A pro-Russian armed man waves to participants of an International Worker's Day, or Labour Day, parade in the town of Slaviansk, east Ukraine May 1, 2014. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY)
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Pro-Russia forces shot down two Ukrainian helicopters Friday as Ukraine launched its first major offensive against an insurgency that has seized government buildings in the east.A day earlier Putin warned Ukraine not to move against the insurgents and said it should withdraw its military from eastern and southern regions.Ukraine has accused Russia of backing the insurgents who have seized government buildings in 10 eastern cities and fears that Moscow is seeking a pretext to invade; Russia has already stationed tens of thousands of troops in areas near the Ukrainian border.Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, admitted earlier this week that the central government had lost control of the east, and also said some government troops and police there were "either helping or cooperating with terrorist organizations". He said Ukraine should focus on preventing the instability from spreading to other parts of the country. Russia also cited insurgents in Ukraine as saying that some of the government attackers spoke English.Hours after Putin demanded Thursday that Ukraine pull back its military from the east and south, Turchynov ordered that Ukraine's military draft be renewed, citing "threats of encroachment on the nation's territorial integrity" and interference by Russia in its internal affairs.Ukraine plans to hold a new presidential election on May 25 .
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