News / Europe

Retreating Ukraine Rebels Dig In at Donetsk

Pro-Russian fighters man a checkpoint in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, July 7, 2014.
Pro-Russian fighters man a checkpoint in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, July 7, 2014.
VOA News

Pro-Russian separatists retreating ahead of a Ukrainian military offensive in eastern Ukraine dug in Monday in the city of Donetsk, building barricades and erecting checkpoints along main roads.

As Ukrainian forces pushed south from Slovyansk toward Donetsk, three bridges linking the two cities were destroyed in explosions.  

It was not clear whether rebels triggered the blasts to slow the Ukrainian offensive or if government troops targeted the structures in a push to keep supplies and arms from reaching rebels in the city.

Since Ukraine seized control of Slovyansk Saturday, Ukrainian defense officials have said they plan a full blockade of Donetsk and the nearby rebel-controlled city of Luhansk.  Separatists in both cities have declared independence from the Kyiv government and have sought to establish their own "people's republics."

The Kyiv government push to regain control of Ukraine's largely Russian-speaking east gained momentum last week, after President Petro Poroshenko refused to extend a unilateral cease-fire and ordered troops to advance.

In other developments, Russia's Itar-Tass news agency says Energy Minister Alexander Novak plans to meet next week with his European Union counterpart for natural gas supply talks.

Those talks would follow weeks of debate on how to resolve a dispute over how much Moscow charges Ukraine for gas supplies.  The payment stalemate resulted in Russia cutting off gas supplies to its energy-dependent neighbor last month. A series of three-way EU-brokered talks have since failed to resolve the crisis.

Russia and Ukraine have been embroiled in the energy standoff since April, when Moscow nearly doubled the price of gas to $480 per 1,000 cubic meters and Kyiv refused to pay the higher charges.

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Comment Sorting
by: Cayman
July 08, 2014 7:25 AM
Poroshenko is doing massive cleanup in the region of east Ukraine and not only because of the wish of political identity of the east cities! Because for the same kind of ideas people in Kiev was not murdered earlier! For Poroshenko destructions in this area is beneficial because it's the only part of Ukraine where they have shale gas and the people living in this area and the infrastructure interfere him! Because of it we see this shit happening there! Ukrainian government are not the people!

by: Not Again from: Canada
July 08, 2014 12:16 AM
Good to see that the national security forces of the Ukrainian state are regaining control over their territory. The need still exists, that each time before they engage in restoring law and order, in any specific area, they provide for the safeguarding of civilians. Safeguarding of civilians needs to be done by urging those opposing them to allow for the free exit of the civilians, and also for the opportunity of those that have taken control to surrender/lay down their weapons. These points are very important, for the conflict could turn very violent and end up in large numbers of civilian casualties, in last stand areas.
Giving a chance for civilians to exit, will demonstrate that the conflict is with the armed gangs and not regular people. At the end of the day, they will all need to continue living together. Not only the regional commanders, but tthe president should also be reinforcing these issues through the media in both languages.

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