Ukrainian government troops guard a checkpoint near the village of Dolina, 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, May 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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Ukraine launched what appeared to be its first major assault against pro-Russian forces who have seized government buildings in the country's east, with fighting breaking out Friday around a city that has become the focus of the insurgency.The action came a day after Putin said that Ukraine should withdraw its military from the eastern and southern regions of the country. Russia has massed tens of thousands of troops along the Ukrainian border as it warns Ukraine's military not to move against the insurgents in the east. The official spokesman for the military wing of the pro-Russian forces, who will give only his first name, Vladislav, said fighting had broken out at several points around the city. He said government armored vehicles were seen on roads leading into Slovyansk and claimed that Ukrainian troops had made incursions into the city itself. Putin said Thursday that Ukraine should withdraw its military from the eastern and southern regions of the country.
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