Ukrainian servicemen check a bus as they guard a checkpoint near the eastern Ukrainian town of Debaltseve, Donetsk Region August 6, 2014. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
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As the steadily advancing Ukrainian army sets its sights on reclaiming the largest rebel-held city in eastern Ukraine, tension is building over whether a large Russian army lying in wait just across the border will step in to protect the separatists.U.S. and NATO officials say there are now about 20,000 Russian troops massed just east of Ukraine.Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have been fighting the Kiev government since April. Humanitarian concerns are rising as Ukrainian forces come closer to encircling the city of Donetsk and continue their fight against the pro-Russia rebels in the large city of Luhansk.The order indicated that Russia has no inclination to back down over Ukraine, but could show it is trying to force a resolution to the conflict by non-military means.In the Kalininsky neighborhood only 5 kilometers (3 miles) east of Donetsk's central square, rebels and civilians were milling around outside after a night of what many said they believed were Ukrainian air strikes. In another rebel stronghold, the city of Horlivka about 35 kilometers (22 miles) north of Donetsk, the city council said in Wednesday's statement that 33 civilians have been killed and 129 wounded by shelling over the past few days.
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