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Rebels ask Russia for military help in eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ria Novosti
Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin said rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine asked Russia for military assistance to help fend off Ukrainian “aggression.”

The announcement on Wednesday immediately fueled fears that Moscow was offering up a pretext for war, just as the West had warned about.

In an emotional late-night address to his nation, the Ukrainian president rejected Moscow’s claims that his country poses a threat to Russia and lamented that a Russian invasion would cost tens of thousands of lives.

Speaking hours after he declared a nationwide state of emergency, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said if an attack threatens lives and freedom, the country will fight back.

He said he tried to call Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the Kremlin remained silent.

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