After Talks Begin, New Fighting in East Ukraine

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) -

Government forces traded fire Monday with pro-Russian separatists who control an eastern Ukraine city, after the country’s new president announced daily negotiations were underway toward ending the conflict.

Loud booms and shelling were heard in downtown Slovyansk, where at least six buildings bore damage from shelling a day earlier. The city has been an epicenter of a nearly two-month standoff between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels, who have seized administrative buildings, police stations and border posts across the region.

The clashes come a day after President Petro Poroshenko announced that negotiations had started in Kiev between Ukraine, Russia, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Poroshenko said the meeting focused on strengthening the porous Ukraine-Russia border, and said Ukraine “must cease fire by the end of this week.” While he promised the negotiators would meet daily until the crisis was resolved, he did not say whether results had been achieved on Sunday.