Ukraine peace talks underway as fighting rages

The leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany are meeting in Minsk, Belarus, to discuss the conflict in eastern Ukraine, as deadly fighting in the region continues.

At least two people died in the rebel-held eastern city of Donetsk when a shell hit a bus station, according to rebel officials and emergency personnel.

Military officials also said rebel attacks near Debaltseve had killed at least 19 soldiers and wounded 78 others.

The surge in fighting in the 24 hours before the leaders sat down in Belarus’ capital could be intended to force Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to accept a deal recognizing the rebel advance.

Before Wednesday’s summit got underway, Poroshenko said Ukraine and the European Union would speak “with one voice.”

The EU is represented by German Chancellor Angekla Merkel, Franch President Francois Hollande, and Russia by President Vladimir Putin.

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