heaviest loss for the Ukrainian military since it launched what it calls an "anti-terrorist" operation against the rebels in mid-April.

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