A child looks on as Cossack men who support Russian forces gather in Simferopol's Lenin Square, on March 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE
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Ukrainian authorities accused Russia on Saturday of provoking a fatal gunfight in the eastern city of Kharkiv overnight, fearing Moscow could use violence against ethnic Russians to justify invasion.Moscow, whose troops last week seized Ukraine's Crimea peninsula on the grounds that its ethnic Russian majority feared the new authorities in Kiev, has said it is prepared to step in to protect its compatriots elsewhere in Ukraine.A day after a fatal clash between rival demonstrators in Donetsk, another mainly Russian-speaking eastern city, Avakov and Kharkiv's governor accused Russian activists of fomenting violence and urged people not to be goaded into fighting back.The Russian foreign ministry responded to the death of a demonstrator in Donetsk on Thursday evening by warning that Moscow had a right to protect its compatriots in Ukraine -- though the dead man in that city was identified by officials as an activist of a right-wing Ukrainian nationalist party.
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