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Residents huddle in dark, chilly bomb shelter as fighting closes in on major Ukrainian city

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    Local resident Galina Dudkina, right, reads poems near an entrance to a bomb shelter, as she and her neighbour go out for fresh air, during a short cease fire, in the Petrovsky of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) (The Associated Press)

  • APTOPIX Ukraine-2.jpg

    Local residents sit near an entrance to a bomb shelter as they exit to get some fresh air during a short cease fire in Petrovsky district in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) (The Associated Press)

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    A woman sleeps in a bomb shelter as she hides from night shelling, in Petrovsky district in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) (The Associated Press)

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    A couple sleep in a bomb shelter as they hide from night shelling, in Petrovsky district in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, late Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) (The Associated Press)

For the people huddled in a dank and chilly bomb shelter Tuesday, the question of who was responsible was less important than the fact of their misery.

Two journalists from The Associated Press joined Donetsk residents who spent the night in the shelter as fighting between government forces and separatist insurgents closed in on the outskirts of the largest rebel-held city.

The rebels accuse Ukrainian forces of conducting a brutal bombing campaign against Donetsk; the government denies using artillery against residential neighborhoods. Either way, many Donetsk residents have been spending their nights underground in the hopes that they'll be safer.

The people wrapping themselves in blankets Tuesday said it mattered little who was responsible for the bombing. Some glumly read newspapers to pass the time, and one read a poem she wrote about her neighborhood's ordeal.

"Bombs and rockets; how much more can we take?" Galina Dudkina recited. "Empty streets, the cries of dogs, the meowing of cats that were left behind."

In the morning, they emerged to face shell-damaged buildings. Darya Sharapova wept as she recalled shelling on Sunday that killed her husband.

"Shrapnel punctured my husband's heart," she cried. "I don't know what to do; I just don't know how to live now."