"The rebels of the 12th Company appear to be Ukrainians but, like many in the region, have deep ties to and affinity for Russia. They are veterans of the Soviet, Ukrainian or Russian Armies, and some have families on the other side of the border. Theirs is a tangled mix of identities and loyalties."
LOVYANSK, Ukraine — The rebel leader spread a topographic map in front of a closed grocery store here as a Ukrainian military helicopter flew past a nearby hill. Ukrainian troops had just seized positions along a river, about a mile and a half away. The commander thought they might advance.
He issued orders with the authority of a man who had seen many battles. "Go down to the bridge and set up the snipers," the leader, who gave only a first name, Yuri, said to a former Ukrainian paratrooper, who jogged away.