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US says Russia boosting rebel forces, equipment in Ukraine

A pro-Russian rebel stands on a damaged bridge across the Siversky Donets river near the village of Stanytsia Luhanska, Ukraine, on March 23, 2015The United States accused Russia Wednesday of building up its forces along the border with Ukraine, boosting air defense systems in the country and training Ukrainian rebels in the east. “Combined Russian-separatist forces continue to violate the terms of the ‘Minsk 2’ agreement signed in mid-February,” acting State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement. Harf said combined Russian and separatist forces had “a sizable number of artillery pieces and multiple rocket launchers within areas” banned under the ceasefire deal, and were continuing to ship heavy weapons into Ukraine. The Russian military had also “deployed additional air defense systems into eastern Ukraine and moved several of these nearer the front lines.

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