- Associated Press - Thursday, August 21, 2014

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — A Ukrainian official says five troops were killed and 21 injured while fighting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine in the past 24 hours.

Ukrainian troops have made significant advances into rebel-held territory this week in a conflict that has already claimed more than 2,000 lives and forced over 340,000 people to flee their homes.

Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security Council, told reporters Thursday that government troops were still fighting separatists in and around Ilovaysk, a town near the rebel-held city of Donetsk, even though the town was under government control.

Fierce fighting also continued in Luhansk, a rebel stronghold 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Russian border, Lysenko said. The city has been under siege for 19 days, without basic amenities like running water or electricity.