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WASHINGTON — The Obama administration accused Russia on Wednesday of orchestrating a new military campaign in Ukraine, helping rebel forces expand their fight in the country's east and sending tanks, rocket launchers and armored vehicles toward communities elsewhere. "These incursions indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway in Donetsk and Luhansk," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, referring to two rebel regions in eastern Ukraine. She also voiced concern about overnight deliveries of materiel in southeast Ukraine, where separatists on Wednesday entered a key town linking Russia to the Crimean Peninsula it recently annexed.
The latest reports of Russian activity are the latest wrinkle in months of fighting in Ukraine that spiraled out of street protests against the former government, the ouster of a pro-Russian president and then rebellion in the most pro-Russian parts of the country. Ukraine and Western governments Moscow has played a direct role in escalating the conflict, though Moscow denies directly supporting separatists. Psaki said Russia was being dishonest about its actions, even to its own people. Russian forces, she said, are being sent 30 miles inside Ukraine, without them or their families knowing where they are going. She cited reports of burials in Russia for those who've died in Ukraine and wounded Russian soldiers being treated in a St. Petersburg hospital. She said such actions show Russia isn't acting transparently.
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