Losses have mounted recently and the fierce fighting adds more pressure on Kiev to seek a compromise at peace talks next week in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, where Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian leader Vladimir Putin are scheduled to meet face-to-face for the first time in two months.
Ukraine suffered heavy losses Thursday in a counterattack along a key supply route to the separatist capital of Donetsk, signaling that despite steady advances by government forces pro-Russian rebel fighters still pose a significant threat.
Colonel Lysenko said Ukrainian officials working on the Russian side of the border were waiting for final confirmation from the International Committee of the Red Cross that it had received security guarantees from the rebels and was ready to deliver the cargo.
Mr Sheremeta's departed with a broadside at the government's attempts to overhaul its moribund economy, which is forecast to contract by more than 6 per cent this year. "We need to change this whole paradigm: The system, the people, the processes," Mr Sheremeta said Thursday.
Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, said the government had repulsed the insurgent counterattacks and that reinforcements had been sent to help bolster the town's defenses.
Lysenko claimed troops had taken control of "a significant part" of the city," without specifying what additional gains had been made.
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