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Ukraine to push on with army offensive, row grows over Russian fighters reports

(Reuters) – Ukraine’s government vowed on Friday to press ahead with a military offensive against separatists, despite a deadly attack on an army helicopter, amid increasing reports that volunteer fighters from Russia were involved in rebellions in the east.

President-elect Petro Poroshenko, who scored an overwhelming first-round victory in a poll on May 25, swore to punish those responsible for the shooting down on Thursday of the helicopter near Slaviansk, which killed 14 servicemen including a general.

Acting Defence Minister Mykhilo Koval, repeating charges that Russia was carrying out “special operations” in the east of Ukraine, said on Friday that Ukrainian forces would continue with military operations in border areas “until these regions begin to live normally, until there is peace”.

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