Ukraine claims victories over rebel forces in shelling campaign, but overall progress minimal



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DONETSK, Ukraine — Ukraine's armed forces say they have caused heavy casualties among pro-Russian separatist forces, although their overall advance quelling the rebel resistance remains haphazard and faltering.

Defense officials said Friday in a daily update that government forces had destroyed 11 Grad missile systems, three tanks and five armored personnel carriers during fighting near the town of Snizhne. They also claimed to have killed around 100 rebel fighters. The claims could not immediately be verified and Ukrainians have in the past made overblown estimates of their successes.

Government tactics have lately relied on shelling of rebel positions, although these often miss and hit residential quarters.

Meanwhile, rebels said Friday that they have seized two settlements west of Snizhne and captured 13 Ukrainian troops, including three officers.

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