July 11, 2014 4:30 am

Russia closes 3 major border crossings with Ukraine due to clashes

A motorcyclist drives by a pro-Russian militant standing guard at a checkpoint on the road between Lugansk and Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on July 9, 2014.

DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images

MOSCOW – Russian officials say they have closed three major border crossings in the wake of heavy fighting in Ukraine.

Russian news agencies on Friday quoted Vasily Malayev, spokesman for the Federal Security Service in the Rostov region, as saying that three crossings east of Donetsk were temporarily closed late Thursday night because of fighting on the other side.

Ukraine says it regained control of one crossing which had been controlled by rebels.

Pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine have declared independence and have been fighting Ukrainian government troops for more than three months. Government forces have been advancing in the recent days, pushing the insurgents closer to the Russian border.

Malayev told RIA Novosti on Friday customs staffers had been evacuated from the border crossing while border guards remained at their positions.

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