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Militants threaten violence if election doesn't go their way

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  1. We landed in Kiev today to news of the deadliest day of the crisis so far: a brazen attack on a Ukrainian military checkpoint in Donetsk that killed 15 troops, leaving a tangle of dead bodies and their armored vehicles in flames.

    A second attack killed one more soldier.
  2. A Ukrainian government official told me that witnesses reported seeing the attackers arrive in two minibuses, with clothing and weapons indicating they were likely pro-Russian separatists.
  3. Still, officials in Kiev placed the blame firmly on Moscow, calling for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

    The deadly violence shattered a fragile calm of recent days that had raised hopes of success in Sunday's crucial presidential election.

    International observers urged calm on all sides.

    "I don't care whether there will be a formal arrangement or whether simply both sides are wise enough to try to allow democracy to take its course this coming weekend," Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe negotiator Wolfgang Ischinger said.

    The violence in the East stood in sharp contrast to the peaceful calm in the capital of Kiev. 
  4. Its main square, the Maidan, is still crowded with barricades and tents from the demonstrations that brought down Ukraine's pro-Russian government. 
  5. On the Maidan in Kiev, beer on tap in front of protest barriers and the burned trade union building
    On the Maidan in Kiev, beer on tap in front of protest barriers and the burned trade union building
  6. A "street of heroes" bears photos of the dozens killed here. But the square is now mostly a backdrop for tourist selfies. Stands sell juice and snacks. And the beer gardens are open and crowded.  
  7. Tempering the calm, however, are fears the violence could spread beyond the East.

    We saw armed militants occupying some of the tents. When we asked what they will do if they don't accept the results of Sunday's election, they told us they would resort to violence.
  8. Protest tents on Maidan Square, the pink splotches on the burned out trade union building represent deadly sniper shots that killed dozens here
    Protest tents on Maidan Square, the pink splotches on the burned out trade union building represent deadly sniper shots that killed dozens here
  9. Many Ukrainians I met vowed to make one more stand in the voting booth.

    University student Katarina said, "Not only me. I think whole country hope that we will choose decent president who will lead our country forward."

    Election observer Jane Harman, a former U.S. congresswoman, told me the vote, however, is just a first step.

    "Sunday's a culmination of something but it's also the beginning of something else. Sunday is for the first time an opportunity for Ukrainians as a country to form a decent government that represents all of them," Harman said.
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