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Russian buildup seen as fighting rages in Ukraine

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia is resuming its military buildup along the Ukrainian border in an apparent attempt to intimidate its neighbor, NATO's chief said Thursday as Ukrainian government forces unleashed a major offensive against pro-Moscow insurgents.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, voicing strong concern about the Ukrainian military onslaught. Putin said he expects Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to immediately launch his plan to end the violence, the Kremlin said.

Putin and Poroshenko then discussed details of the peace plan in a phone call - their second conversation this week. Poroshenko's office said he emphasized the need for introducing effective border controls and quickly releasing hostages.

Russia has denied Ukrainian and Western allegations that it is fomenting the rebellion by sending troops and weapons into Ukraine.

Last month, in an apparent attempt to ease tensions in Ukraine, Putin pulled back many of the estimated 40,000 Russian troops massed along the border.

NATO: Russians Resume Buildup Near Ukraine

But on Thursday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Russia has sent a few thousand additional troops to the border, calling it "a very regrettable step backward."

"If they're deployed to seal the border and stop the flow of weapons and fighters, that would be a positive step. But that's not what we're seeing," Rasmussen said in London.

The Russian Defense Ministry refused to comment.

The allegations came as heavy fighting raged near Krasnyi Liman in the Donetsk region, which has been the epicenter of violence over the past two months.

Vladislav Seleznev, a spokesman for Ukrainian forces in the east, described the area as a strategic supply corridor for the rebels. He said in a statement on Facebook that four government troops were killed and 20 wounded in the fighting Thursday.

He said up to 200 rebels were killed and hundreds wounded. The claim could not be independently confirmed.

Rebel chief Igor Strelkov said in a statement on YouTube that his men were far outnumbered and outgunned and would probably be forced to retreat.

Strelkov, clad in combat fatigues, bitterly scolded the Kremlin for failing to help the rebellion and issued a desperate plea to send in troops.

"I hope that they have enough conscience left in Moscow to take some measures," he said.

There was no immediate response from the Kremlin, which has ignored previous pleas for help from the insurgents.

Putin has faced strong pressure from nationalists at home to send troops into Ukraine following the annexation of Crimea in March.

But Putin, eager to avoid a new round of crippling Western sanctions, has instead welcomed a peace plan put forward by Ukraine's new president.

Poroshenko on Wednesday promised to call a unilateral cease-fire to give the rebels a chance to lay down their weapons and leave the country. He is expected to outline details of the plan Friday.

The new Russian military deployments come at a delicate time.

Next week, the foreign ministers and leaders of the European Union are scheduled to meet and could consider tougher economic sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

"The international community would have to respond firmly if Russia were to intervene further," Rasmussen said. "That would imply deeper sanctions."

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vladswim June 19 2014 at 7:39 PM

Russians should have invaded Ukraine back in February as soon as Ukrainian president gave them permission to send military forces to Kiev to stabilize the fascist anti-Russian movement that received support from U.S and European leaders. Now Putin looks weak and intimidated by Western threats and sanctions. Its pathetic how Western media has been blaming the militia forces in Donetsk and Russia for creating chaos when its completely the other way around.

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5 replies
almazstmp June 19 2014 at 7:39 PM

Russia should have invaded long time ago and driven American backed fascists back to Maidan sewer camp. Just because U.S. decided to back fascists, doesn't mean everyone in Ukraine and Russia has to yield. I am happy to see that Russians and people in Eastern Ukraine have judgement between right and wrong. This is something that's lacking in the U.S. state department. No wonder everyone hate Americans.

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13 replies
ritteralvarez June 19 2014 at 7:41 PM

Hmmm, rtebels getting their butts handed to the by the ukraine military and they cry and beg for their Russian masters to send in the cavalry,,,,

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2 replies
Welcome Justin ritteralvarez June 19 2014 at 8:56 PM

Which pretty much proves Russia has not interceded in this crisis yet, doesn't it ?

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6 replies
runawaywithmedew ritteralvarez June 20 2014 at 8:44 AM


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laptop603 June 19 2014 at 7:55 PM

Not our problem. None of our business.

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2 replies
doketx laptop603 June 19 2014 at 9:36 PM

neither is Iraq. never was.

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esaustew laptop603 June 20 2014 at 12:52 AM

War manufacturing is about the last thing our country makes. When that stops, everything else crashes, so they never stop.

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1 reply
Brad esaustew June 20 2014 at 11:56 AM

You certainly may have a point.

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Welcome Justin June 19 2014 at 9:03 PM

The more we push on Russia, the more we are dividing the world into to sides of a conflict. Russia already has new gas deals with China. They are already friendly with both Syria and Iran. North Korea hates us, Pakistan hates us, Palestine, and many many more. It is not like Russia will ever be isolated or have a shortage of anti-American/western allies. We really do need to stop forcing ourselves into situations we could never hope to win in, and very likely will fail to survive.

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2 replies
J's Damsel Welcome Justin June 20 2014 at 9:22 AM

If only Ob wasn't such a bully, not to mention he's the most condescending person on this earth. He can't think that shooting off his mouth the way he does is going to win us friends.

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2 replies
Brad J's Damsel June 20 2014 at 11:55 AM

What it does is strengthen the dem. party voter base. According to the polls, Obama's approval rating is surprisingly high, especially on his domestic policies. Apparently, most if not all of the dem. voter base loves Obama's (and Holder's, among others) performances. A certain kind of street fighting glories in dishonesty whenever possible. Honesty and taking responsibility for your own actions are deeply hated, and considered signs of absolute weakness.

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PRDTR J's Damsel June 20 2014 at 12:20 PM

For ALL those that did not vote.. You are getting EXACTLY what you deserve

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Brad Welcome Justin June 20 2014 at 11:49 AM

Again, right on. Instead of building on the many common goals and interests, not only with Russia but with the other demonized countries as well, many in the U.S. seem hell-bent on giving many societies good reason to dislike and fear us. Fear builds hatred. Do we really need to keep that lethal dynamic going??

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cyberhawk1 June 19 2014 at 9:44 PM

well duh!!! the middle east is burning, iraq, iran, aftanistan, syria in a vortex of turmoil, iran is 2secs away from going nuclear, now more troops, or 'advisors' as that idiot you asswipes voted for said, since that pig muslim can't admit the truth of the matter which is that the TROOP SURGE that BUSH activated WORKED!!! and that obama in his infinite stupidity pulled out American forces WAY TOO SOON! hence the absolute catastrophe that's happening now, BUsh can't be blamed anymore since all was quiet until your pig messiah fraud showed up that is!!, if it's not global chaos that obama and his cronies have caused, it's domestic scandal after scandal, my God this is an absolute thug regime, irs, nsa, illegals crossing the border bringing disease and more criminal elements into the nation, millions of people outta work, 14% TRUE U6 unemployment numbers, healthcare in total ruins, people can't afford the premiums now, wait till next year! I mean lets face it, the black thug destroyed us!

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4 replies
cayce58 June 19 2014 at 8:10 PM

Let them have the whole Ukraine. It would be the same as us annexing Iraq.

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1 reply
worldcommenter cayce58 June 20 2014 at 1:26 PM

And what right does the US have in annexing Iraq? Maybe China should annex the USA, since they own most of their debt? Thinking that you can just go around the workld and annex what you want is what gets the multi-decade long wars or uprisings started.

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Meh... June 19 2014 at 7:43 PM

So he came in and took Crimea, and now he won't help the insurgents continue to take over the rest of the Ukraine? They thought for sure he'd keep going and take the rest, but he is suddenly not supporting the insurgents? He said he expects the Ukrainian president to launch his plan to end the violence yet he sends more troops to the border when the rebels are dwindling? It's like he's a teenager and his hormones are raging and he doesn't know what to do exactly. Sanctions are hurting him, so he doesn't want to just go all out and encourage more sanctions, but he's just not quite ready to let it go just yet. he's doing the hokey pokey......money... that's what it's all about.

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5 replies
billcdaly June 19 2014 at 7:41 PM

While we divert our attention to Iraq, Russia makes moves - not surprising.

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1 reply
rimit9 billcdaly June 20 2014 at 12:30 PM

has anybody noticed the number of really dangerous situations that are looming right now, and how many of them are a result of a inept President and his incompetent state department, Beginning with Hillary, Suzan Rice, and followed up with "swift boat" Kerry. Nobody in the entire world will negotiate with these morons, The world recognizes Hussein for what he is, world leaders do not respect, like him or fear him they know if they make a deal with him he will most likely rennig, or throw them under the bus. Obama and his running buddy George Sorros (sp) are moving us toward the "new world order" and the poor Democrats still stand with their mouth hung open when he spews his left wing propaganda. This guy would rather tell a lie than admit to the truth, poor thing doesn't know what the truth is anymore. He even believes his own press secretarys, We all know how much we can believe these folks.

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Jim June 20 2014 at 8:07 AM

Think about it. At the very time our President and the EU are considering ramping up industrial and petro sanctions on Russia, China signs a 30 year agreement with Russia to import Russian Natural Gas. The deal is worth untold $Billions to Russia, as China intends to increase its LNG use over ten fold by 2020. China also chipped in $20 Billion to defray the $70 Billion cost for the new wells and pipelines Russia must construct to deliver the Gas. That would qualify as a "shovel-ready" project that will employ thousands of Russian citizens. China will not honor Western sanctions against Russia.

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1 reply
Welcome Justin Jim June 20 2014 at 10:13 AM

$400B was what I heard the deal was worth. That will easily overcome any sanctions we impose, or any losses incurred if Russia shuts off the gas to Europe.

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