A Pro-Russian rebel holds the ammo in the village of Hrabske, eastern Ukraine August 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
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Ukrainian forces ceded a strategic eastern airport to pro-Russian insurgents Monday, as the government in Kiev accused Moscow of launching a "great war" that could claim tens of thousands of lives.The talks were attended by envoys from Ukraine and Russia, as well as the separatists.The rebels have launched a major counteroffensive in recent days that the Ukrainian government and its Western allies claim is backed by Russian forces. Putin accused Europe of ignoring the Ukrainian military's "direct targeting" of civilians in the conflict and said the offensive pushed by insurgents there was simply an attempt to expel Kiev's forces from residential areas.Kiev and the West have repeatedly accused Russia of direct involvement in Ukraine.NATO said last week that Russia had more than 1,000 troops deployed in Ukraine and 20,000 massed along the border. Kiev's security spokesman Andriy Lysenko has estimated the current number or Russian troops at 1,600 .
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