Ukrainian soldiers are laying siege to Donetsk, where pro-Russian rebels have taken control.
© AFP/Scanpix

After heavy fighting, much of the town remains in ruins.

But the soldiers are also preparing for a larger battle. They believe Russia is preparing to invade.

NATO is warning that Russia could use the pretext of a humanitarian mission to send in the 20,000 combat-ready troops now positioned on Ukraine's border.

Ukrainian Defence Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko says the military will be ready to respond: "If there is direct aggression, then it is obvious that there will be an adequate answer from all branches of Ukrainian armed forces."

The battle between Ukraine government troops and separatist rebels has been raging since April.

Economic sanctions from the West, and threats of further action against Russia, have had little affect.

And Wednesday Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered sanctions of his own.

The misery continues in Donetsk, with some accusing their government of heavy-handedness, using warplanes to bomb the rebels into submission.

"Genocide, in my opinion it's genocide. To kill people for nothing," says Donetsk resident Olga.

As workers try to put the broken pieces back together, Ukraine's military prepares for a bigger battle they believe is still to come.

Reuters

Noreika's supporters plan to put new plaque in place in Vilnius

Supporters of Jonas Noreika , a controversial Lithuanian military officer known as Generolas Vetra...

Experts warn of challenges after record immigration month (1)

More people came to Lithuania to live in July than any other previous month, as positive migration...

Volker: US backs talks on eastern Ukraine conflict, would join if needed

The United States supports the current format of negotiations on the situation in Eastern Ukraine ,...

Over 10,000 people join hands in Vilnius to mark 30 years since Baltic Way (1)

Over 10,000 people joined hands to form a human chain in Vilnius on Friday to mark the 30th...

Hong Kong, Beijing supporters square off in Vilnius rally: two taken to police

A rally held in Vilnius on Friday in support to Hong Kong pro-democracy activists was overshadowed by...