Ukrainian forces ceded a strategic eastern airport to pro-Russian insurgents today (September 1, 2014), as the government of Kiev accused Moscow of launching a "great war" that could claim tens of thousands of lives, the AFP (Agence-France Presse) website reports.
Ukraine's Defense Minister Valeriy Geletey vowed today to "immediately mount defenses against Russia, which is trying not only to secure positions held by terrorists before but to advance on other territories of Ukraine."
"A great war arrived at our doorstep, the likes of which Europe has not seen since World War II," he wrote on Facebook, warning of "tens of thousands of deaths."
Kiev said its forces south of the rebel hub of Lugansk were forced to retreat from the local airfield and a nearby village after withstanding Russian artillery fire and battling a Russian tank battalion. Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said, "There is direct, overt aggression against Ukraine from the neighboring state."