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Ukraine Celebrates Independence Day, Pledges $3 Billion For Army

Ukraine is marking its independence day with a military parade in Kiev intended to send a symbolic message to Russia, which annexed Crimea earlier this year and has actively supported separatist militias.

As part of the parade in the Ukrainian capital, which marks the country's 23rd anniversary since breaking away from Moscow after the collapse of the Soviet Union, President Petro Poroshenko announced nearly $3 billion in new spending to re-equip the arming after what he called an "exhausting" campaign against the rebels.

According to the BBC:

"He said the investment would be spread out over two years, from 2015-2017.

"'The events of the last months have for us turned into a real war, albeit an undeclared one,' Mr Poroshenko said in a televised speech on Sunday.

" 'Over the last six months, a new Ukrainian army has been born in heavy and exhausting fighting.' "

Meanwhile, the pro-Russia separatists reportedly marched dozens of captured Ukrainian soldiers through their stronghold in the eastern city of Donetsk. The BBC says crowds in Donetsk reportedly chanted "fascists" at the prisoners.

Reuters notes: "The rival events showed the divide that will need to be bridged if a compromise on Ukraine is to be reached on Tuesday when Russian President Vladimir Putin meets his Ukrainian counterpart for the first time in months."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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