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Ukraine's economy, as felt on the street

Pro-Russia activist stands in front a so-called Donetsk Republic flag as they guard a barricade outside the regional police building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on April 15.

Ukraine launched a "special operation" on Tuesday to push pro-Russian militants out of an airbase they had occuppied in the eastern part of that country. In Kiev, the interim government declared a victory over rebels by saying the air base had been "liberated". But there was no sign of militants.

"You drive along normal roads, the traffic police keep an eye on everybody's speed, you get to town squares [and] you see people playing in playgrounds, buses running on time, so that's all on one side," said the BBC's James Reynolds in Donetsk. "But then when you see some of the occupations, you see men walking around with sticks, balaclavas, ski masks. You see protesters inside Ukrainian government buildings, taken over by Russian protesters, stocking up on food, on macaroni."

In Washington, the administration said it was not considering sending arms to Ukraine but that it was "seriously considering" additional sanctions. 

"Ukraine needs help from abroad, that's what the interim government knows, and indeed, where Ukraine should get that economic help from abroad is what precipitated this crisis back in November," Reynolds says. "Essentially the problem from Ukraine is that its got to choose help and it has to either choose, 'do you get the bulk of that help from Russia ... or do you go to the EU and the United States?'"

Russian stock market shares fell about three percent.

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