Sun | Oct 22, 2017

Air strike hits eastern rebel city

Published:Thursday | August 7, 2014 | 12:00 AM

DONETSK (AP):Air strikes and artillery fire between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian troops in the eastern city of Donetsk have brought the violence closer than ever to the city centre, as Kiev's forces move in on the rebel stronghold.

With Ukrainian troops encircling Donetsk, Western leaders have accused Russia of building up forces along the border in what some fear may preface an intervention. Yesterday, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he believed that the "the threat of a direct intervention [by Russia] is definitely greater than it was a few days ago, or two weeks ago".

Russia has repeatedly denied having such intentions and rejected Ukrainian and Western claims of a military build-up on the border.

President Vladimir Putin has resisted mounting pressure from Russian nationalists to send the army in to back the mutiny in eastern Ukraine. Even though the United States and NATO would be unlikely to respond militarily, the West would be certain to impose massive sanctions that would put the shaky Russian economy on its knees and quickly erode Putin's power.