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BC-AP--Europe News Digest, AP

July 5, 2014

TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE AT 1115 GMT

UKRAINE

DONETSK, Ukraine — A rebel stronghold in east Ukraine has been taken by government troops, the country’s president and a spokesman for the rebels said Saturday. President Petro Poroshenko said in a statement that government troops took the city of Slovyansk, a city of about 100,000 that has been a center of the fighting between Kiev’s troops and the pro-Russian insurgents, after a night of fighting. By Yuras Karmanau and Balint Szlanko. SENT: 260 word, photos. UPCOMING: 400 words by 1300 GMT.

UKRAINE-PATRIARCH

KIEV, Ukraine — The head of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church has died at 78 after leading it for more than two decades. The church announced that Metropolitan Volodymyr, who has been credited with stabilizing the church during the tumultuous post-Soviet period, died Saturday “after a long illness.” SENT: 130 word. UPCOMING: 400 words, photos by 1200 GMT.

NATO-EXPANSION-ON-HOLD

BRUSSELS — Faced with a newly aggressive Russia, NATO has been mulling how to react, but it is ruling out one option: rapid expansion. Four would-be members, including the former Soviet republic of Georgia, have been informed that admission to NATO isn’t in the cards anytime soon. For some, that means dashed hopes. Macedonia’s foreign minister told The Associated Press in a statement it was a “step backward.” By John-Thor Dahlburg. SENT: 940 words, photos.

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