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Ukraine says Russian forces are in major rebel cities

Tuesday - 9/2/2014, 10:40am  ET

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- A Ukrainian official says Russian military forces have been spotted in both of the major cities held by rebels in eastern Ukraine.

And that has prompted Ukraine to declare that it now has to fight the Russian army -- not just the pro-Russian separatists -- in a war that Ukraine's defense minister says could cost "tens of thousands" of lives.

A spokesman for Ukraine's National Security Council says Russian troops have been seen in the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, and in other locations throughout the east. The claim couldn't be independently confirmed.

Meanwhile, in Moscow, a Kremlin aide is sharply criticizing the president of the EU Commission for quoting Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying Moscow could take over Kiev in two weeks if it wished. The Kremlin says it was a breach of confidentiality, and that Putin was "taken out of context."

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APPHOTO MIN101: A Pro-Russian rebel prepares arms for the the assault on the positions of Ukrainian army in Donetsk airport, eastern Ukraine, Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday called on Ukraine to immediately start talks on a political solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine. Hours later, Ukraine said a border guard vessel operating in the Azov Sea was attacked by land-based forces. (AP Photo/Mstislav Chernov) (31 Aug 2014)

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