Also on Monday, U.S. and European leaders announced that they will impose tougher sanctions against Russia for their alleged support of the rebels.

Reporting from eastern Ukraine, CNN reporter Nick Paton Walsh said the fighting has grown more severe in recent days with “increased heavy weaponry being used [and] increased wideness of that use,” he said that there is “a real sense that a war has started.” He describes entire towns that have been “devastated.”

“The Ukrainian military is pushing as hard as they can to retake the east,” Paton Walsh added.

Independent journalist Christopher Allen is posting images and updates from the situation on the ground in Donetsk.

Below is a video of the CNN report:

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