Russian troops giving 'backbone' to Ukraine rebels: NATO commander

November 26, 2014 3:28 PM

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Russian troops giving 'backbone' to Ukraine rebels: NATO commander

KIEV (Reuters) - Russian forces are still operating in eastern Ukraine, providing the backbone of separatist rebels fighting the Kiev government, NATO's top military commander said on Wednesday after talks with Ukrainian leaders.

U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, visiting Kiev as head of U.S. forces in Europe, said Russia's "militarization" of the Crimea peninsula it annexed from Ukraine in March meant Moscow could exert influence over almost the entire Black Sea region.

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