Putin hails Ukraine separatists

August 30, 2014 7:02 AM

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The soldiers' plight, and their apparent dispatch into battle with little training and inadequate equipment, has sparked scorn across Ukraine in recent days. Volunteer commanders venting on Facebook have denounced what they say is the government's neglect, and protesters have gathered in the capital, Kiev, chanting, "Weapons for patriots."

The episode is significant because it exposes the weakness of Ukraine's armed forces - the result of years of neglect - as the country pivots from a civil conflict to face a far more formidable foe, its neighbor to the east.

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