Thousands cheer pro-Russia as rebels at rally in Donetsk vow to keep fighting Ukraine's army

(Brendan Hoffman, Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
(Brendan Hoffman, Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
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Updated: 7/06 9:45 am

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Pro-Russian insurgents driven out of their stronghold in eastern Ukraine are vowing to renew their fight against the government in Kiev.

Thousands of supporters have converged on the city of Donetsk, waving flags from Russia and the Donetsk People's Republic. The self-described governor of the Donetsk People's Republic spoke at the rally, promising "a real partisan war" throughout Donetsk and vowing to "drown" Ukrainian forces in blood.

Ukrainian troops forced the rebels out of their stronghold of Slovyansk yesterday, suggesting the government may finally be making gains in the months-long battle against the insurgency.

Rebel fighters from Slovyansk and other towns taken over by the Ukrainian army moved freely around central Donetsk today, but the mood was dire at a rebel checkpoint on the outskirts of the city. One masked fighter says: "We will fight to the end because we have nowhere left to retreat."

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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