Fierce fighting rages in eastern Ukraine's Luhansk

LUHANSK, Ukraine, July 19 Sat Jul 19, 2014 4:15am EDT

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LUHANSK, Ukraine, July 19 (Reuters) - Fierce fighting raged in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk on Saturday, a day after Defence Minister Valery Heletey said the army had taken control of its southeastern districts.

Residents said pro-Russian rebels were shelling in all directions in the southeast part of the city and at least one or two rounds of mortar fire could be heard every minute. Most refused to go outside and were holed up at home.

Kiev has stepped up what it calls an "anti-terrorist operation" against the rebels, who want to create an independent region in Ukraine's eastern Donbass region, where most people are Russian speakers. (Reporting by Viktor Prokopenko; Writing by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Alison Williams)

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