NEWS WATCH: Battles Rage In Eastern Ukraine As Government Rejects Ceasefire

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife

EPA1462750_ArticoloKYIV, UKRAINE (BosNewsLife)-- Fighting raged Sunday in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk despite a request from the pro-Russian separatists for a cease-fire to prevent what they called a "humanitarian catastrophe." At least one person was killed and 10 injured in the latest shelling that started early Sunday and continued throughout the day, officials said.

Terrified residents in Donetsk heard loud explosions closer to the city center. Local authorities said over 2,000 residential buildings are now known to have been damaged in often deadly shelling attacks by Ukraine's army.

Among the latest targets Sunday were a hospital, shop and 10 homes. Ukraine's government says its forces target pro-Russian separatists, while trying to avoid using heavy weapons in residential areas.

Yet unarmed men, women and children have been in the crossfire. They are among the many unable to leave the besieged city.

THOUSANDS FLEE

The United Nations estimates that just 300,000 of Donetsk's 1 million residents have fled as violence escalates.

Kyiv has rejected a request from the pro-Russian rebels for a cease-fire saying the insurgents should surrender instead.

As battles rage, neighboring Russia proposes delivering humanitarian aid for people displaced by the fighting.

But the United States ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, says Moscow is seeking an excuse to invade Ukraine as it did in Georgia in 2008. "Any further unilateral intervention by Russia into Ukrainian territory – including one under the guise of providing humanitarian aid – would be completely unacceptable and deeply alarming," she told the UN Security Council.

"And it would be viewed as an invasion of Ukraine," Power warned.

COMBAT TROOPS

Moscow already stationed an estimated 20,000 Russian combat troops near Ukraine's border.

And, Russia has been holding what the West called provocative exercises involving a variety of military aircraft.

While rejecting Russian involvement, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko revealed however that he discussed with German chancellor Angela Merkel German participation in a humanitarian mission.

That operation is expected to deliver food and medicine to the many displaced people and those still trapped in eastern Ukraine.

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