The fighting in eastern Ukraine has now lasted for nearly a year, and pro_Russian separatists have made strategic territorial gains as they seek to break ties with Ukraine. Europe and the United States, alarmed by Russia's large-scale use of force across a border (the first of its kind since the Cold War), seek to bring a peace settlement to this volatile region. Russian president Putin has continued to eny Russian involvement in the fighting, however. President Poroshenko of Ukraine estimated earlier this year that Russia has 9,000 troops in eastern Ukraine, in addition to supplying the separatists with heavy weaponry. The separatists' success in holding Donetsk and Luhansk, and their extension to other areas in the region, has prompted Ukraine to seek international support to sustain the fight for its territorial integrity.
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