Pro-Russian rebels ride their truck as they celebrate Paratroopers' Day in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. (AP/Dmitry Lovetsky)
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Government forces tightened the noose around the main stronghold of pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine Saturday and, with diplomacy stalled, Moscow and the West stepped up their war of words.The United States and the European Union imposed new sanctions on Moscow this week after accusing Putin of failing to use his influence with the separatists to end the fighting in the mainly Russian-speaking east.Putin denies arming the rebels and accuses the West of pursuing a policy of containment against Moscow, using a Cold War-era phrase to suggest Washington wants to reduce Russia's global influence.The rebellion in east Ukraine began in mid-April, two months after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted following a shift in policy away from the EU towards Moscow, and one month after Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine.
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