News / Europe

Rebels Fire on Ukrainian Ship at Sea

A pro-Russian separatist climbs atop an armored personnel carrier as he guards a position in the eastern Ukrainian town of Ilovaysk Aug. 31, 2014.
A pro-Russian separatist climbs atop an armored personnel carrier as he guards a position in the eastern Ukrainian town of Ilovaysk Aug. 31, 2014.
VOA News

Pro-Russian separatists have fired on a Ukrainian broader patrol ship in the Sea of Azov by firing artillery from the shore, and a Ukrainian military spokesman said a rescue operation was under way.

There is no information on how bad the damage is or if there are any casualties.

Spokesman Andriy Lysenko said the vessel was a naval cutter. There was no information on the number of people on board.

The pro-Russian rebels claimed responsibility for the attack near the city of Mariupol, located about 50 kilometers [30 miles] from the Russian border and about 35 kilometers from Novoazovsk, which was overtaken by pro-Russian rebels over the weekend.

The separatists have been fighting government forces since April in a conflict that has killed some 2,600 people, but this was the first naval attack of the war.

It came after rebel forces opened a new front in the fighting last week, breaking through to the Azov Sea in Ukraine's southeast.

“The militia have dealt the enemy their first naval defeat,” Igor Strelkov, a former separatist military commander, said on the social media network VKontakte.

Putin pushes statehood

Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling for immediate and substantive talks on statehood for southeastern Ukraine.

Putin said Sunday on state TV that such a move is needed "to protect the lawful interests of people" who live in the region.

Until now, Moscow has called for increased but still limited autonomy for eastern parts of Ukraine, where many Russian speakers live and where pro-Russian separatists are active.

European Union leaders meeting in Brussels say they have asked the European Commission for a list of new measures to take against Russia if it fails to reverse course in Ukraine.

A statement by the EU leaders demands that Russia "immediately withdraw all its military assets and forces from Ukraine." Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Russia denies it has troops in Ukraine.

Separatist leader Oleksandr Zakharchenko said Russian soldiers are there, but only as volunteers while on leave from the Russian army. NATO estimates at least 1,000 Russian troops are present inside Ukraine.

Arms for Ukraine

News of the attack came a short time after a prominent U.S. lawmaker said the United States and Europe should provide arms to Ukraine's military to combat what he called a Russian invasion.

Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, appeared on CNN television from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, on Sunday.

Menendez said "thousands" of Russian troops are in Ukraine supporting rebel separatists, and that the U.S., European Union and NATO "have to give the Ukrainians the fighting chance to defend themselves."

The Democrat from the northeastern state of New Jersey said he is not suggesting U.S. or NATO troops be sent to Ukraine.

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein told NBC television Sunday she believes the situation in Ukraine is deeply personal for Putin, and she said he may be calling the shots himself.

"People say, ‘Just wait till the sanctions bite and the economy slips.’ I don't think so. I think if Russians follow him, and … they are following him … the Russians are very brave and very long suffering, and they will tough out any economic difficulty," she said.

The Democrat, who represents the West Coast state of California and chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said senior U.S. officials, such as Secretary of State John Kerry, should be sent to talk directly with Putin.

EU sanctions

Also Sunday, the European Union threatened Russia with new sanctions if Moscow continues its military activity in eastern Ukraine.

But the EU is deeply divided on the severity of possible actions, as many of the 28 members of the European bloc are dependent upon Russian gas and trade.

EU leaders meeting in Brussels announced early Sunday after lengthy talks that they have asked the European Commission for a list to be prepared within a week of new measures to take against Russia if it fails to reverse course in Ukraine.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said, "The European Council says that it stands ready to take further significant steps in the light of the evolution of the situation on the ground and it requests the commission to urgently undertake preparatory work, together with [European External] Action Service and present proposals for consideration within, within a week."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Putin must act quickly to avoid new sanctions.

"There is very significant inflow of troops and material from the Russian side into Ukraine, into Ukrainian territory, which means that there is a significant escalation on the ground, at the same time we said, and this is the view of all the members of the European Council, that there cannot be a military solution to this conflict," said Merkel.

"And that is to say that all our efforts must go towards keeping the channel of communication open and to try time and again, as President [Petro] Poroshenko also pointed out, to bring about a mutually agreed cease-fire," she added.

'Serious situation'

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Russia must realize its relationship with the West has a bleak future it Moscow continues on its current path in eastern Ukraine.

"It is a deeply serious situation and we have to show real resolve, real resilience in demonstrating to Russia that if she carries on in this way, the relationship between Europe and Russia, Britain and Russia, America and Russia will be radically different in the future," said Cameron.

"They cannot go on in this way. We know from European history the danger of the territorial integrity of a nation state being threatened and undermined in this way and we have to send the clearest possible signal and tonight we have taken some important steps in doing just that," he said.

A joint statement by the EU leaders demanded Russia "immediately withdraw all its military assets and forces from Ukraine." 

Despite overwhelming evidence, Russia denies it has such forces in Ukraine.

While rebel leaders admit that Russian soldiers are fighting in Ukraine, separatist leader Zakharchenko insisted they are doing so as volunteers while on leave from the Russian army. 

Earlier in the week, NATO estimated at least 1,000 Russian troops are present inside Ukraine.

Economic backlash feared

New sanctions on Russia would require unanimity among EU leaders, and many are wary of taking strong measures in fear of an economic backlash.

The United States has expressed strong support for the latest European actions, saying in a statement Washington is "working closely with the EU and other partners to hold Russia accountable for its illegal actions in Ukraine, including through additional economic sanctions." 

U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to travel to Wales this week for a NATO summit that will address the crisis and formulate a strategy aimed at deterring what is widely seen as Russia's territorial overreach.

The NATO summit, which begins on Thursday, will also address the drawdown in Afghanistan.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 6
    Next 
by: Benjamin Anton from: Culver city ca
September 01, 2014 12:42 PM
The western leaders need to suck it up and admitt to us all that they flat out refuse to assist here. They need to stop pretending that they value freedom and confess that the almighty dollar rules when it comes to despising making. We as citizens must also face the facts that we are not willing to sacrifice from our plate either. The great generation shouldered rations and shortages at home so Europe could be free'd from tyranny. Ask yourselves, are you willing to make the same sacrifice for your fellow man? Be honest everyone!

by: HLCUkraine from: Tampa, Florida
September 01, 2014 8:02 AM
I am an American and live in the Ukraine. I am tired of the US/European hypocrisy, economics over values.The Ukraine should repeal their "Non Block" status and ask China for military assistance. How about a Communist ally in Europe? As I write I cannot believe I would ever say something like this!!!!!!!
My father must be rolling over in his grave.
In Response

by: June from: UK
September 01, 2014 2:00 PM
Only one problem, China are in bed with Russia trade wise. US and UK and also the EU want to wise up, stop worrying about what they might lose in trade and weigh that against the Freedom of our countries that is now threatened by this evil maniac

by: Ron from: Ukraine
September 01, 2014 3:31 AM
The boats were not taken out by separatists firing artillery. Home videos show the boats were bombed by low-flying aircraft. Are the separtists now flying jets over the Azov sea or was it Russian Air Force?

by: nubwaxer from: uranus
September 01, 2014 2:24 AM
i think iraq and ukraine could probably use all that military gear the pentagon gave to police departments that don't need it and should not have it.

by: TRUTH45 from: USA
September 01, 2014 12:48 AM
EU has to stop the LIP SERVICE, the stupid ultimatums to Russia and get to work by imposing swift and forceful sanctions.....they need to stop these non value meetings after meeting...PUTIN does not rake them seriously ...doesn't the EU know that by now....PUTIN knows the game...he knows the EU does not gave the will for tougher and much less to confront him...they look lime clowns with new meetings after meeting and ultimatum after ultimatum.....but no TEETH or seriousness ...just a stupid burocracy

by: Anonymous
September 01, 2014 12:35 AM
There fired no rebel but Russia's military!

by: Abi T. from: md
August 31, 2014 11:55 PM
Senator Dianne Feinstein is an excellent senator, let's hope her voice is heard so that lasting peace can be achieved and people who are brothers would stop killing each other.

by: alex from: australia
August 31, 2014 10:18 PM
I grew up in the USSR and left in 1977, Putin, a KGB Operativ still is just that and if anyone thinks that he can be anything other then, doesn't know the way KGB brainwashed their units. The west needs to wake up now or we have a war unlike we have seen before. Prevention is better then cure. Putin-Stalin same breed.

by: Anonymous
August 31, 2014 10:03 PM
Clearly this aggression indicates an act of war against the Ukrainian nation. The Ukrainian people should be guarded against these rebels by the world at all costs. Putin if proven involved should be jailed for his crimes. I think Putin needs to also be investigated for his participation of the deaths of so many Syrians as well. The Syrians mostly died by Russian weaponry by a ruthless criminal dictator. Anyone that helps these criminals should be treated as one themselves.

by: Anonymous
August 31, 2014 8:52 PM
Russian people should now overthrow Putin from power. He is doing nothing but seriously harming the Russian economy in the end. Any leader willing to risk the country they represent's economy over crap so stupid, should be removed from power. What Putin is doing is not harming himself, only the Russian people. Ousting Putin from Russian politics is the best solution for the world. Nobody I know that is Russian likes him at all, they think he is pathetic and can not be trusted whatsoever.
In Response

by: m from: Russia
August 31, 2014 11:02 PM
you foreigners have no right to tell us what to do, we do what we want and we want Ukraine crushed and Novorossiya freed
thats why we want putin as president in the first place and if you keep putting your hands in russian affairs we will destroy America and your israhell puppets
In Response

by: Anonymous
August 31, 2014 10:11 PM
He is a hero, america and NATO have done enough destruction in the world and someone needs to attempt to stop them... my hopes and wishes are that he succeeds. I do live in a western country and our involvement in ukraine will hurt our way of life but that is the price I am willing to pay In order for many other lives to be saved by us not bombing them to bring Democracy.
Comments page of 6
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More