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Slavyansk, Ukraine (CNN) – Violence escalated Friday in southern Ukraine, with pro-Russian separatists reportedly shooting down two Ukrainian helicopters amid deadly clashes.
The deadly fighting came the same day that U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged to seek harsher sanctions against Russia if Ukraine doesn't stabilize in time for elections this month.
More than a dozen people were killed and dozens more were wounded in street fighting that pitted pro-Russian separatists against Ukrainian forces and those who support the Kiev government.