News / Europe

    Analyst: Chechen Fighters Sent to Ukraine on Russian Orders

    Analyst: Chechen Fighters Sent to Ukraine On Russian Ordersi
    X
    Zlatica Hoke
    May 28, 2014 10:21 PM
    Ukraine's presidential elections have not restored peace in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists continue to fight for independence and possible annexation by Russia. Moscow has denied supplying any military support to the insurrection, but reports from the region say there is growing evidence that many rebel fighters are Russian nationals, including some from Chechnya. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Zlatica Hoke
    Ukraine's presidential elections have not restored peace in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists continue to fight for independence and possible annexation by Russia.  Moscow has denied supplying any military support to the insurrection, but reports from the region say there is growing evidence that many rebel fighters are Russian nationals, including some from Chechnya.  

    The ballots from Sunday's presidential election were still being counted when insurgents in the Donbas region seized the area's main airport and fought one of the fiercest battles to keep control over the city of Donetsk.  

    Moscow has officially endorsed the Ukrainian election.  But Ukrainian officials say Russia is sending forces across the border to fight alongside the separatists, and this needs to be addressed.

    "Ukraine needs to organize its defense - but not just the protection of the Ukrainian-Russian border.  We need to use all government resources, especially in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions," said Nikolai Litvin, from the Ukrainian Border Patrol.

    Local officials say some of the wounded fighters, hospitalized after this week's fighting in Donetsk, are Chechen nationals.

    Chechnya's pro-Russian leader Ramzan Kadyrov is denying claims he sent the fighters on Moscow's orders.

    But Washington-based political analyst Peter Eltsov is skeptical of this denial.  

    "If there are Chechens right now fighting together with the Russian separatists in Donetsk, that means just one thing: that they were sent by Kadyrov directly and they are some kind of Kadyrov's militia - Kadyrov's people," said Eltsov.

    Eltsov says Russian President Vladimir Putin most likely asked his ally Kadyrov to dispatch Chechen fighters to eastern Ukraine.

    "It's an incredible hypocrisy. On the one hand, Russia supports separatism within Ukraine, and at the same time fights separatism within Russia, in the case of Chechnya.  So, he [President Putin] would, of course, want to show [that] we have no Chechen separatism any more and Chechens want a great Russia, and would fight even on the side of the Russian separatists in Ukraine," he said.

    Eltsov says there are other signs that Chechen fighters were sent by Russia.   

    "They are well trained because we can see from the news that these are not just random people, these are well-trained people who have arms.  Where are they getting them?  They are clearly getting them from the Russian Federation," said Eltsov.

    An uneasy calm has returned to the streets of Donetsk where residents spent several nights seeking shelter from the shooting.

    "It is time to end this and start talks and agree on something peaceful and stop shooting from both sides," said Donetsk resident, Vasily.

    But observers say the insurgents are only regrouping for their next move.

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora