" According to the UN, the toll in the clashes has reached at least 1,129, while around 3,442 others have been wounded."
Kiev, July 29 - At least 26 people, including children, were killed in 24 hours of violence in eastern Ukraine as government forces stepped up their offensive against insurgents seeking their region's independence from Kiev, authorities said Tuesday.

The local government in Gorlovka city, in the Donetsk region, said that clashes between government troops and insurgents, which erupted Monday, had killed at least 17 people, including three children, Xinhua reported.

In the neighbouring town of Yasynovata, at least four people were killed and seven others wounded in an air strike on an apartment building.

Heavy fighting and machine gun fire have been also reported in the Lugansk region. According to Lugansk city council's press service, at least five civilians were killed in a fierce battle for control of the city over the past 24 hours.

Local media reports suggested that a team of international investigators were again prevented from reaching Malaysia Airlines flight MH17's crash site, which lies not far from the epicentre of the bloody conflict.

Ukrainian forces have been fighting with insurgents since mid-April to regain control over the seized cities and towns in eastern part of the country.

According to the UN, the toll in the clashes has reached at least 1,129, while around 3,442 others have been wounded.

Ukraine said it had lost 325 of its troops and 27 border guards in the conflict.


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