Mar 27, 10:59 AM EDT

Ukraine rebels hand over bodies of 22 govt soldiers

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DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) -- Separatists in eastern Ukraine have handed over the bodies of 22 government soldiers killed during the fierce, months-long battle over the airport near the rebel stronghold of Donetsk.

The bodies were given Friday to a Ukrainian volunteer organization working to recover soldiers killed in a conflict that has claimed more than 6,000 lives. Workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross oversaw the handover.

Volunteers gave the Russia-backed rebels two bodies, but it was not immediately clear whether they had been fighters or civilians.

An intense battle for the Dontesk airport terminal ended in January with rebel forces capturing the shattered building that was once a gleaming showcase for the Euro 2012 soccer championship.

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