News / Europe

Despite Unity Calls, Lawlessness Rules in Ukraine’s East

An elderly woman watch as a group of pro-Russian demonstrators storm the military Prosecutor's Office in Donetsk, Ukraine, May 4, 2014.
An elderly woman watch as a group of pro-Russian demonstrators storm the military Prosecutor's Office in Donetsk, Ukraine, May 4, 2014.
An appeal from Ukraine’s prime minister for unity is being ignored in the country’s troubled southeast, which is fast plunging into general disorder and lawlessness.
 
Police in towns and cities across the region are withdrawing from the streets, leaving local residents fearful and unprotected. The rule of gunmen and thugs is for the most part currently the only law. 
 
“This is not a good time for us,” said salesman Sergey Layrih. “There are no police. They have just disappeared and crime is on the rise.”
 
Layrih’s wife and two-and-half-year-old daughter used to walk twice a day in a park near their home in downtown Donetsk. But now they only go out in the morning and even then they are nervous.
 
x
Speaking Sunday to journalists in the southern port city of Odessa where more than 40 died last Friday in clashes and a fire, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk acknowledged the rising lawlessness.
 
Still, he insisted “we haven't entirely lost control.”
 
Odessa, a southern sea port most Ukrainians associate with balmy summer vacations, remains tense. A crowd of around a thousand people stormed a police headquarters Sunday gaining the release of nearly 70 detained pro-Russian activists.
 
Eyewitnesses say the police did little to counter the attack on their headquarters and were quickly persuaded to take down the Ukrainian flag.
 
Next days seen as crucial

According to Yatsenyuk, the next few days will prove crucial.
 
“Much will depend on the local population, whether they support peace and security," he said.
 
Security forces loyal to the government of Kyiv are making slow going of their efforts to wrest control from Moscow-backed separatists over two towns north of Donetsk.
 
Ukrainian military units have not tried to advance into the center Slovyansk, a city of 130,000 people. According to local residents, they are not in control of all separatist checkpoints around the outside of the city.

In Kramatorsk, there has been more progress. Pro-Kyiv forces took back the town’s main police station.
 
But the small advances are not stopping trouble springing up elsewhere in the region
 
As Ukrainian forces progress on one front, separatists seize or attack other municipal buildings in other towns. And at times, when security forces look likely to make major advances, they appear to halt or take a step back.

Ukrainian security forces lost Monday another military helicopter – their third to be shot down by Moscow-backed pro-Russian separatists in the last week.

Residents upset

The military moves do little to gain public trust.

And for little territorial gain so far, the government’s campaign is deepening the anger of local residents, including 24-year-old secretary Nadin.

“They had a lot of guns, machine guns, they shoot like this (mimicking gunfire) to all house, to all people, and my house is fully damaged, all windows,” she said.

A short distance away a truck burned, choking people with acrid black smoke.

It was hit in the crossfire in the Slovyansk suburb of Semenovka where a two hour-hour battle raged Monday. 

The body of the truck driver was covered by a yellow tarpaulin placed in front a café owned by Nadin’s mother.

He was one of six killed, including a Ukrainian soldier, in the skirmish, according to local doctors. The Ukrainian Ministry of Interior says four people were killed Monday in the fighting and 300 wounded.

Nadin’s house was hit with the windows on one side shattered, the siding badly damaged. Nadin and her family took cover as best they could.

“I think after this shooting a lot of people will afraid of our government and I think they will ask for help to Russia,” she said.

Fifty-five-year-old Igor, a separatist fighter, said he thinks the time for talking is over and dialogue and negotiation is impossible. It would be better to be with Russia now, he said.

You May Like

Afghan Government: Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Died in 2013

update President Ashraf Ghani's office confirms reclusive Taliban leader died in 2013, but Taliban itself claim Omar is still alive More

Erdogan in China Amid Tensions on Uighurs, Missile System

Turkey's president has criticized China's heavy-handed policies toward Uighurs in violence-plagued Xinjiang region, where China says it is fighting foreign-backed separatists More

Critics: China’s President Using Law to Tighten Grip on Power

President Xi, who has stressed importance of 'rule of law' and law-based governance, has exerted increasingly tighter grip over society since coming to office More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: gen from: Japan
May 06, 2014 4:22 AM
Mr Yanetsuk is one of menbers in right-sector nationalist.He is a puppet of Russohobian US officials. So even if he shouts and persuades a unity of Ukrain,nobody would listen to him.
Ukraine military would be reluctant to do anti-pro russian operations.Nobody want to listen to what the ultranationalist said.Also Odessa police also don't want to obey his orders.
At last,Ukraine interior minister made forces which was composed of Urtra-nationalists like Nazi,which ousted pro russian president at coup.I know how the police and military feel.

by: David Giles from: Michigan
May 05, 2014 10:22 AM
I didn't read this article. Its from VOA so I know its a bunch of propaganda by the evil bankster cartel that runs my country.
In Response

by: harry from: Texas
May 06, 2014 1:39 PM
I agree you should apply for your Russian citizenship ASAP.
In Response

by: Anonymous
May 05, 2014 10:31 AM
Then why did you bother commenting?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs