Ukrainian special forces take position in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on April 24, 2014. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV
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Ukrainian government troops moved against pro-Russia forces in the east of the country on Thursday and killed at least two of them in clashes at checkpoints manned by the insurgents, the government and insurgents said. Russian President Vladimir Putin decried what he described as a "punitive operation". The Ukrainian government and many in the West worry that Russia is seeking a pretext for a military intervention in eastern Ukraine.Russia has tens of thousands of troops arrayed along its side of Ukraine's eastern border.Stella Khorosheva, a spokeswoman for the Slovyansk insurgents, said she could confirm that two pro-Russia fighters had been killed at a checkpoint in the village of Khrestyshche, about 10 kilometers (six miles) north of the city.The situation was quiet inside the city of Slovyansk itself, but Khorosheva said the fighters were ready to repel any attack by government troops.
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