April 24 - U.S. and Poland launch military exercises as a war of words heightens between Washington and Moscow over Ukraine. Paul Chapman reports.
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The first contingent of U.S. troops has arrived in Poland for joint military drills.
The paratroops from the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade will be joined by another 450 over the coming days.
In nearby Ukraine pro-Russian separatists holding the city of Slaviansk said they were bracing for an attack by Ukrainian forces.
On Thursday there were signs of Ukrainian troops digging in to new positions a few kilometres away.
In a further twist Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a tv interview that the U.S. was behind events in Ukraine.
(SOUNDBITE)(English) RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SERGEI LAVROV SAYING:
"When you get daily phone calls from John Kerry telling you 'you must, you must, you must' and when you understand how many thousand kilometres the United States is away from Ukraine, and then you would see how agitated they are about seeing their sponsored people not really delivering on the things which are obvious, then you cannot avoid the impression that they are running the show very much, very much."
The U.S. State Department's response was swift and scathing.
(SOUNDBITE)(English) JEN PSAKI, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN, SAYING:
"I think many of the claims he made in his interview are ludicrous and they are not based in face on what's happening on the ground. The actions of the Ukrainian government are a legitimate response by authorities to react to the illegal armed seizure of buildings in a few towns in eastern Ukraine."
Pro-Russian separatists holding Ukraine towns and public buildings were expected to disarm and leave under an international deal to calm tensions.
Ukraine's government says it's launching what it called a renewed anti-terrorist operation if the separatists don't comply.
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