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NATO chief urges Russia pull-back as shelling pounds Ukraine rebel city

Smoke billows from a Ukranian fighter jet crash site near the village of Zhdanivka, some 40 kilometers to the northeast of the rebel stronghold Donetsk on August 7, 2014NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged Russia to “step back from the brink” during a visit to Kiev on Thursday and vowed support for Ukraine as fears mounted that Moscow was preparing to send troops into the conflict-torn east of the country. His visit came as the centre of the main rebel bastion Donetsk was hit by sustained bombardment for the first time in four months of fighting, and a dozen civilians were killed around the region. Russia meanwhile struck back at punishing Western sanctions by announcing a “full embargo” on foods from the United States and the European Union and threatening to ban flights from crossing its air space. Rasmussen’s visit to Kiev came just a day after NATO accused Moscow of massing some 20,000 troops on the border with its former Soviet neighbour.

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