Ukraine seeks to join NATO as defiant Putin compares Kiev to Nazi Germany. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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==REUTERS IS UNABLE TO VERIFY THE CONTENT OF THE AMATEUR VIDEO INCLUDED IN THIS STORY==
Amateur video, uploaded to a social media website, purports to show a Russian army tank traveling in a Ukrainian rebel convoy.
In Kiev, it's yet more evidence that Russian forces are now operating in Ukrainian territory.
But Russian President, Vladimir Putin is ignoring claims that Russia is invading Ukraine.
Instead, he's suggesting that it's Ukraine who's in the wrong.
He says Ukraine's efforts to eject pro-Russian rebels from cities they now occupy, remind him of a bitter past.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, Vladimir PUTIN, SAYING:
"It is very sad, it reminds me of the events of World War II when Nazi German occupiers, fascist German troops laid siege to our cities, for instance Leningrad. You are from St. Petersburg right? So they laid siege to our cities, to Leningrad, and were directly shelling cities, killing their residents."
In Ukraine's east, captured government soldiers are now being held as prisoners of war. And they are being put to work clearing roads under the watch of separatist rebels.
It's one more sign of a weakened Ukraine and another reason, says Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, to try to join NATO
(SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER, ARSENY YATSENIUK, SAYING:
"The government of Ukraine will bring before parliament a law to scrap the non-aligned status of the Ukrainian state and establish a course towards membership of NATO."
So far, the West had made clear it is not prepared to fight but is instead relying on economic sanctions agains Moscow...sanctions that have so far proved ineffective.
Were NATO to extend its defense pact to Ukraine, it would mark the biggest change in Europe's security landscape since the 1990s.
..although it's unclear what impact such a bid would have on the ground at this stage.
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