News / Europe

18 Dead in Donetsk Fighting

A man crosses the main street of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, July 27, 2014.
A man crosses the main street of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, July 27, 2014.
VOA News

Fighting between Ukrainian government forces and separatist rebels killed at least 18 people in Donetsk on Sunday, as an international monitoring team delayed its visit to the crash site of a downed airliner out of security concerns.

Rebels said two children were among 13 dead in the city of Horlivka, while another five people were killed in clashes in a suburb north of Donetsk.

International police postpone crash site visit

Dutch, right, and Australian policemen talk in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, July 27, 2014.Dutch, right, and Australian policemen talk in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, July 27, 2014.
Dutch, right, and Australian policemen talk in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, July 27, 2014.
Dutch, right, and Australian policemen talk in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, July 27, 2014.

Police monitors from Australia and the Netherlands postponed plans Sunday to visit the Malaysian airliner crash site in eastern Ukraine, citing security concerns as fighting continued in the area.

All 298 people on the Boeing 777 were killed when the plane was shot down 10 days ago en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. It fell in a rebel-held area of the Donetsk region, where fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatists has raged for months.

Dozens of Dutch and Australian officials have arrived to investigate and aid in the recovery of human remains amid reports of evidence-tampering at the scene.  Malaysia said Sunday it would also be sending dozens of police to support the investigation.

More fighting reported

Alexander Hug, a Ukraine-based official with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, said reports of fighting near the crash site prompted the delay.

"Unfortunately, the security situation on the spot and on the road to that site is unacceptable for us. We have taken the decision not to dispatch and deploy today,'' he said.

The international team said it will attempt to visit the crash site on Monday if the security situation improves, Hug said.

Rebel leader Alexander Borodai had agreed to allow international investigators safe access to the site.

An AFP photographer heard artillery bombardments just a kilometer from the rebel-held town of Grabove near the wreckage on Sunday.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's office said Sunday in a statement that Malaysian police will join the monitoring team in Ukraine to "provide protection for international crash investigators."

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said unarmed Australian police will be sent to the rebel-held zone of the crash site as part of a Dutch-led police force to secure the area and help recover victims' remains.

"Our objective is principally to recover the bodies. That is what the Australian people expect of us, that is what grieving families around the world deserve," he said.

Identifying victims

Dutch authorities say they have made the first identification of a crash victim.  They released no details to the public, but say the family has been informed.  Most of those killed were Dutch.

The remains of 227 of the victims have been flown to the Netherlands, but observers in Ukraine say some bodies still lie at the crash site in the summer heat.  They say security concerns are making it difficult to collect the last of the remains.  

Pro-Russia separatists have been blamed for shooting down the airliner with a surface-to-air missile.

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Comment Sorting
by: Marisha from: Russia
July 30, 2014 5:00 AM
Personally I support Putin's policy but not completely. I used to live in Ukrain and know this country very well. Eastern Ukranians consider themselves relative to Russians . They respect Putin and always voted for the presidents who promissed to be friendly to our country or event to become its part again.
Sanctions were aimed at Russia even without Ukrain. Most Uropeans don't really understand what is happening in Ukrain. The illegitemate Ukranian authorities force ordinary people kill each other for nothing. I don't support our authorities who help their soldiers (National Guard) in hospitals. For what reason do we treat and care about them? I'm really sorry for the people in the eastern Ukrain. As for sanctions, It's a good challenge. The economy was ruined and is slowly recovering now. I believe our government is needed such an external imput to develop industry here. Thank you, US and the USA.

by: Evan from: USA
July 28, 2014 8:23 AM
To AK: while Russians may very well be brainwashed now, and ready to die for their (suddenly) beloved Putin if attacked, they wont be willing to go back to being poor for him. Give it a year of declining economy and restricted travel/opportunities/freedoms, and the story will be very different. Strong sanctions now to utterly cut Russia off from the civilized world.

by: Ultimate from: Netherlands
July 27, 2014 3:35 PM
We can knee Russia without single shoot- impose severe sanctions and ordinary people of Russia topple Putin.
In Response

by: Alexandr from: Russia
July 28, 2014 6:03 AM
Actually you cannot. Whatever severe sanctions the US/EU impose on Russia we'll never topple down the President. We got enough brains (technically, they are NOT washed, the opposite is true) not to respond in the way your leaders do.
In Response

by: AK from: the usa
July 27, 2014 9:27 PM
You're deadly wrong. 90% of Russians brain washed so severely that that will die for their Furer Putin.
This is a new global challenge for all humankind.

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