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Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 3:42 p.m.
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Shelling adds to mounting civilian toll in Ukraine

By The Associated Press

This article was published July 29, 2014 at 8:10 a.m.

DONETSK, Ukraine — Shelling in at least three cities in eastern Ukraine has hit a home for the elderly, a school and multiple homes, adding to a rapidly growing civilian death toll Tuesday.

The use of unguided rockets in fighting between government troops and pro-Russian separatist rebels has been causing a notable increase in casualties in recent days and drawn criticism from the U.N. and rights groups.

And with turmoil raging across a swathe of Ukraine's troubled east, international investigators were again prevented Tuesday from visiting the site of the Malaysia Airlines jet shot down earlier this month.

At least one person was killed when several shells hit an apartment block in early in the afternoon in the center of the main separatist rebel stronghold of Donetsk.

The government has refrained to date from attacks on the center of Donetsk and direct strikes on the city may mark an escalation in efforts to break the rebels' resolve there.

An Associated Press reporter on the scene saw gaping holes in the side of a nine-story apartment block after it was fired on. About 50 people took refuge in a nearby underground car park, and the area was heavy with the smell of household gas.

An international observer team was taking photos of another nearby building that was also struck by rocket fire.

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