Fierce battles on Ukraine’s porous eastern border left 15 government troops dead and there were fears of a possible Russian invasion Friday, despite NATO’s urging Moscow to withdraw its troops along the frontier.

International tensions also rose as Western countries faced a Russian food embargo, imposed as revenge for sanctions slapped on Moscow over its backing for insurgents in Ukraine.

The renewed violence came after NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen warned Moscow to “pull back from the brink” and as Western countries warned that Russia could be preparing to send troops across the border in the guise of a humanitarian mission.

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