News / Europe

19 Killed in Fierce Fighting Around Ukraine Crash Site

A convoy of International forensic experts, Dutch and Australian policemen and members of the OSCE mission in Ukraine approach Shakhtarsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, July 28, 2014.
A convoy of International forensic experts, Dutch and Australian policemen and members of the OSCE mission in Ukraine approach Shakhtarsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, July 28, 2014.
Reuters

Intense fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine killed at least 19 civilians, local officials said on Tuesday, as Kyiv pressed an offensive to close in on the separatists.

Ukrainian forces have been pushing rebel units back towards their two main urban strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk and have sought to encircle them in several places, including in the wider area where a Malaysian airliner crashed on July 17.

Officials said 14 people, including five children, were killed in fighting on Monday evening in the town of Gorlovka/Horlivka, one of several spots that saw fierce battles between the rival forces in the last few days.

In the city of Luhansk, officials said five civilians were killed when shelling hit a retirement home.

“The enemy is throwing everything it has into the battle to complete encirclement of the DNR,” rebel commander Igor Strelkov told journalists in Donetsk on Monday evening, referring to the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People's Republic”.

“We were astonished by how much amour they threw into this battle,” said Strelkov, a Russian national, sporting a camouflage T-shirt and trousers.

Rebel claims

A rebel source in Donetsk said reinforcements including military equipment and fighters had crossed the nearby border with Russia into Ukraine. Reuters was not able to confirm that independently.

Rebel leaders insist publicly that Moscow is not supplying them. Russia also denies Western accusations that it is supporting the rebellion with arms and troops.

Leaders of the United States and major European powers agreed in a teleconference on Monday to impose wider sanctions on Russia's banking, technology and arms sectors over its alleged backing for the separatists.

The rebels say 7,400 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or injured since Kyiv launched what it calls its “anti-terrorist” operation against separatists in the east in early May. Kyiv puts the toll at fewer than 1,500.

A humanitarian corridor was due to open in Luhansk for six hours on Tuesday to allow residents to flee the fighting, but officials said they could not guarantee full safety.

The United Nations says more than 100,000 people have already fled Ukraine's tumultuous east.

Fighting blocks crash site access

A team of international experts including 38 Dutch and 12 Australian police will try to get to the plane crash site for a third day on Tuesday after fighting in the rebel-held area forced them to turn back on Sunday and Monday.

Fighting has impeded recovery of some of the remains from flight MH17 and undermined a probe that will be crucial as Kiev and the West trade recriminations with Moscow over the downing of the Boeing airliner. All 298 people on board were killed.

The international experts said if and when they get to the crash site, spread over a large area of fields, their first priority would be to recover any remaining body parts and then remove personal belongings from the area.

The Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe, the first international body to get several experts to the site after the plane went down, was negotiating an access corridor overnight with both rebels and Ukrainian troops.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Not Again from: Canada
July 29, 2014 4:50 PM
The humanitarian evacuation corridors should be monitored by OSCE, or other international orgs, to assure that civilians are allowed free passage; and to ensure that the terrorists are not preventing people from leaving.
Most of the time terrorists hold civilians as hostages and use them as shields. There have been reports of mass graves and numerous people, especially pro-Ukraine persons, being arbitrarly apprehended, followed by their disappearance, in terrorist controlled areas. Sometimes terrorists agree to evacuation corridors for the sole purpose of identifying civilians that do not hold the terrorits' views, thus an evacuation corridor, if not staffed by independent observers, becomes the end time for innocent civilians that do not support terrorists. It is vclear that the safety of civilians is not a priority for the dastardly terrorists, after all they did shoot down MH17.
Upon the evacuation, the civilians need to be interviewed to find out if any one obstructed them, and if they witnessed any apprehensions by the terroristst, while their memories are fresh... all of this is very serious work that needs to be done to prevent massacres of civilians.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs