News / Europe

    Pro-Russia Rebels Kill 14 Ukraine Troops as Crucial Poll Nears

    Ukrainian soldiers ride atop an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) near the site where pro-Russia rebels killed Ukrainian servicemen in the outskirts of the eastern Ukrainian town of Volnovakha, south of Donetsk May 22, 2014.
    Ukrainian soldiers ride atop an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) near the site where pro-Russia rebels killed Ukrainian servicemen in the outskirts of the eastern Ukrainian town of Volnovakha, south of Donetsk May 22, 2014.
    VOA News
    Ukraine's acting president says 13 service members were killed when pro-Russian separatists attacked a military checkpoint in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region.

    President Oleksandr Turchnyov said Thursday the soldiers who died in the overnight attack near the town of Volnovakha "gave their lives for Ukraine."  

    He said the separatists attacked the checkpoint using mortars, grenade launchers and heavy automatic weapons.

    Officials in the Donetsk regional administration said 16 people died in the attack, but they did not specify whether all those killed were government soldiers. They said 32 people were injured.

    Another government serviceman was killed overnight in the neighboring Luhansk region.

    Reacting to the latest violence and other reported incidents on Ukraine’s border with Russia, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

    “We will provide proof that it is the Russian side that bears responsibility for attempts to escalate the conflict… and to undermine presidential elections,” he said at a military installation outside Kyiv.

    Russia accused Kyiv of stepping up military operations in eastern Ukraine and failing to implement measures to end the crisis.
    Ukrainian businessman, politician and presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko (L) meets his supporters during his election rally in the city of Kryvyi Rih May 17, 2014.Ukrainian businessman, politician and presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko (L) meets his supporters during his election rally in the city of Kryvyi Rih May 17, 2014.
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    Ukrainian businessman, politician and presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko (L) meets his supporters during his election rally in the city of Kryvyi Rih May 17, 2014.
    Ukrainian businessman, politician and presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko (L) meets his supporters during his election rally in the city of Kryvyi Rih May 17, 2014.


    Confectionery magnate and former foreign minister Petro Poroshenko, 48, remains the clear front-runner in the presidential race, according to opinion polls. Some surveys suggest he could garner the more than 50 percent of votes needed to win the election in the first round.

    Kyiv and Western countries hope the poll will help legitimize Ukraine’s new government following the ouster in February, after months of protests, of pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych, and help stabilize the situation in the country.

    The U.S. and the European Union say they will impose broader sanctions on Russia if it tries to derail the vote.

    Russian troop movements
     
    Also Thursday, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said there was some Russian troop activity near the Ukrainian border that "may suggest some of these forces are preparing to withdraw."
     
    Western countries have protested Russia's deployment of tens of thousands of troops to the area, expressing concern Russia may be preparing an invasion after annexing Crimea in March.
     
    Russian officials have said multiple times in the past few weeks that the troops would pull back from the border.
     
    Rasmussen said Thursday on Twitter that he hoped the troop movements were the start of a "full and genuine withdrawal," but also cautioned that most of the Russian forces remained near the border.
     


    He called on Russia to meet its international commitments, particularly in view of Sunday’s elections in Ukraine.

    NATO’s military chief, meanwhile, said that that despite the recent movements, Russian forces on Ukraine’s border remained “very large” and threatening.

    “[It's] too early to know where they are moving to or how many of them are moving, but what we do know is the force that remains on the border is very large and very capable and it remains in a very coercive posture,"  U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, told a news conference.

    Meanwhile, Russia's Defense Ministry said Thursday that 20 trains and 15 planes full of troops have been moved out of the border area with Ukraine.

    Russia feeling economic pressure

    In another sign of the effects of Western pressure on Russia over Ukraine, many foreign investors are snubbing Moscow by boycotting a high-profile economic summit underway in St. Petersburg.

    Billed as Russia’s response to the annual forum in Davos, Switzerland, this year’s event is being shunned by many major Western companies, with some having sent only lower-level executives or none at all.

    In an apparent damage control effort, the Kremlin reportedly sent a confidential email to loyal and state-run news organizations advising them to accentuate the growing participation of Asian investors and the quality of discussions at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

    Speaking on the sidelines of the forum, a ranking Russian official admitted that “informal” Western pressure is having an effect.

    “…the informal character of the pressure, which is being exerted by the United States and countries of the European Union, it is all causing serious consequences for our economy,” said First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, according to RIA news agency.

    Prince Charles ‘Hitler’ comment fallout

    Meanwhile, Russia blasted Britain’s Prince Charles Thursday for reportedly likening President Vladimir Putin to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.

    “[For] members the of the British royal family to spread the propaganda campaign against Russia on a pressing issue - that is, the situation in Ukraine - as unacceptable, outrageous and low,'' Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said at a news conference.

    He added that Moscow was seeking an official explanation from Britain.

    During a visit to Canada, in conversation with a Jewish woman who fled Poland during World War II, Prince Charles said that “Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler,” Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper reported.

    Some informatino for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.
     

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: billybob from: Craptown, usa
    May 25, 2014 4:31 AM
    "THEY GAVE THEIR LIVES for Ukraine". What a load of cap. They gave their lives to satanic bankers that Ukraine could be robbed blind.

    by: Huang Jun from: China
    May 23, 2014 12:07 AM
    Bravo. Hey Eastern Ukainians, those western backed fascists must be dealt with without mercy. Chinese history has proved this.

    by: Igor from: Russia
    May 23, 2014 12:00 AM
    Prince Charles's insolent statement about Mr. Putin is an acceptable, which shows humble nature of an uneducated guy.

    by: paul hynes from: uk
    May 22, 2014 12:15 PM
    putin orchestrating the violence in ukraine supplying weapons to civilians and has his own special forces on the ground time for stronger action from the international community before there is civil war and the eventual break up of ukraine

    by: Alex from: Russia
    May 22, 2014 11:57 AM
    correct title: "Pro-Kolomoysky terrorists Kill 14 infidel Ukraine Troops"

    by: cannon fodder from: maine
    May 22, 2014 10:32 AM
    It's good to know that a bunch of untrained peasants have the ability and training to attack and kill so many trained soldiers in a defense position. Oh, and they had state of the art weapons they found in the street - what a lucky coincidence.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    May 22, 2014 1:18 PM
    REMEMBER the few thousand guys riding donkeys, wearing nightshirts, gym shoes and sandals, that defeated the greatest military force in the history of the world in Afghanistan? -- REMEMBER Genghis Khan who couldn't read or write his own language, and was the greatest conquer of all time, that conquered more countries and peoples than anybody else -- (AND?) -- and he ruled over them, not knowing their languages nor his.. __ CRAZY isn't it?

    by: meanbill from: USA
    May 22, 2014 9:44 AM
    RUSSIAN TROOPS? -- "Make yourself look like you are withdrawing when you are planning to attack, and act like you are going to attack when you are withdrawing" -- from the book, "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu...

    The US and NATO haven't a clue, on what the Russian troops are planning to do? -- And after Russia took Crimea without losing a single man? --- You'd think the US and NATO would read "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu, (where it's written) "Know your enemy and know yourself, and you can win a hundred battles without losing a single man" ... (HELLO?)

    by: Fsa from: Berlin
    May 22, 2014 9:43 AM
    Ukrainians want to be a part of EU and USA friend,but we betrayed them. For us,trading with Russia is more important than whole nation of Ukraine. Putin tries to destabilize not Ukraine only but the whole EU.

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