Ukraine's army has said it has retaken a town on the outskirts of the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk, and intercepted another convoy of vehicles crossing over from Russia. Government forces said in a statement on Wednesday that they had seized control of Avdiyivka, a town of about 40,000 about a dozen kilometres north of Donetsk, as Ukraine tightened its grip around the key rebel bastion.
The Ukrainian government said on its website that 19 people had died in the fighting in the past 24 hours, with 31 people injured. Elsewhere, clashes continued around the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, with government forces saying they were conducting a "mopping up" operation in the town of Ilovaysk, about 40km west of the site.
International observers announced they had turned back from another attempt to reach crash site after discussions with rebels, the AP news agency reported. Safety concerns and hindrance from the separatists who control the area have kept the OSCE investigation team away from the scene, causing foreign governments whose citizens died in the July 17 crash to complain the site is not secured and some human remains have not been recovered.
Government security spokesman Andriy Lysenko added to those concerns on Wednesday by saying separatists "have mined the approaches to this area," AP reported.