A Pro-Russian fighter stands guard in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, June 21, 2014, with a statue of Soviet Union founder Vladimir Lenin in the background. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
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Ukraine's military waged new battles Saturday with pro-Moscow rebels who rejected Kiev's unilateral cease-fire, while the government raised alarm over the Kremlin's decision to put troops across Russia on combat alert.The resurgence of violence in the 11-week insurgency threatening to splinter the ex-Soviet nation came as Washington slapped sanctions on top separatist leaders and warned the Kremlin against sending forces into Ukraine.It added that Ukrainian troops had to return fire when the same militia unit mounted a second attack near a different Russian border crossing a few minutes later.A spokesman for Ukraine's "anti-terrorist operation" confirmed the fighting around Slavyansk while the defence ministry said one of its anti-aircraft bases was attacked by "50 men in camouflage". But the separatist leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic told Russia's RIA Novosti state news agency that Slavyansk had absorbed a heavy air and artillery assault from Ukrainian troops.The Russian defence ministry said military exercises in the expansive region whose western-most edge lies 400 kilometers east of Ukraine would involve 65,000 soldiers along with 60 helicopters and 180 jets.
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