Ukrainian soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint on a road near the city of Dnepropetrovsk August 25, 2014. (AFP Photo/Dimitar Dilkoff)
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Ukraine accused Russia Monday of sending soldiers across the border to open a new front in the separatist war that has devastated the east of the country and provoked the gravest East-West crisis since the fall of Communism.The charge, dismissed by Moscow, dealt a blow to already slim hopes of progress at talks Tuesday towards ending the conflict between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian troops, in which more than 2,000 people have been killed.The Ukrainian military said a group of Russian forces, in the guise of separatist rebels, had crossed into south-east Ukraine with 10 tanks and two armored infantry vehicles. Donbass is the name given to the industrialized and mainly Russian-speaking east of Ukraine, where two regions -- Donetsk and Luhansk -- have declared independence from Ukraine in an attempt to join Russia.With Russia blaming the crisis on Ukraine's military offensive and Ukraine refusing to halt its advance until Russia curbs the rebels, the chances of any progress were already looking bleak.Russia responded by annexing Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, and Putin spoke of its right to defend the interests of Russian-speakers in Ukraine.
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