Ukraine cuts off rebel east as fighting rumbles on

A woman collects items from the remnants of her house which was destroyed in clashes between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian militants on the outskirts of the eastern city of Donetsk, on November 11, 2014Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko issued a decree Saturday ordering the withdrawal of all state services from rebel-held eastern regions, a further acknowledgement that the Kremlin-backed statelets are effectively breaking away. The order from Poroshenko covers services such as schools, hospitals and emergency services, a senior security official speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP. It was announced just over a week after Kiev implemented passport controls around pro-Russian separatist areas in the east, as well as the end of state payments including pensions in the areas. Some 5.2 million people live in areas affected by conflict in eastern Ukraine, according to the United Nations, centred on major cities such as Donetsk and Lugansk where rebels have declared breakaway states.

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