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Ukraine Issues Ultimatum to Pro-Russian Separatists

metrokom/Thinkstock(KIEV, Ukraine) -- The Ukrainian government is preparing to get tough with pro-Russian separatists occupying buildings in the eastern cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Ukrainian acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Wednesday that authorities would give the protesters 48 hours to clear out or else face "forceful" action.

Separatists holding the regional administration building in the city of Kharkiv were removed Tuesday by police and interior ministry special forces in what was described as a "bloodless" operation.

However, the pro-Russian demonstrators in Donetsk and Luhansk may not be as inclined to leave as some are pleading with Moscow for military assistance.

The U.S. and the West are watching the situation closely as demonstrations in Crimea last month led to the former Ukrainian region joining the Russian Federation. The Russians have also amassed a large force of soldiers near the border with eastern Ukraine in what some worry is a precursor to an invasion.

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