Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko delivers a speech as he visits Civil Aviation Plant 410 in Kiev, Ukraine, August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Mykola Lazarenko/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters
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Ukraine said Tuesday that the leaders of Germany and France had agreed to back "firm" steps against Russia should pro-Moscow rebels hold disputed elections in the ex-Soviet state's separatist east.The insurgents have refused to have their vote coincide with regional elections that will be held on October 25 in the rest of Ukraine.They have further vowed to bar any pro-Kiev politician from running for office -- two conditions that have been rejected outright by Poroshenko but never officially condemned by Russia.Poroshenko said in an address marking 24 years of post-Soviet independence on Monday that 9,000 Russian servicemen were among the 40,000 fighters of the separatist force.
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