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Ukraine launches 'anti-terrorist' operation to defeat pro-Russian separatists

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Three days after pro-Russian gunmen stormed the police headquarters and other buildings in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slovyansk, Kiev announced Tuesday it was beginning an "anti-terrorist" campaign to reclaim control of the area.

Ukrainian forces established a checkpoint north of the town and moved armored vehicles into the area, according to The New York Times and others, raising the possibility of a violent conflict. Yet it remains unclear what sort of action the Ukrainian forces will take, and when they will take it, to dislodge an armed opposition that has blocked roads and firmly lodged itself within the town.

Both Ukraine's acting government and the U.S. have accused Russia of instigating the conflict in an attempt to destabilize the country and annex more land beyond Crimea. In a phone call with Vladimir Putin on Monday, President Obama demanded that the Russian president quit fomenting unrest in the area; for his part, Putin denied Russia had anything to do with the infighting, saying Obama must have been given "inaccurate information."