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story.lead_photo.caption Pro-Ukrainian self defense unit perform unarmed combat drill at their training ground outside Donetsk, Ukraine, on Thursday, April 24, 2014. The unit consists of volunteer residents of the Donetsk region to combat pro-Russian insurgents in the Donetsk' region. - Photo by AP/Efrem Lukatsky

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — Ukrainian forces moved in and killed at least two pro-Russia insurgents in the country's tumultuous east Thursday, an escalation that prompted new threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In an immediate reaction, Russia's defense minister said troops massed near Ukraine's border were starting new military exercises.

The statements by Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu sharpened anxiety over the prospect of a Russian military incursion into Ukraine. Russia's foreign minister warned a day earlier that any attack on Russian citizens or interests in eastern Ukraine would bring a strong response.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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