News / Europe

    Ukraine's PM Accuses Russian Military of Airspace Violations

    Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk visits the Santa Sophia Church in Rome, Apr. 26, 2014.
    Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk visits the Santa Sophia Church in Rome, Apr. 26, 2014.
    VOA News
    Ukraine's prime minister says Russian military aircraft have repeatedly crossed into Ukraine's airspace, in what he called Russian aggression designed to undermine global security.

    Arseniy Yatsenyuk told reporters Saturday that Russian forces had "violated" Ukrainian airspace seven times overnight.

    "We do understand the reason Russian military did it. The only reason is to provoke Ukraine to strike missile and to accuse Ukraine of waging the war to Russia," he said.

    On Friday, U.S. military officials also said Russian aircraft had flown into Ukrainian airspace, a charge Russia denies.

    In a Saturday statement carried by the Itar Tass news agency, Russia's Defense Ministry said its "objective monitoring of the air situation" had not detected any air border violations.

     
    Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk meets with Pope Francis during a private audience at the Vatican April 26, 2014Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk meets with Pope Francis during a private audience at the Vatican April 26, 2014
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    Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk meets with Pope Francis during a private audience at the Vatican April 26, 2014
    Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk meets with Pope Francis during a private audience at the Vatican April 26, 2014
    ​Prime Minister Yatsenyuk had made the accusation in Rome, after announcing he was cutting short a trip to Italy that included talks with Pope Francis.

    The pontiff told Yatsenyuk that he would "do everything possible" to promote peace in Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists continue to occupy government buildings in about a dozen cities in eastern Ukraine.

    According to VOA correspondent Brian Padden, who is on the ground in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, anti-American sentiment appears to be on the rise among pro-Russian separatists.

    An angry mob confronted him on Saturday as he tried to cover a rally in front of an occupied building. He says protesters accused him of supporting a "fascist" U.S. government.

    "As we were walking away, the crowd just got more angry and started following us and one guy tried to grab my colleague's camera," he said. "I tried to stop him. Then he grabbed me and another guy came with a baton. But before anything could really deteriorate into a real scuffle, the police kind of came between all of us and pulled us out and we just kept walking."

    International monitors

    In another development, Russia vowed to help free a team of international military observers who are being detained by pro-Russian separatists who suspect the observers are "NATO spies."

    On Friday, the separatists seized a bus carrying more than a dozen people from the Vienna-based Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), near the town of Slovyansk.

    According to a senior State Department official, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday demanded full Russian support "without preconditions" in efforts to free the European monitors.

    Kerry delivered his demand during a telephone call to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, who said Ukraine must stop its military operations in the country's southeastern region as part of efforts to end the crisis.

    In a statement, Moscow later said it is taking what it called "all measures to resolve the situation," but blamed Ukrainian authorities for failing to secure the safety of the OSCE team.

    In a Saturday statement, a White House official said U.S. President Barack Obama underscored the importance of solidarity in responding to Ukraine's crisis during talks with his European counterparts.

    Earlier, the Group of Seven major economies announced it had agreed to "move swiftly" on new sanctions against Russia because of its alleged actions in Ukraine.

    In a joint statement, the G-7 nations of Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the U.S. said they would take measures to intensify "targeted sanctions" against Moscow.

    A U.S. official said the sanctions could begin as early as Monday.

    On Saturday, about 150 U.S. troops arrived in Lithuania. They are part of a U.S. contingent of about 600 troops being deployed to the region.

    Some information for this report comes from AP.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: nadodi from: Asia
    April 27, 2014 6:15 AM
    "Ukraine's prime minister says Russian military aircraft have repeatedly crossed into Ukraine's airspace, in what he called Russian aggression designed to undermine global security."

    Is he eliginle to speak on a topic like this?!

    by: Gen from: Japan
    April 27, 2014 2:10 AM
    A sanction on Russia is only way to solve the problem? Is there a risk of escalating the problem? USA and EU nations try to repeat 'The Battle of Stalingrad'of economis against Russia on behalf of a Hitler? The problem is the cause of Russian people? I think the problem is in
    Ukraine. I think the sanction on Russia is not a right answer. It is crazy.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    April 26, 2014 5:50 PM
    Somebody famously said it; (What difference does it make) -
    The US and EU, are now looking like Rodney Dangerfield's the comedian, "Who got no respect" _ (not any respect at all) _ and they now make NATO (that is the greatest military force ever assembled in the history of the world), look helpless?
    WHAT kind of leaders of the US and EU are these, that like comedian Rodney Dangerfield's, "They get no respect" _ (not any respect at all) _ and the Russians won't answer, or return their phone calls, when they call them? -- (Hello, hello?)...

    by: Popsiq from: Buganda
    April 26, 2014 2:26 PM
    What were the indians thinking the night before Wounded Knee? And what would they have told reporters the cavalry sent into their camp? And this will be way worse than Wounded Knee.

    by: Fefe Bottomburp from: USA
    April 26, 2014 10:51 AM
    Since VOA is incapable of journalism, I will re-write the article for them as it should read...................The last time the Russian “Doomsday Plane” was seen in the air doing its trademark loops at 27,000 feet telegraphing Vladimir Putin was somewhere nearby, was on March 31, just days after the formerly Ukrainian region was annexed by the Kremlin. Until today, when over the past 4 hours, the Tu-214 has been quietly circling in position just shy of Finland and the Baltics, where as it is known, NATO has been depositing hundreds of western soldiers in a “defensive” build up.

    What is the “Doomsday Plane”? Here is a reminder:




    The Tupolev Tu-214SR is a Russian Special Mission Aircraft believed to act as a communication relay aircraft. This kind of aircraft is often dispatched by the Russian Air Force to accompany Putin’s presidential aircraft on its travels and for this reason it is considered the Russian version of the U.S. E-4B, a so-called “doomsday” plane, with an airborne command and control role.

    * * *

    America isn’t the only superpower with a “Doomsday Plane” for its head of state.When Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to escape danger, he hops aboard this top-secret flying communications center.

    A special missions variant of the Tupolev Tu-214 commercial transport aircraft, the Tu-214SR is Russia’s answer to the US E-4B, an airborne command and control plane built specifically for the Russian president’s use and considered successor to the Ilyushin Il-20 Coot, which has been in service for the better part of four decades. Produced by Aviastar SP and Kazan Aircraft Production Association, the twin-engine, long-endurance jet can carry 62 passengers with comparable range and speed to a Boeing 757. But unlike the Boeing, the Tu-214SR is packed to the gills with cutting-edge sensor and communications equipment.

    While significantly less is known about capabilities of the 214SR than the E-4B , we do know that it carries an MRC-411 multi-intelligence payload, which includes electronic intelligence (ELINT) sensors, side-looking Synthetic Aperture Radar (to spot incoming air threats from long range), and a variety of Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Communications Intelligence (COMINT) equipment. Four onboard generators provide ample amperage while a set of external fuel tanks allow the plane to remain aloft for trips up to 10,000 km.

    The two such 214SRs entered service in 2008 with the Presidential Special Applications Squad and are operated by a crew of four. However, the plane was only declassified last year when it made its public debut at the Moscow Air Show.Since then, it’s been spotted in the skies above both the Sochi Olympics, and more recently—and ominously—in Crimea.

    Why was the Doomsday Plane circling so close to the Baltics today of all days, and is this nothing but a welcome sign from Russia to the NATO build out in Eastern and Central Europe? And does it indicate that Putin was – as he usually does – either traveling in the vicinity, or is it an omen of something more ominous?

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