WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says violence escalating in eastern Ukraine is making it obvious to the world that pro-Russia militants there are not peaceful protesters.
Obama voiced support for the Ukrainian government on the day of its first major offensive aimed at driving out the insurgents occupying government buildings across the east. He says Kiev is moving to "restore order."
Obama spoke at a news conference Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (AHN'-geh-lah MEHR'-kuhl). The president says they agreed there will be increasing costs for Russia if it doesn't de-escalate the crisis.
Ukraine is reporting many rebels were killed and wounded Friday and that two Ukrainian helicopter crew members are dead after being shot down.
The Kremlin says Ukraine's action has destroyed an agreement aimed at de-escalating the crisis.
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