News / Europe

Some Ukrainian Rebels Vent Frustration with Putin

A pro-Russian fighter gestures near a body of a community service worker who was killed during the shelling outside a residential apartment house in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, July 29, 2014.
A pro-Russian fighter gestures near a body of a community service worker who was killed during the shelling outside a residential apartment house in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, July 29, 2014.
Reuters

Western leaders may be Vladimir Putin's biggest critics over the conflict in east Ukraine but the Russian leader is also facing criticism from some of the rebels they accuse him of arming.

The European Union and the United States have imposed new sanctions on Russia because they say Putin has not done enough to persuade the pro-Russian separatists to stop fighting and is supplying them with weapons.

But there is also frustration with Putin among some of the fighters, even though a rebellion that began with assault rifles, hunting guns and old weapons now has multiple rocket launchers, self-propelled howitzers, armored vehicles and tanks.

Donetsk and Luhansk, UkraineDonetsk and Luhansk, Ukraine

​Squeezed by the Ukrainian army into their last two strongholds, the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, the rebels complain they are outnumbered and outgunned.

“Oh, how we would like to see the Russian army here,” said a fighter who gave his name only as Pavel, standing outside the rebel headquarters in Donetsk, an industrial city about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of the nearest border crossing with Russia.

“If they were here, the Ukrainian border would be 300 km away to the west and south. But they're not coming.”

Despite the denials of other rebels, he said the separatists were receiving military equipment, including multiple missile launchers, from Russia.

“But that's only a fraction of what we need. We need people, experienced people. But Putin is afraid of spending Russian funds and his oligarchs' funds,” he said.

Another rebel fighter, who declined to give his name, also voiced frustration with Moscow.

“Russia must enter Novorossiya,” he said, using the name - which means New Russia - that Putin himself has at times used for the regions in eastern Ukraine where the separatists have risen up against Kyiv's rule.

“This is Russian soil, and every day they waste waiting [to send in arms and personnel] means more deaths,” he said. “We feel somewhat as if we are Russia's cannon fodder.”

It is not clear how widespread such disenchantment is among the rebels, and none of those who voiced criticism was prepared to give their full names for fear of retribution.

Appeal for help

The leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, some of whom are Russian, dismiss talk of divisions in the ranks, including over Russia's role in the crisis.

But in May, Igor Girkin, a rebel commander who also goes by the name of Igor Strelkov, appealed for military assistance in comments that were widely viewed online.

There was no public response from Putin, and the rebel leadership has since said all the fighters' weapons come from military depots they seized in fighting.

The rebel leaders have sought to douse expectations that there will be any overt response.

“We are receiving constant political and humanitarian support from Russia ... Political support is the most important one,” said Vladimir Antyufeyev, one of the top rebel officials.

“We would want to see that kind of (military) aid from Russia, but there will be none,” he told a news conference.

Such comments have prompted grumbling by some of the rebels since a big push began by the Ukrainian army, forcing the separatists out of several towns including the city of Slaviansk, which had been one of their main strongholds.

Some of the Ukrainians who still hold prominent positions in the rebel ranks have also at times quietly criticized the Russians brought in to lead the rebellion.

“There are indications that some groups feel betrayed by Moscow not doing enough,” a senior U.S. official said on condition of anonymity. “I do think it's fair to say that there are divisions in those ranks.”

Washington says the weapons flow from Russia increased dramatically several weeks ago in response to the government forces' successes.

The army's latest advances in eastern Ukraine have come since a Malaysian airliner was brought down on July 17 in rebel-held territory, killing all 298 people on board'

Moscow says Kyiv's military campaign was to blame for the crash. The United States says the rebels probably shot the plane down by mistake with a Russian-made SA-11 ground-to-air missile.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Vera Aronoff from: Seattle WA
July 30, 2014 2:54 PM
The history of Russia is the history of the country trying to grab somebodies territories. The problem with the West that they are sitting on two chairs. If they are strongly put Putin as aggressor and were strong with sanctions from the very beginning , he would know the consequences. The main mistake was made in 2008, Georgian war. Russian aggressors should be sued in Gaaga, then nothing would be happened to Ukraine.

The hateful Russian propaganda and unfortunately Russian people became victims of so called Goebbels propaganda. It's time to say strongly to Putin and his cronies: enough is enough, stop fooling your people and the free world. If it goes like now , we will be close to the third world war. The Soviet Union was in some case guilty of the second world war. Playing games with Hitler and week position of the West brought the whole world to the second world war. Russian people, stop thinking you are the best , you are the strongest, that your leaders can do what ever they want to do, help peace loving people to stop your aggression in Ukraine.
In Response

by: slavko
July 30, 2014 11:52 PM
very aptly stated!!

by: JohnTurnbull from: UK
July 30, 2014 2:42 PM
How about some sanctions agains the US for not doing enough to prevent the butchery in Gaza?

by: DellStator from: US
July 30, 2014 2:25 PM
Russia not keeping it's word? Who would have imagined? Anyone who ever did business with Russia (just fined 50 billion Euros for nationalizing the countries biggest oil co, when it's owner annoyed the government) (defaulted on it's bonds back in the 90's - totally, completely defaulted, yet investors still buy Russian bonds, big interest, just like when they defaulted).
In Response

by: Denno from: Australia
August 01, 2014 2:28 AM
Looks like you have all fallen for the Western MSM, under the control of US/UK/Israeli moguls, propaganda campaign to blame & defame Russia without a shred of evidence to support their accusations that the "rebels" & thus Russia brought down MH17! Even the "so called" video evidence of a BUK M1 battery supplied by Russia, shown to be returning to Russia, was withdrawn by Kiev because it was proven bogus! It was actually proven to be their own BUK batteries in territory held by Ukraine. Further more the satellite and radar imagery that Russia provided proves that there was at least one Ukrainian SU-25 fighter rapidly ascending towards MH17 just before it was shot down by the fighter jet which is also consistent with the LHS MH17 cockpit wreckage being riddled with 30mm inward facing holes along with outward going slashes and hacks consistent with the SU-25's 30mm explosive & armour piercing rounds being fired at the cockpit rather than claims without any evidence that it was a centre hit proximity fuse missile like the BUK's. None of the large pieces of fuselage show any signs of a missile strike but rather a break-up due to 500km hour air being forced into the fuselage after the cockpit was blown off! Why hasn't the US shown their satellite footage of what happened, they have it as one of their spy satellites was directly above Ukraine at the time & no doubt monitoring the Ukraine/Russian border very carefully. Even the CIA publicly stated that Russia had no direct involvement in the shoot down. The article says, quote "The United States says the rebels probably shot the plane down by mistake", yes the US says anything to promote their agenda without any evidence. I believe that is commonly called "propaganda", while Russia has provided evidence in defence & pointing to Ukraine having shot the airliner down with their fighter jets. So get your heads out of the sand, stop swallowing everything the MSM spouts as they are simply the US's propaganda machine used to sway public opinion!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
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 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.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

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