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Russia extends troop drills near Ukraine as violence spikes

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Russia extended military drills near Ukraine’s northern borders Sunday amid increased fears that two days of sustained shelling along the contact line between soldiers and Russa-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine could spark an invasion.

The exercises, originally set to end Sunday, brought a sizable contingent of Russian forces to neighboring Belarus, which borders Ukraine to the north. The presence of the Russian troops raised concern that they could be used to sweep down on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

The announcement came from the defense minister of Belarus, who said the two countries would “continue testing the response forces.”

Western leaders warned that Russia was poised to attack its neighbor, which is confronted on three sides by…

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