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Pro-Russians refuse to back down

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DONETSK, Ukraine — A pro-Russia insurgency in eastern Ukraine decided today to go ahead with Sunday’s referendum on autonomy despite a call from Russian President Vladimir Putin to delay it.

While Putin’s call on Wednesday to postpone the vote was seen as part of an effort to step back from confrontation with the West, he fueled tensions again today by overseeing military exercises that Russian news agencies said simulated a massive retaliatory nuclear strike in response to an enemy attack.

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