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Ukraine Shelling Renews Invasion Fears as Russia Expels U.S. Diplomat

Western leaders however say Russia remains capable of launching an invasion at any time.
An interior view shows a kindergarten, which according to Ukraine's military officials was damaged by shelling, in Stanytsia Luhanska, in the Luhansk region, Ukraine, February 17, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
An interior view shows a kindergarten, which according to Ukraine’s military officials was damaged by shelling, in Stanytsia Luhanska, in the Luhansk region, Ukraine, February 17, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine accused government forces of shelling a village on Friday while Russian media reported more infantry and tank units were returning to their bases in contrast to Western fears of an imminent Russian invasion.

For a second consecutive day, pro-Russian separatists who have been at war with Ukraine for years said they had come under mortar and artillery fire from Ukrainian forces, according to the Interfax news agency.

Kyiv and the rebels blamed each other for escalating tension after artillery and mortar attacks on Thursday, prompting fears that Russia, which has massed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders, could get involved.

The Kremlin said on Thursday it was “deeply concerned” with the flare-up in Ukraine and was watching the situation closely. The United States said Russia was looking for a pretext for war.

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