Rebels beg Russia for help as fighting rages

Ukraine soldiers.
Published: .
Updated: .
Intense fighting is raging in eastern Ukraine and an insurgent leader says rebels are losing the battle.
Both the government and the rebels said fighting was taking place Thursday near Krasnyi Liman, just east of the rebel stronghold of Slovyansk, a city in the Donetsk region that has been the epicenter of the insurgency in Ukraine.
Rebel chief Igor Strelkov said in a statement on YouTube that his men are far outnumbered and outgunned by Ukrainian forces and are likely to retreat. He said the Ukrainian military advance would completely cut rebel supply lines to Slovyansk and issued a desperate plea to the Kremlin for military assistance.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a bid to avoid further Western sanctions, has stonewalled the insurgents' pleas to join Russia and welcomed a peace plan proposed by the Ukrainian president.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)