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Ukraine rebels close in on strategic Donetsk airport; 3 killed in shelling

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DONETSK, Ukraine — Rebels in eastern Ukraine appear to be successfully closing in on the government-held airport of Donetsk, a strategic victory for the pro-Russian separatists that further undermines a shaky cease-fire in the region.

A rebel commander at a checkpoint not far from the airport told an AP reporter that the rebels controlled most of the airport, which has been the focus of the worst fighting in the region for weeks. From a distance, it was clear that artillery fire hitting the airport was coming from government-held positions outside the city — an indication that it may no longer be under Kiev's control.

The reporter also saw the bodies of three people killed when a shell exploded in a school courtyard in a residential neighborhood in the city's north, near the airport.

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