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Preparing to fight in Ukraine

Monday, June 02, 2014 - 01:19

June 2 - Pro-Ukrainian militia train with the Ukrainian National Guard for deployment in the country's east, as separatist East Battalion prepares to lead fight in the east. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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Training day outside Kiev. About 350 Donbass Battalion recruits are engaged in exercises with Ukraine's National Guard in preparation for deployment to the east. Ukraine stepped up operations in the east of the country after the election of Petro Poroshenko as president, following weeks of restraint by Kiev. Most of the recruits have never had military training. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) COMMANDER OF DONBASS BATTALION, SEMEN SEMENCHENKO, SAYING: "Today we're carrying out weapons training. Those who used to be civilians and have never served in the army are being taught how to use heavy weapons, grenade launchers, high-calibre machine guns, automatic weapons, we're carrying out physical training." They are not the only one preparing for a fight. In Ukaine's Russian speaking east, the so called East Battalion appears to be leading the fight to break away from Kiev. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) BATTALION VOSTOK LEADER, ALEXANDER KHODAKOVSKY, SAYING: "We don't accept the term 'terrorist' for ourselves, but I think we can agree to being accused of being separatists. That's how it is. Why should we hide the obvious?" Ukraine's eastern region has been riven with a separatist armed rebellion for the past two months. Kiev says fighters from Russia are fighting alongside rebels.

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Preparing to fight in Ukraine

Monday, June 02, 2014 - 01:19