News / Europe

    Rebels Claim Shoot Down of Ukrainian Transport, 4 Crew Captured

    A Ukrainian army soldier looks on as local residents leave the village of Metalist near the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk July 11, 2014.
    A Ukrainian army soldier looks on as local residents leave the village of Metalist near the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk July 11, 2014.
    VOA News

    Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have claimed responsibility for shooting down a Ukrainian military transport plane, and say four crew members have been taken prisoner.

    Russia's Interfax news agency on Monday quoted separatists in the rebel-held city of Luhansk as saying the captives are in the border city of Krasnodon and undergoing interrogation.

    Details of the shootdown were not clear late Monday.  Interfax quoted the Ukrainian Defense Ministry as saying eight people were aboard the aircraft, which was carrying food and drinking water to personnel at checkpoints in the war-scarred east.  

    The ministry also said the plane was flying too high above Luhansk to have been hit by conventional surface-to-air missiles, prompting speculation that rebels either used more powerful Russian missiles, or that the plane was hit by Russian missiles from Russian territory

    Ukraine on Monday accused Russian army officers of fighting alongside separatists in the country’s east.

    “Information has ... been confirmed that Russian staff officers are taking part in military operations against Ukrainian forces,” President Petro Poroshenko said.

    Poroshenko voiced similar complaints about Russian incursions on Sunday to the European Union presumably in hopes of pushing the bloc to exert greater pressure on Moscow in the form of expanded sanctions.

    His office said Kyiv would provide documents offering proof of incursions from Russia to the international community through diplomatic channels.

    Moscow has been denying that is supporting the rebels with personnel or equipment.

    Reuters video on Monday also showed Ukrainian armored vehicles destroyed in an attack near Luhansk.

    After a campaign to break through the perimeter of Luhansk over the weekend, Ukraine's Defense Ministry claims government troops are in control of villages around the rebel-held city of about 428,000 people.

    Locator map of Luhansk, UkraineLocator map of Luhansk, Ukraine
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    Locator map of Luhansk, Ukraine
    Locator map of Luhansk, Ukraine


    Meeting with security chiefs on Monday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russian military officers of fighting alongside rebels to strengthen separatist forces in the country's east. He added that a new Russian missile system was being used against Ukraine forces.

    The latest Ukrainian push to regain control of the Russian-speaking east came as Moscow blamed its neighbor for the cross-border artillery shelling death of a Russian civilian.

    The Kremlin threatened Ukraine with "irreversible consequences" for the death, which Moscow said came from an errant artillery shell.  Ukraine has denied involvement, and said the shelling may have been the work of provocateurs seeking to trigger a Russian response.

    Renewed Russian troop build-up?

    Meanwhile, Ukraine has again accused Russia of a renewed troop build-up along its border, with separatists backed by “mercenaries” firing on Ukrainian border guards in attempts to resupply fighters with equipment from Russia, a Ukrainian security spokesman said.

    Saying that Russia was embarking on a course of escalation in Ukraine's east, National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko told journalists: "In the past 24 hours, deployment of [Russian] units and military equipment across the border from the Sumy and Luhansk border points was noticed. The Russian Federation continues to build up troops on the border.''

    "The events of the last few days show that the Russian side has embarked on a course of escalation of the conflict in the Donbas,'' he said, using the Ukrainian name for the industrial heartland in the country’s east.

    Meanwhile, NATO is confirming that Russia has continued to build up troops along its border with Ukraine. According to current alliance assessments, Russia now has between 10,000 and 12,000 troops in the area, up from below 1,000 in mid-June, a NATO official told VOA. 

    Forces include a wide range of combat capabilities, including infantry, armored forces and tanks, artillery, logistics and supply personnel and vehicles, as well as special forces, the official said.

    Fighting has surged in the east since the Ukrainian government refused to renew a unilateral cease-fire June 30.  Since then, Ukrainian forces have driven pro-Moscow rebels out of several cities, including Slovyansk, which was their main stronghold.

    Kyiv and many Western countries accuse Russia of fueling the insurgency in an effort to destabilize Ukraine following the ouster of its pro-Moscow president and Kyiv’s pursuit of a pro-Western course.

    VOA's Jeff Seldin contributed to this report. Some information provided by Reuters.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: matt from: usa
    July 16, 2014 2:31 PM
    Both sides are causing civilian casualities. These so called rebels need to leave....if you want Russia then just move to Russia and leave Ukraine alone

    by: Guilt laden westerner from: england
    July 15, 2014 11:04 AM
    How are the Ukraine government getting away with shelling citizens without the UN saying a word ? Who do Ukraine think they are Israel ? I thought god only gave the Israeli rights to bomb innocent civilians .. If it was a middle eastern country doing this we would have sent in troops and slaughtered the lot of them and left a spineless EU representative as Ukraines new president... Just goes to show with all the EU's talk about rights /fairness and democracy they are really only interested in money and power .. Russia should just take over the Ukraine .. At least they can be trusted to abide by the worlds laws ..
    In Response

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    July 16, 2014 4:39 AM
    Wow, are you a comedian? "At least Russia can be trusted to abide by the world's laws." I am still laughing and rolling on the floor. Best joke of the century!

    After all, that nice guy Putin did arm and supply those rebels, breaking every international laws!!! A lot of those laws were written by Russian lawyers. Bet you didn't know that. Let me expound....................

    During the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia (Gorbachev) needed protection for foreign invaders (like Ukraine, wanting revenge!) form chopping up Russia. Hmmmmm, you didn't wonder why Gorbachev was buddy-buddy with Reagan, did you? So, Gorbachev's lawyers helped to write the 'non-aggression' pacts to prevent such things from happening. So, EU, UN, USA, and China assured Russia would make a peaceful transition from Soviet to Russia. The superpowers of the world at this time assured Russia that countries like Ukraine would not arm rebels within Russia to continue the decline of Russia's survival.

    But more curiously, why are you 'guilt ladened?' Care to enlighten us with that screen name?
    In Response

    by: DellStator from: USA
    July 15, 2014 1:25 PM
    The UN has asked in this as in all instances of war, that instead cease fires and negotiations take place. The Ukraine asked many times to negotiate. EVERY time the "miltants" replied that they will never negotiate. The reason is now clear why they can't negotiate, they are Russian Mercenaries and their masters in Moscow ordered it so, and remind the leader of the every time he goes back to Moscow to pick up up his latest paycheck, which seems to be at least once a month.

    Dosen't trust direct deposit? Though now the mercs have started to rob banks too to supplement their pay which they now admit too and that it is a paltry $600 US a month (Economy must be bad in Russia if you'll sell your life for just that). As to the civilians, most either voted for these mercs to take over, or didn't bother showing up at pro Ukranian rallies, didn't support gov't efforts to retake areas enough to disuade Russia from pumping in mercs, tanks, and rockets. I do feel sorry for those that tried to support the Ukraine and hope the Ukraine will make an effort to support them in their efforts to escape the Russian Mercs reign of terror.

    by: snowden from: moscow
    July 15, 2014 8:43 AM
    Ukraine suffered a coup d'etat, brought about by the CIA and US causing instability and rebellion in the Ukraine. The resulting government was no more or less legitimate than the eastern provinces that declared sovereignty. What would the US do if Russia attempted to incite Mexico into rebellion, followed by propping up the government there as pro-Russia? Of course that wouldn't fly, yet somehow here we are with the US's fingers all over Ukraine and Russia is supposed to roll over and play dead? Give me a break.

    by: redea from: dubai
    July 15, 2014 8:14 AM
    I can only imagine what the US would do if shells land in Florida across the ocean from Cuba. Why is the US creating trouble in Russia's backyard and then crying foul if Russia responds by to stray shells from Ukraine. The leaked Nuland conversation clearly showed who is stirring things covertly and overtly.
    In Response

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    July 16, 2014 5:10 AM
    It's hysterical that nothing in these reports, about Russia attacking Ukraine, had anything to do with the US, at all! But USA haters like you, only wish to cover this Putin planned invasion of Ukraine as America's fault. But you live in Dubai, and your economy sucks! That's America's fault too. It's America's fault that Dubai over built so many skyscrapers, that many are empty! And your souks have become just as pricey and expensive as your malls, which I did have fun skiing in the Dubai Mall of the Emirates. And the Giant Ball run was a blast!!!! I bet you work at Ratsky's, don't you? You know, at the Karama Hotel? I saw you there! ......... Liar! hehe Loved the mini-skirt!

    I would say you have lost your mind, but you will need to possess one first. Take care.

    by: Teri from: Turkey
    July 15, 2014 1:29 AM
    Russia is out of control. Now,Russia is a main aggressor and must punished! EU must not buy Russia 's gas!

    by: gen from: japan
    July 14, 2014 11:36 PM
    Russia said only cease-fire in east Ukraine.Proshenko's attack order caused all the trouble.
    In Response

    by: stski from: csnada
    July 15, 2014 10:29 AM
    Incorrect. Russia has caused all of the trouble. The invaded Crimea and Lili-putin lied that it was russian troops. He is doing the same in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine has the right to defend itself. Let us get something clear-my house has a backyard and it belongs to me! This is not Putins backyard. It is Ukraines and it has the right to kick anyone it wants of it.

    by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
    July 14, 2014 2:36 PM
    Too bad the West has clearly left Ukraine for the obvious worst in the hands of Russia know quite well Russia see a no challenge by the EU and US not even a strong unified sanction is visible to save lives before things gets worst.

    by: Tina from: France
    July 14, 2014 2:02 PM
    Russia must be punished!!! Ukraine want to be part of the West!!!
    In Response

    by: Guilt Laden Westerner from: England
    July 15, 2014 11:06 AM
    obviously not as half the country has declared independance to escape the West ... They are dying in their droves not to be close to the West ..
    In Response

    by: Hank from: Mariupol, Ukraine
    July 15, 2014 2:49 AM
    It's not a war between Russia and Ukraine. It's a war between internetional financial groups. Russia is just one party. One of at least 10! The UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT COULD HAVE SAVED HUNDREDS OF LIVES IF IT SIGNED A SET OF TREATIES WITH SO-CALLED SEPARATISTS. But the government isn't interested in peace 'cause the West gives money for war. And this money is stealed by the officials. Yanukovich has gone but nothing has changed!

    by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
    July 14, 2014 12:45 PM
    The insinuations about Russian rockets and Russian military officers involved sound like paranoia. Can they give hard evidence or are there just suspicions and assumptions? But one thing is absolute: after the errant artillery shell from Ukraine to the Russian soil was lost life of a Russian national. The Kremlin threatened Ukraine with "irreversible consequences" for the death after the errant artillery shell. According the Russian Constitution, the Russian government is indebted to defend lives of their nationals. Even more, the world got accustomed with the attitude of Israeli government “tit for tat” to Palestinian provocations.

    The same approach was proclaimed and executed by Petro Poroshenko when his plane heavily bombarded separatists for their earlier attack.
    SO, WHY IS THIS CRY AND HYSTERIC about Russian officers? All possible means are justified in order to protect Russian territory and Russian nationals.
    It is a laughing stock when Ukraine has denied involvement in the errant artillery shell. Now Russian satellites with hard evidence are determining what unit of the Ukranian Army was responsible for the death of the Russian national.

    How naive sounds Ukraine when it explains that the shelling may have been the work of provocateurs seeking to trigger a Russian response.
    Earlier President Petro Poroshenko introduced hatred and plentiful bloodshed with his repeated ultimatums to rebels to lay down arms and to submit themselves to the “democratic rule of Petro Poroshenko”. His ultimatums are widely posed as his “peace plans”. Actually they sow just blood hatred and endless vendetta for many denerations to come.
    In Response

    by: ADD_H3ad from: London
    July 15, 2014 8:12 AM
    Nice one. On one side we have: the reckless and irresponsible clique who rules Russia who in the past 4 months have (1) invaded a sovereign country - Ukraine - and annexed its territory - Crimea (2) repeatedly have been caught out in lies about troop presence, (3) aided and abetted in cross-border kidnapping of children from a Ukrainian orphanage, (4) illegally held and are still holding Ukrainian citizens Sentsov, Savchenko et al in custody,

    (5) used mass media for a hysteric xenophobic campaign of which Goebbels would be proud, the latest being "the child crucified in Slavyansk" hoax, (6) tore up treaties with Ukraine and Lithuania, (7) exported terrorism - weaponry and mercenaries - into Ukraine and (8) highly likely used their troops to wage war and aggression across the Russian-Ukrainian border. On the other side we have an ALLEGED Ukrainian shelling of a Russian town.

    Actually the Clique of Liars, Thieves and Aggressors who rule Russia can provide NO PROOF WHATSOEVER that Ukrainian Forces fired the shell, but THEY KNOW FOR A FACT IT WAS THE RIGHT SECTOR OR THE NATIONAL GUARD. Maybe they can find Yarosh's business card tied to one of the shell fragments. ***

    Gennady, you may be in for a rude awakening, mate.

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