Signs emerge of major Ukraine rebel offensive looming, rebels rule out new cease-fire



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DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — NATO says it's seeing signs today that rebels in eastern Ukraine may be preparing for a major offensive as they fight to break away from the rest of the country.

NATO says heavy weapons have been moving into the region from Russia as they have prior to previous rebel pushes.

A rebel leader says the separatists will not join further peace talks and plan to continue fighting for territory. Alexander Zakharchenko says the rebels are advancing in five directions as they try to push back Ukrainian government forces to the limits of the eastern Donetsk region.

Any rebel advances would further undermine a tentative peace deal forged this week in Berlin at a meeting of foreign ministers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany. Those negotiations concluded with an agreement to uphold a demarcation line defined in September.

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APPHOTO XAZ101: Passengers killed when a trolley bus was damaged by a mortar shell are seen inside a bus in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. A new peace initiative for Ukraine began taking shape as mortar shells rained down Thursday on the center of the main rebel-held city in the east, killing at least 13 people at a bus stop. The civilian death toll has been mounting steadily in the conflict between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists that the United Nations says has killed more than 4,700 people since April. (AP Photo/Igor Ivanov) (22 Jan 2015)

<<APPHOTO XAZ101 (01/22/15)££

APPHOTO XAZ102: Passengers killed when a trolley bus was damaged by a mortar shell are seen in interior of the bus and outside, left, in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. A new peace initiative for Ukraine began taking shape as mortar shells rained down Thursday on the center of the main rebel-held city in the east, killing at least 13 people at a bus stop. The civilian death toll has been mounting steadily in the conflict between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists that the United Nations says has killed more than 4,700 people since April. (AP Photo/Igor Ivanov) (22 Jan 2015)

<<APPHOTO XAZ102 (01/22/15)££

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