Ukraine government forces continue to pound pro-Russian positions in Donetsk and Luhansk.
Kyiv now controls the town of Novosvitlivka, which lies on the road to Luhansk, the route the Russian aid convoy is expected to take if it crosses the rebel-held border into Ukraine.
In a further blow to separatists Donetsk rebel leader Igor Girkin has resigned, he joins Aleksandr Borodai and Valeriy Bolotov, all high ranking pro-Russians, to have quit in the past seven days.
Fighting in the Donetsk region has claimed the lives of 74 people in the last 72-hours, with residents spending days hiding in cellars to avoid the violence.
In the capital Kyiv the parliament approved a law to impose sanctions on Russian companies and individuals supporting separatist actions in the east of Ukraine.
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk addressed the house: “If there is a threat to Ukraine’s national security, the head of state will have the right to impose certain sanctions of the same kind that have been imposed by our western partners.”
As the pressure on the pro-Russians intensifies Kyiv is
hopeful that government forces will have retaken control of Donetsk by August 24, Ukraine’s Independence Day.