News / Europe

    More Ukrainian Soldiers Killed; France, Germany Press Putin

    • Ukrainian troops are pictured near Slovyansk, July 11, 2014.
    • A Ukrainian rocket launcher is seen near the eastern Ukrainian city of Seversk, July 11, 2014.
    • Ukrainian paratroopers sit on top an APC in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, July 10, 2014.
    • Pro-Russian separatist fighters from the so-called Battalion Vostok (East) sit in a truck as they leave a base in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, July 10, 2014.
    • A woman walks past a building damaged by shelling in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, July 10, 2014.
    • Buildings damaged by a recent shelling are seen in the eastern Ukrainian village of Semenovka, July 9, 2014.
    • People wait for humanitarian medical aid near the mayor's office in Soavyansk, Ukraine, July 9, 2014.
    • Local citizens collect potatoes distributed by the Ukrainian army in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, July 9, 2014.
    • An armed man stands guard as people wait for humanitarian medical aid near the mayor's office in Slovyansk, Ukraine, July 9, 2014.
    Images from Ukraine
    VOA NewsReuters

    Ukrainian forces regained more ground but sustained further casualties on Thursday in clashes with separatists, while two Western allies urged Russia's Vladimir Putin to exert more pressure on the rebels to find a negotiated end to the conflict.

    Government forces have recently gained the upper hand in the three-month conflict against separatists in the Russian-speaking eastern regions in which more than 200 government troops have been killed as well as hundreds of civilians and rebel fighters.

    The Ukrainian military says it has a plan to deliver a “nasty surprise” to the heavily-armed separatists who have dug in in Donetsk, a city of 900,000 people, after being pushed out of their bastion in Slovyansk over the weekend.

    In a further success, military spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov said government forces on Thursday re-took the town of Siversk, east of Slovyansk, when separatists fled.

    A separatist confirmed the government's version saying it was “more or less correct.” “There was no sense in holding [Siversk] and reinforcing it because there was a big risk of being encircled.”

    But casualties mounted on the Ukrainian side with the deaths of three more Ukrainian soldiers in two attacks on Wednesday night in different parts of the east, the military said.

    One was killed in an ambush of a military convoy near Luhansk, while two others died when an armored personnel carrier was blown up by a landmine in the village of Chervona Zorya near Donetsk.

    Government forces guarding Donetsk's main international airport, scene of bitter fighting in late May, came under mortar fire on Thursday but the rebel attack was repelled, Seleznyov said.

    Reports of torture

    Amnesty International says it has "graphic and compelling evidence" of beatings and torture in eastern Ukraine, and it says armed pro-Russian separatists are responsible for the bulk of the violence.

    In a report late Thursday, the rights group says victims are "often subjected to stomach turning beatings and torture."  It also says there is evidence of a smaller number of abuses by pro-Kyiv forces.

    The report says the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission for Ukraine has recorded 222 abductions since April, when separatists seeking autonomy in the east launched their rebellion against the Kyiv government.

    Amnesty says abductions have taken place across eastern Ukraine targeting police and local officials.  It also cites violence against journalists, politicians, activists, business people and members of electoral commissions.

    The report also cites recent Ukrainian military gains in the east, and says captives held by separatists are now being freed by Ukrainian forces almost daily.  It says the number of "disturbing" cases is increasing as pro-Kyiv forces gain more ground and free more captives.  It also says those cases are being "meticulously" documented and that perpetrators will be brought to justice.

    Putting onus on Putin

    In further international diplomacy to end the worst Russia-West crisis since the Cold War, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Putin by telephone to “exert all necessary pressure on the separatists to bring them to negotiate effectively,” an Elysee Palace statement said.

    They also asked him to use his influence to take concrete steps to ensure control of the border where, the Kyiv government says, Russian authorities have been turning a blind eye to fighters crossing with weapons and equipment to help the rebels.

    Moscow protested to Kyiv on Thursday after it said Ukrainian military fired on a Russian border checkpoint. The Foreign Ministry said it was not the first time the border post at Gukovo had come under fire.

    Moscow is under sanctions by the United States and the European Union over the Ukraine crisis but denies it is supporting the rebels in the Russian-speaking east of Ukraine.

    Russia on Thursday condemned a European Union plan to extend the list of persons, including Russians, targeted with asset freezes and travel bans as an unfriendly move that would hinder ties with the 28-nation bloc.

    The EU has agreed to add 11 new names to the list likely to take effect on Saturday, an EU diplomat said on Wednesday.

    The rebellions began in April after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula following the overthrow of a Moscow-backed president by mass street protests in Kyiv.

    Ukraine's border guard service reported that six Russian helicopters had flown some distance over the border into Ukraine on Wednesday and then returned home in what it described as “direct provocations in support of the terrorists.”

    In its version of the three-way telephone call, the Kremlin said the three leaders had agreed on the need for a “swift renewal” of the ceasefire and another round of peace talks involving the “contact group” and separatist leaders.

    New fighters

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko refused to prolong a 10-day unilateral ceasefire when it expired on June 30 and ordered a resumption of the military offensive against the rebels resulting in Slovyansk being re-taken over the weekend.

    His security chiefs say the rebels repeatedly breached the government's unilateral ceasefire, resulting in many Ukrainian military deaths, and have ruled out any more such truces until the rebels lay down their arms.

    Rebels in Donetsk, commanded by a Russian military adventurer called Igor Girkin or Strelkov, say they are recruiting new fighters to resist government forces.

    Buoyed by the success in Slovyansk, Ukrainian security officials say they have a plan ready to crush the rebels in Donetsk though Poroshenko has ruled out air strikes and artillery bombardment because of the large civilian population.

    The separatists are occupying administrative buildings in both Donetsk and Luhansk and are dug in on the outskirts of Donetsk.

    Thousands of people have fled Donetsk, a major industrial hub and Euro-2012 football site, since the onset of the conflict and many businesses are closing down.

    With armed men out on the streets, tension is growing in the city. Several social groups came together on Thursday to call on townspeople to join in a daily prayer session at noon every day from next Monday.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: meanbill from: USA
    July 10, 2014 11:26 AM
    RUMOR HAS IT? ... that Putin was sending an engineering team to the US, (to study how the US sealed their border with Mexico), to keep illegal immigrants, and criminals out of the US, and would build the same kind of fence the US has, on the Ukraine border? .... Obama is going to show the Russians, how the US does it, (step by step), the Obama way?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.