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The defenders of Mariupol await their fate and the 'Russians'

Voluntary military officers take an oath during a pro-Ukrainian rally in Mariupol on September 4, 2014Mariupol (Ukraine) (AFP) – “Will the Russians come today or tomorrow?” That is what the men defending the southeastern port of Mariupol were thinking as world leaders sat down Thursday to hammer out a ceasefire to end months of bloody conflict in Ukraine. “Everyone can see what Putin says and what he does,” said Dmytro Linkov, a commander in the pro-Kiev volunteer force, the Azov Battalion, on the barricades on the edge of the strategic city. Earlier in the afternoon his men were attacked on the eastern approaches to Mariupol by what he claimed were regular Russian troops, wounding at least one of them. Now, even as Kiev prepares for talks with rebels on Friday to end the conflict that has killed some 2,600 people, there are fears that pro-Moscow rebels reinforced by what the West claims are regular Russian military units, could be preparing for a possible attack.

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