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Putin vows to respect Ukraine vote

SAINT PETERSBURG: Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged Friday to respect the outcome of Ukraine’s presidential election but warned that the country had descended into all-out civil war after a bloody upsurge in separatist violence. Seven people were killed in fighting between rebels and defence forces outside the eastern industrial hub of Donetsk on Friday, a day after the deaths of 18 soldiers in the heaviest loss for the Ukraine military since the conflict began. Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov called on voters to turn out in force Sunday to prevent Ukraine “being turned into a part of a post-Soviet empire” by a weeks-long insurgency that Kiev and the West say is being orchestrated by Russia. The authorities are mobilising tens of thousands of police and volunteers to try to ensure security on polling day, although the pro-Russian separatists are threatening to disrupt the vote in areas under their control in the industrial east.

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Aaj Kal