Back to the future: Pro-Russian separatists take WWII-era tank from memorial to ‘engage in combat’

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Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine are going back to the future — with a World War II-era tank taken from a memorial.

“Our craftsmen have managed to start the engine of the IS-3 tank displayed on a platform in the park. The tank is being prepared and will engage in the combat soon,” the press service of the Donetsk People’s Republic, a unrecognized sect of Ukraine, reportedly told Russian news agency Interfax.

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A video posted on YouTube shows smoke billowing from the tank as villagers from Konstantynovka fire up its engine.

Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko will have to deal with separatists supported by Russia in eastern parts of the country. The topic was brought up in France between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who were in the country for D-Day remembrances.

“President Obama made clear that de-escalation depends upon Russia recognizing President-elect Poroshenko as the legitimate leader of Ukraine, ceasing support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, and stopping the provision of arms and materiel across the border,” Ben Rhodes, the White House’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, said Friday.

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