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Strategic Ukraine town under rebel control; 11 reported killed in Donetsk shelling

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NOVOAZOVSK, Ukraine — The strategically positioned southeastern Ukraine town of Novoazovsk appears firmly under the control of Russia-backed separatists as concerns grow about the opening of a new front in the Ukraine conflict.

PHOTO: Members of the OSCE examine the scene of a shelling in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. The Obama administration accused Russia on Wednesday of orchestrating a new military campaign in Ukraine, helping rebel forces expand their fight in the country's east and sending tanks, rocket launchers and armored vehicles toward communities elsewhere. (AP Photo/Mstislav Chernov)
Members of the OSCE examine the scene of a shelling in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. The Obama administration accused Russia on Wednesday of orchestrating a new military campaign in Ukraine, helping rebel forces expand their fight in the country's east and sending tanks, rocket launchers and armored vehicles toward communities elsewhere. (AP Photo/Mstislav Chernov)

On Thursday morning, an Associated Press journalist saw rebel checkpoints at the outskirts and was told he could not enter. One of the rebels said there was no fighting in the town.

Novoazovsk, which lies along the road connecting Russia to the Russia-annexed Crimean peninsula, had come under shelling for three days, with the rebels entering on Wednesday. The southeastern portion of Ukraine along the Azov Sea previously had escaped the fighting engulfing areas to the north.

In Donetsk, the largest rebel-held city, 11 people were killed by shelling during the night, the city administration said in a statement.

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