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At least 180 killed in Ukraine fighting

Kiev has been conducting its anti-terrorist operation in the east of the country since April.

Fighters of Social Nationalist Assembly (SNA), part of the ultra-nationalist Right Sector party, are sworn in on 3 June,2014. Picture:AFP.

KIEV - Over 180 people, including 59 troops from the Ukrainian military, have been killed in fighting in the eastern part of the country during a military operation in Donetsk and Luhansk, the country's acting prosecutor, Oleh Makhnitsky, said at a news conference.

Details aren't yet clear but Ukrainian officials say over 200 others were injured during this morning's offensive.

Fighting raged in eastern Ukraine for the second straight day on Tuesday as the army rolled out an offensive against pro-Russia separatists holding the city of Slaviansk and claimed to have inflicted losses on the rebels.

The fighting in Slaviansk followed a day-long firefight on Monday in Luhansk, a town further east on the border with Russia, after an attack by separatists on a border guard camp.

Kiev has been conducting its anti-terrorist operation in the east since April, following a mass uprising against the coup-appointed government, demanding broader independence from the capital.

There are growing concerns that the Ukrainian military is stepping up its operation and will try and storm pro-Russia cities,towns and villages.

The Kiev government says the fighting is provoked by Russia, which opposes its pro-Western policies, and accuses Russia of allowing volunteer fighters to cross into Ukraine to fight alongside the rebels.