News / Europe

Ukraine Accuses Russia of 'Aggression'

Pro-Russian Militants Seize More Public Buildings in Eastern Ukrainei
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Henry Ridgwell
April 13, 2014 2:02 AM
Pro-Russian militants in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk have forced the local police chief to resign, after storming police headquarters. Armed pro-Russian groups also took over police buildings in the nearby city of Slovyansk, seizing firearms. Henry Ridgwell reports from Donetsk.

Pro-Russian Militants Seize More Public Buildings in Eastern Ukraine

Henry Ridgwell
— Ukraine says Saturday's attacks by pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine are "an act of external aggression" by Russia, and security officials are preparing to implement "an operational response plan."

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov's evaluation appeared on Facebook Saturday, shortly after armed militants with Russian weapons seized more government buildings in the Russian-speaking east, including police headquarters in Donetsk and Kramatorsk. 

Witnesses, including western journalists, say the Kramatorsk facility was captured after a firefight, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.
 
Armed men stand in front of police headquarters in Slaviansk, April 12, 2014.Armed men stand in front of police headquarters in Slaviansk, April 12, 2014.
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Armed men stand in front of police headquarters in Slaviansk, April 12, 2014.
Armed men stand in front of police headquarters in Slaviansk, April 12, 2014.
The takeover of police facilities in Donetsk prompted the city's police chief to resign, while elsewhere, Western news accounts late Saturday said militants controlled the eastern city of Sloviansk.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any role in Ukraine's unrest, which erupted in full two months ago, when anti-Russian protesters in Kyiv forced then-president Viktor Yanukovych to flee the country.

US reaction

Meanwhile, the United States has called on Russia to "cease all efforts" to destabilize Ukraine.  A White House National Security Council spokeswoman said Saturday the United States is concerned that Russian separatists -- with apparent support from Moscow -- are "inciting violence and sabotage" against the Ukrainian state.  

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke by telephone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the State Department said.

"During the call Kerry expressed strong concern that attacks today by armed militants in eastern Ukraine were orchestrated and synchronized, similar to previous attacks in eastern Ukraine and Crimea,'' said a senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Militants were equipped with specialized Russian weapons and the same uniforms as those worn by the Russian forces that invaded Crimea. The secretary made clear that if Russia did not take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine's border, there would be additional consequences,'' the official added.

The official did not state what those consequences would be.

US officials met Friday with Ukrainian finance officials to discuss a "range of strategic and economic issues" according to a State Department statement.

In Moscow, Russian state television reports Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Saturday that the crisis is caused by the Kyiv government ignoring "the legitimate needs and interests of the Russian and Russian-speaking population" of the region.

Lavrov also warned that any use of force by Kyiv could undermine diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis.

Donetsk
Members of the disbanded Ukrainian riot police unit Berkut arrive to support pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk, Apr. 12, 2014.Members of the disbanded Ukrainian riot police unit Berkut arrive to support pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk, Apr. 12, 2014.
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Members of the disbanded Ukrainian riot police unit Berkut arrive to support pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk, Apr. 12, 2014.
Members of the disbanded Ukrainian riot police unit Berkut arrive to support pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk, Apr. 12, 2014.


At the Donetsk police headquarters, the Russian colors fly alongside the regional separatist flag.

Around 200 pro-Russian protesters armed with clubs and knives took over the building Saturday and met no resistance -- forcing the police chief to resign.

“Here in Donetsk, everyone is sick of the powers in Kyiv,” complained Oleksander Korfman, one of the organizers. “That includes the police. They can’t break their pledge to the state, but they are with the people.”

Later around a dozen heavily armed Ukrainian police -- known as Berkut -- were welcomed into the headquarters. It appears there is much sympathy for the protesters among security forces.

Most of the protesters then left the police building in the hands of special forces.  One protester -- who did not want to be named -- said the takeover was aimed at ensuring police weapons are not used against the demonstrators.

“The special forces will secure the place so no one steals the weapons inside. We will go back to our positions at the regional administration building," the protester said.

Armed pro-Russian groups also stormed police buildings in the nearby city of Slovyansk Saturday. There were reports that the demonstrators seized around 400 firearms. One who gave the name Sergei explained their actions.

“Our people want to live quietly and peacefully, without the junta who seized power in Kyiv," he said, "and so that we are not under America and the West. We don't want to be their slaves. We want to be with Russia.”

Building by building, the protesters are gaining ground. Their challenge to Kyiv's authority is so far unanswered; the dangers of conflict are growing.

 
An image released by NATO on April 10, 2014 that shows fighter jets and helicopters at Primorko-Akhtarsk Air Base, Russia, near Ukraine. (DigitalGlobe/NATO ACO PAO)An image released by NATO on April 10, 2014 that shows fighter jets and helicopters at Primorko-Akhtarsk Air Base, Russia, near Ukraine. (DigitalGlobe/NATO ACO PAO)
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An image released by NATO on April 10, 2014 that shows fighter jets and helicopters at Primorko-Akhtarsk Air Base, Russia, near Ukraine. (DigitalGlobe/NATO ACO PAO)
An image released by NATO on April 10, 2014 that shows fighter jets and helicopters at Primorko-Akhtarsk Air Base, Russia, near Ukraine. (DigitalGlobe/NATO ACO PAO)
NATO says Russian armed forces are massing on Ukraine's eastern border, while Moscow says they are on normal maneuvers.

Ukraine suspends gas payments

There were other signs of heightened cross-border tensions Saturday, with the Kyiv government saying it is suspending natural gas payments to Moscow.  Details of the move were not immediately clear.  

Moscow says its neighbor owes $ 2.2 billion in payment arrears.  Early this month, the Russian energy giant Gazprom announced two price increases that effectively raise Ukrainian gas costs by about 80 percent.  Additionally, Russian President Vladimir Putin has hinted that Moscow may begin demanding energy payments from Kyiv at the time of delivery.

Top diplomats from Russia, the United States, Ukraine and the European Union are set to hold emergency talks on the crisis April 17 in Geneva.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters

Images from Ukraine
 
  • A pro-Russian protester whose helmet reads "Donetsk Republic," pickets a building where Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was meeting with regional leaders from eastern Ukraine, in Donetsk, April 11, 2014.
  • Leaders of pro-Russian protesters hold a news briefing inside the seized office of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, April 11, 2014.
  • A group of pro-Russian activists warm themselves at a bonfire next to barricades in front of an entrance to the Ukrainian regional office of the Security Service in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 11, 2014.
  • Motorists watch a Ukrainian military convoy pass by near the city of Donetsk, Ukraine, April 10, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian protesters set barbed wire on a barricade outside the SBU state security service in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 10, 2014.
  • Masked pro-Russian activists guard barricades at the regional administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, April 9, 2014.
  • A pro-Russian activist speaks to other protesters at barricades in front of a security service regional office in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 9, 2014.
  • A masked man stands in front of barricades and Soviet era red and Russian national flags at an entrance to the regional office of the security service in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 9, 2014.
  • Communist lawmakers scuffle with right-wing Svoboda (Freedom) Party lawmakers during a session of the Ukrainian parliament in Kyiv, April 8, 2014.
  • A view through a broken window of the regional administration building shows a cordon of Interior Ministry members blocking a group of pro-Russian protesters in Kharkiv, Ukraine, April 8, 2014.
  • Street cleaners sweep away bullet cases as they remove trash and a barricade erected by pro-Russian protesters near a building of the state security service in Donetsk, Ukraine, April 8, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian activists gather behind a barricade with Russian flags in front of the entrance to the regioanl security service office in Luhansk, west of the Russian border, in Ukraine, April 8, 2014.

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by: Jack C from: USA
April 25, 2014 7:28 PM
If Europe wants stability, Ukraine must be protected by NATO,
If Europe really wants stability, then they must allow those countries that desire to join NATO to be allowed to become members providing they adhere to the NATO doctrine of a democratic society through fair elections and democratic values. This is not a country club with exclusive membership that only the elite can join, is based on certain values that must be upheld and enforced through a democratic process of self governing. The basic rules are that each country must prove that they are a democratic governing body which is freely elected to represent its citizens and has equal rights for all of its citizens under its constitution, as was decided and established after WWII. The ousted Ukraine regime was in no way a freely elected representative of the population of Ukraine. It was a puppet regime put in place by Mr.Putin and under his strict control. That's why when democracy reared its ugly head, the old regime high tailed it back to Mr.Putin for protection. The new government has show great restraint in dealing with Russia, great progress in modifying its constitution to incorporate all citizens within its boundaries, strong leadership through democracy and great restraint in not targeting ethnic groups within the country, including legitimate pro-russian citizens. Those Russians that have infiltrated the country under the pretext of causing an uprising or revolution, are not Ukraine citizens. RUSSIA, on the other hand has done everything imaginable to cause internal conflicts within the Ukraine government, yet they have held to their democratic reliefs and refrained from the previous corrupt ways of the old regime. NATO has to establish some type of protective umbrella which allows future NATO member countries to survive aggression as seen by Russia today. NATO cannot and should not look the other way as Russia INVADES Ukraine by only a few well placed infiltrators or an entire army to conquer Ukraine, it's still an invasion by Russia. NATO must respond to Russia's actions. In ending, their are three countries waiting to join NATO, Macedonia, Ukraine and Georgia. These countries know the hell that takes place under Russia.'s influence and corruption. Let them join now and send Putin a very clear message.
An AMERICAN's point of view
Jack C


by: Jack C from: USA
April 23, 2014 12:25 AM
The US and European Union lack responsiveness,
The US government has shown absolutely no leadership in the Ukraine crisis. Mr.Putin is calling the shots and our government stands around looking like a bunch of mental patients on tranquilizers. Where are those harsh financial sanctions which we keep saying are in America's tool chest, which it appears the US is reluctant to use for fear it will hurt the US and European economy. The European Union is pretty much in the same position. You all keep telling Russia to stop its aggression, but not one country has done anything regarding those tough sanctions. Why? Are we all waiting for Putin to invade Ukraine and a civil war to erupt, and then implement those tough sanctions we all keep talking about. By that time, Ukraine will be annexed by Russia and Ukraine's current government will be exiled to who knows where by Mr.Putin and the Russian government under their protection act for Russian speaking citizens. GEE! I wonder how many people in Europe and America speak Russian and will need saving?
Sorry Mr.Obama, the game is just about over in Europe and your skipping around Asia. The European Union is no better then America, none of you are implementing those tough sanctions you keep saying are comming. I'll believe it when I see it. Their sort of like the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, mythical and mystical beliefs that we were told about as kids, but we know as adults what they really are. Are these tough sanctions even real? If you need a list of companies, I've listed some below to help get you guys started. The first Company is Gazprom, which should be at the top of the list. Let's see if Putin can feed his people oil and gas to sustain them in the coming months.

Russian Companies to Sanction,

"Gazprom", Aeroflot-Russian Airlines, PhosAgro, Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel, X5 Retail Group, Nomos Bank, Alrosa, UC Rusal, Mechel, Uralkali, Federal Grid of UES, IDGC Holding, Sistema, Magnit, Severstal, Novolipetsk Steel, RusHydro, MegaFon, Inter Rao, Rostelecom, Novatek, Transneft, Tatneft, Norilsk Nickel, VTB Bank, Surgutneftegas, TNK-BP Holding, Lukoil, Sberbank, Rosneft.

Jack C.


by: Jack C. from: USA
April 20, 2014 4:13 PM
To The Ukraine People,
It's sad that those few pro-Russians that are armed to the hilt have silenced the voice of the majority of the Ukraine population. Because the news media wants to have stories that are sensationalized to draw world attention, the 80% of the population that are your normal everyday hard working citizens are ignored or just totally overlooked by the news media. Sadly, this is the way of the world today. As an AMERICAN, I am interested in knowing just how the average Ukraine citizen feels about what's happening in your whole country, not small sections that don't represent the majority. If any of you have the ability to get your voices herd via posting or emailing to news agencies, then please, do so to help people throughout the world understand exactly how the law abiding citizens feel about what's taking place in your country. I see so many sites were the posting are from one loud mouth trying to control the posting site by bombarding it with vicious attacks that are so one sided, it skews what the majority view really is in Ukraine. Mr.Putin's propaganda machine is cranking out so much bull xxx, that I don't even care to read anything from a Russian media source. So please Ukraine citizen's, speak up and let your voices be heard.
An AMERICAN's point of view.
Jack C.


by: Jack C from: USA
April 18, 2014 10:27 PM
Let's play Mr.Putin's game,

For Russia only, let's have the World Bank double or triple its loan rates since they annexed Crimea against the terms of the Budapest Memorandum. This is about the same as what they did to Ukraine, since they removed the discount that Gazprom gave to Crimea, since they have annexed Crimea and Ukraine no longer complies with the original agreement since they no longer own Crimea. Is this some type of Russian monopoly game that the rest of the world doesn't know about? No this is just how Putin plays whatever the hell he wants to do in Europe is OK since it's his game and his rules!!! HA,HA,HA and you can't play!!!
Jack C


by: Jack C from: USA
April 18, 2014 8:29 PM
Russian Companies to Sanction,

Aeroflot-Russian Airlines, PhosAgro, Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel, X5 Retail Group, Nomos Bank, Alrosa, UC Rusal, Mechel, Uralkali, Federal Grid of UES, IDGC Holding, Sistema, Magnit, Severstal, Novolipetsk Steel, RusHydro, MegaFon, Inter Rao, Rostelecom, Novatek, Transneft, Tatneft, Norilsk Nickel, VTB Bank, Surgutneftegas, TNK-BP Holding, Lukoil, Sberbank, Rosneft, Gazprom

Jack C.


by: Jack C from: USA
April 18, 2014 6:58 PM
Land bridge to the sea,

If you look at a map of Ukraine, you can see how Mr.Putin is trying to build a land BRIDGE to the sea through the country of Ukraine. This way, he can support his ships in Crimea via the land BRIDGE. You will notice how all the pro-russian cities with pro-russian protesters are in the direct path of this land BRIDGE to the sea. But of course, Putin is protecting his people. No matter what color you paint horse xxxx, it still smells like horse xxxx, it just looks better.

Jack C.


by: Jack C from: USA
April 18, 2014 6:12 PM
To Late, implement Sanction now,
The sanctions imposed should be extremely harsh and imposed on the top 50 largest companies, banks, businesses that are owned or associated with the Russian government and directly contribute to Russia's cash flow into Moscow and Russia, as well as Crimea, since they have annexed Crimea. Let's see if the Russian sailors can keep the Crimean economy afloat. These companies are published in Forbes top 200 Russian Companies. The EU and America should take the top 50 companies and implement sanctions. If Europe and America citizen's want to start the sanctions immediately, just start to sell those Russian stocks listed on the Forbes web site. If you don't own any of those stocks, consider yourself lucky. The stocks in question are in the banking, mining, gas, oil, military hardware and other government related industries like broadcasting news agencies within Russia's borders that continue to stimulate anger within the Russian population from the blatant lies that are continuously broadcast from these news agencies 24/7. Strong sanctions on a global scale would cripple the Russian economy and stop the flow of cash into Moscow and Russia, forcing Putin to shore up is stock market as well as Russia's currency. How Mr.Putin can shore up his industries as well, is a real dilemma.
IMPLEMENT SANCTIONS NOW!
Jack C.


by: Jack C from: USA
April 18, 2014 1:17 PM
Let's invite Mr.Putin to speak on a european network

Perhaps the time has come to invite Mr.Putin to speak on a European network that is not under Russian control. Perhaps he could explain how these pro-russian protesters are able to travel from Crimea to eastern Ukraine in large groups all on their own, with no assistance from Moscow, with full armor and military gear. Mr.Putin and his regime spew bull shit and lies in a constant flow to convince their people how they are only their for the support of the Russian people. That's why he spent $53 million on Sochi, which will be the new playground for Mr.Putin and his current regime, who are the only people in Russia who can afford such an extravagance. What an absolute disgusting group the whole regime is under Mr.Putin's control.

I listened to the Russian ambassador talk at the United Nation's, and was amazed at the crap he was saying and watched as everyone around him was called misinformed, and misled by American propaganda or UN propaganda from its human rights investigation reports. I never saw so many distorted facts or out and out lies in my life conning from the Russian ambassador, perhaps, that's why the whole time he had a smile on his face. OH Yeh, the world is all wrong and Mr.Putin is a saint. What a load of crap. The Russian people are so gullable, that they believe this bull shit as the truth. I trust Mr.Putin as far as I could sling a turd, which is pretty much what I think he is.
Jack C


by: Jack C from: USA
April 18, 2014 1:48 AM
To The Russian People,

Mr.Putin has grand ideas of being the next CZAR of the new Russia he is in the process of forming through, infiltration, instigation , fear, intimidation and invasion all in the name of protecting my people. He has stated as such and is upset that his country gave up so many former federation member satelite countries, so he has devised a scheme to try taking them back, one by one, for the glory of Russia. The writing is on the wall and he could care less what any country, people, government, religion or ethnic group cares or thinks of his devine and grand plan to become the CZAR of the new Russia. This is very similar to another super race as was once seen in history before, and we know how that ended, 30 to 40 million dead or missing. This man lives in the fantasy world of the CZARS who have long ago departed this world. I fear that the Russian people are going to pay a high financial price for the arrogance of such a leader. Today with the internet, the world is actually a very small place, given the speed at which information travels around the globe. This can be good as well as bad, if governments become so controlling that they only allow selective information to filter to their citizens, which is exactly how Russia controls it's people, and is currently taking place in Crimea. The Russian people do not have a clue as to what real freedom is and are unable to even grasp what it feels like, and from what I can see, they never will. Their are however a very select group of Putin's inner circle who have these freedoms, unless they should disagree with him, in which case they are felt with very swiftly and in harsh punishments. Their are many documented cases of his inner circle people dying or disappearing when they failed to support him. As an American, I can basically do anything, without government approval or fear of reprisal, as long as I stay within the law. This is unlimited in its scope and allows be to be or do most anything I want, without any fear whatsoever. I know from my Russian co-worker from Georgia (Russia), how his brother and sister vanished after attending a college rally in Moscow. He has never heard from or seen them again, so he defected to America with his wife, son and daughter and is now free. This is Russian freedom!
Jack C.


by: Jack C from: USA
April 17, 2014 12:52 PM
To Ukrainians Soldiers

It's very difficult to look into the faces of your citizens and say stop or I'll shoot. Police officers are faced with this dilemma many times in their careers, but for the good of the many it sometimes has to be done. Those hard liners who want to destroy Ukraine as a country, the pro Russian as they call themselves, have no intention of doing it through diplomatic channels. The have been schooled in the hard line methodology that says the bigger gun wins or the dead opponent is the looser. Free elections allow the majority to rule based on the majority vote. If 51% win, then they won the election and have controlling seats in government.

The remaining 49% must strive to change the future outcome through education and editorials expressing their viewpoints until they can obtain that 51% margin required to gain control. In America, we are faced with this dilemma many times and are patient in knowing that we can change things if we can convince the population that are way or or beliefs are better for the nation. This is not done at the point of a gun barrel.

So remember and ask yourself, what type of life do myself, my parents, my children or my wife want in the long term. Should they always have to be looking down the barrel of a gun to cast a vote. This is not freedom in any way shape or form. Sometimes hard choices have to be made to live in a truly free and democratic society.

Trust me, in America, many American's disapprove of some decisions our government makes, but we don't take up arms nor dose are government start shooting protesters. And by the way, our elected officials don't run off in the middle of the night to a neighboring country for protection. This results in the elected officials have to do exactly what Ukraine's parliament had to do, set up an intern government to keep things in operation and functioning properly. The old regime were nothing more then criminals in every way, shape or form. Yet Mother Russia accepted them with open arms, as comrades in crime and corruption. Support your current government until the May 25, 2014 elections and let the people speak.

An AMERICAN's point of view.

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