Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko hails soldiers for forcing pro-Russian rebels out of several towns and cities, saying they're fighting ''foreign mercenaries''. Vanessa Johnston reports.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko checks out military weaponry north of Kiev Saturday. As fighting rages around the rebel strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk, the Ukrainian leader praises soldiers for forcing pro-Russian rebels out of several towns and cities. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINE'S PRESIDENT, PETRO POROSHENKO, SAYING: "Today we can see that it is a real fight, a real struggle for territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine. Here is the place where our independence is being forged." Porshenko says his country is not fighting a civil war in its east. Rather it's fighting "foreign mercenaries." (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINE'S PRESIDENT, PETRO POROSHENKO, SAYING: "It is not an internal conflict, it is Ukraine defending its territory from foreign mercenaries, bandits and terrorists. Today we showed that Ukraine possesses weaponry to defend the country." Kiev has accused Moscow of sending rebel fighters and weapons across its porous border with Ukraine. Russia denies the charge. But some battalions have openly said they were made up of volunteers from various countries -- including Russia.