News / Europe

Ukraine Chaos Spreads to Odessa; Dozens Killed

  • Pro-Russia protesters storm the governor's business premises in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, May 3, 2014.
  • Pro-Russia protesters storm the governor's business premises in Donetsk, Ukraine, May 3, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian protesters gather to honor fallen comrades during fighting with pro-Ukrainian activists in Odessa on Friday, at the barricades in front of the administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, May 3, 2014.
  • Russia's presidential human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin watches as foreign military observers hug each other following their release in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, May 3, 2014.
  • Smoke billows from burning tires at a pro-Russian checkpoint with a Donetsk republic flag following an attack by Ukrainian troops in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, May 3, 2014.
  • A protester walks past a burning pro-Russian tent camp near the trade union building in Odessa, Ukraine, May 2, 2014.
  • An injured pro-Russian activist looks on during clashes with supporters of the Kyiv government in the streets of Odessa, Ukriane, May 2, 2014.
  • People wait to be rescued on upper levels of a trade union building in Odessa, Ukraine, May 2, 2014.
  • A pro-Russian separatist guards a checkpoint as tires burn in front of him, near the town of Slovyansk, Ukraine, May 2, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian gunmen listen to instructions from their commander (center) behind barricades in Slovyansk, May 2, 2014.
  • A pro-Russian rebel aims his rifle at a checkpoint near a Ukrainian airbase in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, May 2, 2014.
Events in Ukraine
VOA News
Dozens of people were killed in a fire and others were shot dead when fighting between pro- and anti-Russian groups broke out on the streets of Odessa on Ukraine's Black Sea coast on Friday, opening a new front in a conflict that has split the country.

A revised Ukrainian government statement said the fire broke out in a trade union building, and that 31 bodies were found at the scene - seven fewer than police first reported. Most of the victims were apparently members of pro-Russian groups.  The Russian news agency RIA Novosti said about 50 other people were injured, including 10 police officers.

Odessa, a key Black Sea port, had largely escaped the violence gripping large parts of eastern Ukraine.

Earlier Friday, Ukrainian government forces launched the first major assault on the rebel-held eastern city of Slovyansk. Pro-Russian separatists brought down two Ukrainian military helicopters involved in the operation.

Eastern Ukraine has been a focus of concern in Western capitals since Moscow annexed mainly Russian Crimea from Ukraine in March. Clashes have also broken out in largely Russian-speaking Odessa, not far from Crimea, but they had never involved deaths before.
Odessa, UkraineOdessa, Ukraine
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Odessa, Ukraine
Odessa, Ukraine


Police said at least three people were shot dead and 15 others were wounded in running battles between people backing Kyiv and pro-Russian activists in the town. The fighting continued into the evening.

In the east, separatists said Ukrainian forces killed three of their fighters and two civilians when they moved in on Slovyansk in the early hours on Friday in what Moscow called a ``criminal'' assault.

Kyiv said two helicopter crew members had died and seven servicemen had been wounded in the operation, which it admitted had not achieved much.

Western media said Ukrainian forces had seized rebel checkpoints on the outskirts of the city, but have not advanced toward its heavily fortified center.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said Ukrainian forces had fired on civilians from the air in Slovyansk in a ``punitive operation'' that destroyed an international peace plan. Moscow has tens of thousands of troops massed on the border and claims the right to invade if needed to protect Russian speakers.

UN Security Council

In New York, Western powers and Russia used an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to accuse each other of failing to take appropriate steps to de-escalate the crisis.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said "the scale of Russian hypocrisy is breathtaking."

For his part, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin accused the West of applying double standards in the crisis by condoning the current Ukrainian offensive, after urging then-Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych not to deploy troops when his government in Kyiv was under siege earlier this year.

And in Washington on Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that If Moscow continues fueling unrest in Ukraine, Putin and others in his leadership circle will face increasingly broad sanctions.  
 
During a joint news conference at the White House Rose Garden, Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said they want to see a diplomatic resolution to the crisis.

Otherwise, Obama and Merkel warned Russia that if it further destabilizes Ukraine or interferes in Ukraine's May 25 presidential elections, it will face more sanctions.

Moscow presence questioned

Earlier Friday, the Western-backed government in Kyiv said the use of missiles that brought down its helicopters was evidence that Russian forces were in the town. Moscow denies that its troops are on the ground.

Ukraine's Turchynov said Russian ``armed saboteurs'' had tried to cross into the country overnight, but were pushed back by Ukrainian border troops. He gave no further details.

Russia's Security Service said his report was untrue.

Turchynov said the military operation had been complicated by the rebels' use of human shields and had not progressed as quickly as had been hoped.

By early afternoon Friday, military operations in and around Slovyansk appeared to have ceased, leaving the region in a state of tension and Ukrainian and separatist forces facing off near a strategic bridge that was under government control. The Ukrainians did not seem eager to engage the militants, limiting their activities to tightening a cordon around the city of 130,000, the New York Times reported.

The growing chaos is overshadowing a presidential election the pro-Western leadership in Kyiv is planning for May 25. The rebels are planning a vote on May 11 to seek a mandate to break with Kyiv, like one held in Crimea before Moscow took it over.

EU response

The European Union said it was watching events in eastern Ukraine with growing concern. But Kyiv is not a member of NATO and Western leaders have made clear they will not fight to defend Ukraine.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said NATO's European members needed to increase their defense spending in light of Russia's action in Ukraine.

Hagel said one of the biggest obstacles to investment in defense was the sense that the prospect of conflict among nations had dissipated with the end of the Cold War.

"Russia's actions in Ukraine shatter that myth and usher in bracing new realities," he said, speaking about the future of the NATO alliance at the Wilson Center in Washington on Friday.

"Over the long term, we should expect Russia to test our alliance's purpose, stamina, and commitment," Hagel said.

Earlier Friday, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in a statement that two Mi-24 attack helicopters had been shot down by shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles while on patrol overnight around Slovyansk.

A third helicopter, an Mi-8 transport aircraft, was also hit and a serviceman wounded, the Defense Ministry said. Ukraine's Secret Security Service said this helicopter was carrying medics.

Ukrainian officials said their troops overran rebel checkpoints and Slovyansk was now "tightly encircled."

Some information in this report was contributed by Reuters, AP.

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Comment Sorting
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by: Anonymous
May 05, 2014 4:55 AM
Russian troops never entered Ukraine. What the American Mass Media do is the following: they show you a picture on TV, where some troop is invading a Ukrainian town, an offscreen voice saying these are Russian troops. How do you know they are Russians? No evidence they are at all. Theoretically, they can be anyone. Why do Ukrainian people say they hear distinct American (not Russian) speech?
It was Crimea people's free will to become again part of Russia. And of course, Russia welcomed them. We do know for sure, as we have choldren, parents and relatives living in Ukraine. Please, do not belive that Russia is to blame, it is an information warfare. We want no war.
In Response

by: melwin from: India
May 05, 2014 10:20 AM
American media dance on the song which john Kerry and Obama sing.

by: Anonymous
May 03, 2014 12:43 PM
Those "Armed" pro-Russians that are/were inside government buildings deserve the hardest penalty with the law. They have no business doing what they were doing, and if armed as many say they most definately deserve anything coming to them.

I probably would of burnt down every government building they occupied, and just built new ones, the hell with them. If they get hurt inside one of the government buildings that is their OWN fault.

Hats off to the Ukrainian government who is making the right moves.
In Response

by: melwin from: India
May 03, 2014 11:56 PM
To fight for their freedom form American facist.this was their penalty.
My friend you have your freedom so as to other also must have their freedom.

by: melwin from: India
May 03, 2014 10:32 AM
Because of America many mothers has lost their sons,Many wifes has lost their husbands

by: NewTurningPointOfBattle from: The US
May 03, 2014 10:01 AM
1) About 2000 “Crimean voluntary militiamen” well-armed have begun to entered Ukraine in order to “help” Pro-Russian separatists in the south-east of the nation to struggle against Kyiv military forces…
In reality, who are these people?
What is Putin wanting?
This forces will only stop with the first number of 2000?
Formally, Russian military forces have begun to enter Ukraine?
All of us have got ready for this “fully”?
2) Probably, Putin is always “thirsty for” Land-Wins in Ukraine, and to him, what are their “great values” in “the game”?
Also, all of us have got ready for this “fully”?
In Response

by: melwin from: India
May 03, 2014 10:34 AM
If Putin wanted to take Ukraine he would have done it long back but he care people.but like those hypocrites America.

by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
May 03, 2014 3:41 AM
The US and the UK has the right by all means to intervene in what is going on in Ukraine. What Russia did is, she put the Russian speaking civilians in front of harms way, so just in case when the Ukrainan military fires a single shoot at them, so that Russia can step into the situation. However if they wants to protect their citizens, they dont they take them back to Russia? this thing is very simple. Russia is using the civilians to take Ukraine slowly, And Kyiv has the right to defend its soverignity. Damacas cannot defeat the rebels in their Country, nor Israel. You cannot compare the strength od the US to that of Damacas, The US will turn Damacas in to graveyard. Iran so scare of Israel, since 2000, they have been saying Israel should be wipe off the map, we are in 2014 now, Let them try Israel first, before that of the US. When President was in power, the Iranians Navy came almost closer to the US vessel, President Bush sent Iran a strong message, saying If you come closer to our Vessel we consider it to be a art of war, why Iran did not do so? we were going to read about Iran in the history book, that there was a country called Iran. This is in justice to the citizens of Kyiv, and they should fight for what they belief. It is on now, let Russia intervene, she will see what the US will do. If anyone taking President Obama to be weak, You gat a supriase awaiting you. The Man ( President Obama) has the strongest military in the world, make no mistake on this. Mark my here today, by the end of the day, Russia will have to talk to the US. We defy Russia, Russia cannot strike a single fire into the US. What Russia has for the US? Nuclear weapon? That day the US will clamax the whole world. If Russia just dodoo and the US simle it, Russia gat a problem right there. Listen to the Russian embassador speaking at the UN yesterday, his tone has change. God Bless America, we are praying for you. We love you, our loyalty is to you.
In Response

by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
May 04, 2014 12:55 AM
Melwin from the way to speak, you sound like you are jealous of America. The US, and the UK help countries and their civilians who are unable to help themselves whenever their brutal Governments tried to wipe off their own citizens. This is a strong example, the Ukrainian people are not able to defend themselves. And people like Mr. Putin aggression need to be stop. The people of Ukraine have the right to determine who umbrella they want to come under. Russia needs to step back. If she wants to protect those Russian speaking people, let her open her border to them, and let them go to Russia. You cannot destabilized another people country because you feel you have the power. Most of the countries the US went to, they went to help the citizens of that nation. I am not saying everything we did was right, No. What I am saying, most of the thing we did was justifiable. And if this what the world hate us for? So be it. The American eagle will fly high.
In Response

by: melwin from: India
May 03, 2014 10:28 AM
US and UK has the license to kill or what.they can murder anyone.

by: Alexey from: Russia
May 03, 2014 3:14 AM
You know, if there's even a so called "Putin's propaganda machine", so the Western media don't differ much.

by: olga from: moscow
May 03, 2014 12:59 AM
This is a typical act of fascism - to burn people alive! Shame on all self-proclaimed 'free and democratic' states like US and EU for refusing even to codemn that atrocity. RIP to all victims!

by: oldlamb from: Guangzhou
May 02, 2014 10:49 PM
British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said "the scale of Russian hypocrisy is breathtaking."
I also can say the scale of US and NATO’s hypocrisy is breathtaking.Because they had incited people to block the streets in Ukriane,and signed a compromised agreement with president YanuKovich,but the pro-US protesters did nothing for this agreement.Then they couped the government of YanuKovich.The west oligarchys took the first hypocritic step.They are lack of the qualification to rebuke Russain.

by: melwin from: India
May 02, 2014 10:32 PM
If America send its troops to other countries they are called peace keeping forces though they killed many families.
But a country which moves it army's within its border is called unsafe for peace

by: melwin from: India
May 02, 2014 10:03 PM
Now it's time for Russia to enter Ukraine since they have been punished for those things which they have not done.
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