Russia closes 3 border crossings with Ukraine

A man rides a bike past a house damaged during fighting, outside the city of Slovyansk, Donetsk Region, eastern Ukraine Thursday, July 10, 2014. In the past two weeks, Ukrainian government troops have halved the amount of territory held by the rebels. Now they are vowing a blockade of Donetsk. In another sign of deteriorating morale among rebels, several dozen militia fighters in Donetsk abandoned their weapons and fatigues Thursday, telling their superiors they were returning home. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian officials say they have closed three major border crossings in the wake of heavy fighting in Ukraine.

Russian news agencies on Friday quoted Vasily Malayev, spokesman for the Federal Security Service in the Rostov region, as saying that three crossings east of Donetsk were temporarily closed late Thursday night because of fighting on the other side.

Ukraine says it regained control of one crossing which had been controlled by rebels.

Pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine have declared independence and have been fighting Ukrainian government troops for more than three months. Government forces have been advancing in the recent days, pushing the insurgents closer to the Russian border.

Malayev told RIA Novosti on Friday customs staffers had been evacuated from the border crossing while border guards remained at their positions.