World briefs: Clashes rage in Ukraine

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KIEV, Ukraine -- Fighting continued Saturday between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian insurgents, with both sides accusing each other of an attack on apartments in Donetsk, and Ukraine and Russia trading accusations of border violations.

The Interfax news service cited a separatist commander, Igor Girkin, as saying 30 civilians were killed when Ukrainian artillery shelled the suburb of Maryinka in the west of Donetsk, one of the eastern cities that's an insurgent stronghold. A Ukrainian military spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, said insurgents fired Grad rockets at the suburb.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry protested to Russia about "outrageous" violations of the frontier. These included shooting at a border post overnight from the Rostov region in Russia and the use of drones, it said Saturday.

Mr. Lysenko said Russian soldiers had been sighted 2 miles inside Ukraine in the Luhansk region and had set an ambush. Amid diplomatic efforts for a truce, Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet today in Rio de Janeiro, where they're attending soccer's World Cup final, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko is also reportedly attending the final, though Mr. Peskov said no separate meeting is currently planned.

Attacks leave 16 dead

KHAR, Pakistan -- Militants killed a Pakistan army captain and two soldiers in a cross-border attack early Saturday in a tribal region near Afghanistan, as an airstrike killed 13 suspected extremist fighters, authorities said.

A group of some 60 militants carried out the attack, entering from Afghanistan and firing on a vehicle carrying security forces in the Bajur tribal region, said Shah Nasim, a senior government administrator there. He initially said the militants had attacked an army post.

Another soldier and a civilian cook were injured in the attack, Nasim said, which ended with the assailants escaping to Afghanistan's Kunar province, some of them injured from the exchange of fire.

Finance chief quitting

BELGRADE, Serbia -- Serbia's Finance Minister Lazar Krstic stepped down Saturday after he and Premier Aleksandar Vucic failed to agree on the depth of cuts in wages, pensions and public-sector jobs.

Mr. Krstic is stepping down 10 months after taking office because "we have different views about the pace of reforms that Serbia needs to take," he told reporters.

"I have asked the prime minister to accept a difficult program, unthinkable in our circumstances," Mr. Krstic said at a joint news conference with Mr. Vucic. "Those measures would include a minimum 20 percent cut in pensions, 15 percent cut in public wages, 160,000 layoffs in the public sector over two years and a 30 percent increase in electricity prices after floods."

U.S. warns Iran on nukes

VIENNA -- A senior Obama administration official said Saturday that Iran continues to take "inadequate and unworkable" positions on the future of its nuclear program, and warned that the country would have to live with sharp limits on its ability to produce nuclear fuel for at least a decade, and perhaps longer.

The comments, made to reporters in the Austrian capital just hours before Secretary of State John Kerry was scheduled to arrive with European foreign ministers, strongly suggested that a comprehensive deal would not be closed by a July 20 deadline.


-- Compiled from news services


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