News / Europe

Ukraine Troops Retake Rebel Stronghold

Ukrainian soldiers walk near a destroyed armored vehicle at Slovyansk, in eastern Ukraine, July 5, 2014.
Ukrainian soldiers walk near a destroyed armored vehicle at Slovyansk, in eastern Ukraine, July 5, 2014.
VOA News

Ukrainian troops have overtaken the rebel stronghold of Slovyansk in the country's east in a nighttime offensive, and President Petro Poroshenko ordered the armed forces to raise the Ukrainian flag over the city.

Meanwhile, there still was no reply Saturday from Russia or separatist leaders in Ukraine to Poroshenko's request for a new round of talks.

Officials and witnesses said the pro-Russian separatists evacuated Slovyansk Saturday after coming under mortar fire from government forces.They'd controlled the city of 100,000 since sezing administrative and police buildings in early April..

The government's retaking of the city marks a rare victory in Ukraine's struggle to quell the months-long rebellion.

“A significant number of militants have left Slovyansk ... along the way, our battle groups are greeting them. They are suffering losses and surrendering,'' Ukraine’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said on his Facebook page, Reuters reported Saturday.

The news service, citing Russia’s Interfax news agency, reported that the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic leader Aleksandr Borodai said, ``The punitive forces of Ukraine ... moved into a large-scale offensive. Given the disproportionate numerical superiority of the enemy troops, units of the armed forces of the Donetsk People's Republic were forced to leave their previous positions on the northern sector of the front.''

Another leader of the republic, Andrei Purgin, told the Associated Press the Ukraine government’s attacks had left Slovyansk “in ruins.”

The AP quoted Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko as telling journalists that government forces were intent on routing insurgents from the city: “Slovyansk is under siege. Now an operation is going on to neutralize small groups hiding in buildings where peaceful citizens are living.”

Insurgents also were seen departing Kramatorsk, a city 15 kilometers or 9 miles from Slovyansk. A Reuters reporter on Saturday reported witnessing “a convoy of around 20 military transport vehicles and buses filled with armed rebels driving out of Kramatorsk.”   

Poroshenko said he suggested a time and place for the talks during a Friday phone call with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. He said he was waiting for the other side to confirm.

The European Union and United States have threatened Russia with more sanctions if Moscow and the pro-Russian fighters do not take steps to de-escalate the crisis.

The fighting has picked up since Ukraine ended a unilateral cease-fire earlier in the week.


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Comment Sorting
by: gen from: japan
July 06, 2014 6:04 AM
The separatists retlieved for Russia.
They made a corridor for Russian army intervention.That is clever.

by: Lev Havryliv from: Sydney
July 06, 2014 2:45 AM
Russia is too afraid of Western sanctions to mount an overt invasion of Ukraine,but Putin is showing all signs that he is supporting and funding covert military actions in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Ukraine has every right to defend its independence and territorial integrity. The West should ramp up sanctions against Russia.

by: Arthur from: Kyiv
July 06, 2014 2:10 AM
The West appeared very weak to stand to Russia! EU is a mess and it will never be another USA! Ukraine is between rock and hard place - the West and Russia. Ukrainians want to change their mentality and make it more familiar with EU or USA. They showed it in 2004 during Orange revolution and now again. But if the western countries won't help,Ukraine will face a danger alone and after Ukraine will lose,the West breaks apart. That is the aim of Putin

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 05, 2014 10:01 PM
There is an underlying 'cause' that the Mexicans 'la rasa' wish to regain the territories they feel the US had taken from them, such as Texas, CA, etc. Yes, there are many pro-Mexicans living amongst us. They haven't taken up arms against us. But many wish they had the ability, not because they are scared, but because they just don't have the resources. What is so relevant about this and Ukraine? Thanks for asking. If the Mexican government started to heavily supply pro-Mexicans, in Texas, with weapons, tanks, anti-aircraft missiles, etc, and the pro-Mexicans had already taken most of Texas.................wouldn't this be an act of war DECLARED BY MEXICO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not picking on Mexicans, and please, not interested in discussing illegals! Just a light example here.

Wake up everybody! Come on! Russia has declared war on Ukraine, period. But not a single spineless media outlet, Fox included, has said point blank "RUSSIA HAS DECLARED WAR ON UKRAINE!" Soviet KGB Putin seems so relaxed and calm. He has a true friend with Obama at the helm of the free-world. ISIL, Ukraine, Boko Haram, but Obama is more concerned with speeches, cameras, selfies, and popularity polls. He is letting these nutcases destroy lives and nations! Sanctions! Are you kidding me? Sanctions!!! Yeah, sanctions really have these people fearing for their lives. Sanctions against Iran for decades............they will have a nuke people! Sanctions against North Korea, sanctions against Cuba, sanctions, sanctions!!! Sanctions have been proven to be the utmost lamest excuse for being weak and not to take action. That's like punishing California with no lattes or espressos! Relax CA, just kidding.

by: meanbill from: USA
July 05, 2014 12:08 PM
"He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious" .. "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu

THE WISE MAN said it; -- The enemy is more dangerous when he uses guerrilla warfare tactics against a superior force, and surrounds the countryside around the city his enemy controls now..... (and now)..., The pro-Russians don't have to protect anything now, but wage continuous guerrilla war, and using hit and run tactics, that the Ukraine army hasn't enough men to defend against..... and just maybe spread the conflict to western Ukraine, with hit and run terrorist attacks.....

REMEMBER? -- The Ukraine army can win all the battles, but lose this war, against the new guerrilla tactics they're not prepared to fight?..... The US should have warned the Ukraine government, on what happened to them in Afghanistan?..... And now, the pro-Russians have melted into the countryside in smaller guerrilla groups, to attack supply lines and other targets..... (the way the Russians fought the Nazi's in WW2), until the Nazi's were defeated, and ran?
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
July 05, 2014 6:30 PM
CRAZY isn't it?..... The Ukraine army knew where it's pro-Russian enemy was, and had them surrounded.... (and now), the Pro-Russian enemy now know where the Ukraine army is, and has it surrounded?..... With all the superior weapons, and unchallenged air superiority, (and on the advice of the US, and their Afghan experience), the Ukraine army decided to take a city that has no strategic value, and let the enemy lay roadside bombs, and mines, and ambushes, to any coming or going Ukraine troops from the city...... Yea, that's intelligent, isn't it?

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