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(CNN) – Ukraine faces threats from within and without. Outside, Russia President Vladimir Putin is amassing up to 40,000 Russian troops near the border. Inside, pro-Russia protesters are tearing at the seams of Ukraine's fledgling government.
Ukraine's security service claims pro-Russia demonstrators are holding 60 people hostage and have wired explosives inside a Ukrainian government building they seized in Luhansk.
The protesters, however, deny all of that, according to Reuters.
Who to believe?
Luhansk is just one of three cities gripped by pro-Russia uprisings in eastern Ukraine. Though Ukrainian special police did retake one of the government buildings that protesters seized in Kharkiv, arresting 70 people.
Ukrainian police are cracking down with force against these demonstrators. But the Russian foreign ministry is warning Ukraine's government against harming ethnic Russians inside Ukraine's own borders.
"We call immediately for the halt of any military preparations, which risk the outbreak of civil war," Russia's ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement.
And yet, Moscow denies any role in sowing the dissent inside Ukraine.
Secretary of State John Kerry, however, wasn't buying that when he testified Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"It is clear that Russian special forces and agents have been the catalyst behind the chaos of the last 24 hours. Some have even been arrested and exposed. And equally as clear must be the reality that the United States and our allies will not hesitate to use 21st century tools to hold Russia accountable for 19th century behavior," Kerry said.
A U.S. warship is expected to make a show of presence, entering the Black Sea no later than Thursday, according to two U.S. military officials. The U.S. is also deploying F-16 fighter jets to Romania for exercises, and sending 175 more marines to Romania, to bolster the current force of 265. There are also U.S. fighter jets in both Latvia and Lithuania.
Kerry also threatened to sanction Russia again until it hurts.
Will Russia listen? After Putin already took Crimea from Ukraine and put it in his pocket as easily as a certain super bowl ring?
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on the latest from Donetsk, Ukraine.
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The Lead with Jake Tapper draws not only on Tapper’s deep knowledge of politics and national issues, but also seeks to examine and advance stories across a wide range of topics that demonstrate his own curiosities and interests. Compelling headlines come from around the country and the globe, from politics to money, sports to popular culture, based on news drivers of the day.
The Lead with Jake Tapper airs weekdays at 4 p.m. ET.
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