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Since 2014, Russian-backed rebels have been fighting the Ukrainian army. A majority of Donetsk residents are pro-Russian and believe that the region's resources are vital to Ukraine's economy.
Many residents on the Ukrainian-held side of the frontline blame Moscow for starting for the war. More than 9,800 people have been killed in the fighting. The rebel force numbers 40,000, it includes an estimated 5,000 Russian soldiers.
Moscow wants Kiev to recognise rebel-held territory as an autonomous region of Ukraine. Kiev wants Moscow to withdraw its troops and return control of its borders with the rebel region.
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