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Published: Thursday July 31, 2014 MYT 6:00:02 PM
Updated: Thursday July 31, 2014 MYT 6:01:57 PM

Ukraine says suspends attacks to help experts reach crash site but rebels attack

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine said on Thursday it had suspended offensive operations in its military campaign in east Ukraine to help international experts reach the downed Malaysian airliner's crash site but separatists were continuing to attack its positions.

Kiev said on the Facebook website of what it calls its "anti-terrorist operation" (ATO) against pro-Russian rebels in the east that it was heeding calls by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to stop fighting near the plane crash site.

"On July 31, troops involved in the active ATO phase are not conducting military operations apart from protecting their own positions from attack," it said. "But mercenary fighters of the Russian terrorists are not respecting any international agreements and requests."

The rebels have accused Kiev of blocking access to the Malaysian airliner crash site by fighting in the area.

(Reporting by Timothy Heritage)

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