News / Europe

Ukrainian Forces Clash With Pro-Russia Militants

  • A Ukrainian police officer stands guard at a checkpoint that was attacked by unknown men outside the Black Sea port of Odessa, Ukraine, April 25, 2014.
  • A pro-Russian armed man smokes as he guards near the mayor's office in Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 25, 2014.
  • A Ukrainian soldier sits atop of his armored vehicle at a check point near the village of Artemiovska, near Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 24, 2014.
  • Ukrainian security force officers are deployed at a checkpoint set on fire and left by pro-Russian separatists near Slovyansk, April 24, 2014.
  • A Pro-Russian supporter walks at the seized office of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, April 24, 2014.
  • Municipal workers take a break from taking down barricades in central Kyiv, April 23, 2014.
  • Members of Maidan self-defense forces march along the street in central Kyiv, April 23, 2014.
  • Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko speaks during a briefing in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine April 24, 2014.
  • People carry the coffin of local politician Volodymyr Rybak, allegedly tortured and killed by pro-Russia separatists, during his funeral in the village of Horlivka, in eastern Ukraine, April 24, 2014.
  • People carry coffins containing the bodies of men killed in a gunfight on April 20, during a funeral ceremony in Slovyansk, April 22, 2014.
  • A pro-Russian armed man stands guard outside a regional government building seized by the pro-Russians, in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, April 22, 2014.
VOA News
Fighting between Ukrainian security forces and pro-Russia militants in eastern Ukraine has left at least five militants dead, with Russian President Vladimir Putin calling it a "crime" and threatening “consequences.”
 
Ukraine's Interior Ministry said Thursday that its forces, together with army units, had killed five pro-Russia militants and destroyed three of their checkpoints in the eastern city of Slovyansk.

Separately, Ukrainian officials said that police had driven pro-Russia separatists out of the city hall in the eastern city of Mariupol, and that an attack by armed separatists on an army base in the town of Artemivsk had been repelled.

The operations have been temporarily halted in response to signs Russia started military exercises across the border.

Watch related video report by VOA's Brian Padden in Donetsk, Ukraine
 
Military Clashes With Separatists Heighten Tensions in Eastern Ukrainei
X
Brian Padden
April 24, 2014 7:14 PM
Tensions have increased in Eastern Ukraine as Ukrainian forces attacked pro-Russian insurgents in the city of Slovyansk. VOA's Brian Padden reports that separatist groups in some towns now are bracing for an attack while others have dismantled barricades to avoid any military confrontation.

Kyiv earlier this week relaunched an "anti-terrorist" operation against armed pro-Russians who have taken over government buildings in about a dozen eastern cities and towns. Some of the separatists are demanding the right to vote on whether to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

Ukraine’s government, along with the U.S. and others in the West, sees an undercover campaign by Russia aimed at creating a pretext for possible incursion followed by a Crimea-style annexation of some regions.

Under an international accord signed in Geneva last week, illegal armed groups, including the militants occupying about a dozen public buildings in Ukraine's largely Russian-speaking east, were supposed to disarm and disband.
 
Russia recalls ambassador starts drills

At the United Nations, diplomats say Russia has recalled its ambassador to Moscow for emergency consultations.

Word of the recall came a short while after Moscow accused the Kyiv government of deploying military units and ultra-nationalist paramilitary units against the largely Russian-speaking population in eastern Ukraine.  A Foreign Ministry statement referred to Ukrainian authorities as "under the patronage of the United States."  It also said the situation demands "urgent action" by Washington to ensure the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from the region.

Russia started military drills near the border with Ukraine on Thursday in an apparent response to operations by Ukrainian forces against pro-Russia separatists and NATO exercises in eastern Europe, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted as saying.

“If this military machine is not stopped, it will lead to greater numbers of dead and wounded. Planned exercises by NATO forces in Poland and the Baltic countries do not foster normalization of the situation surrounding Ukraine either.... We are forced to react to such a development…,” the Interfax news agency quoted Shoigu as saying.

The minister said that starting on Thursday, battalions of tactical groups would begin exercises in regions of Russia bordering Ukraine. According to Shoigu, the drill will also involve the air force.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon says it has noticed Russian troop movement along Ukraine's border but added that it was "too soon to tell exactly what it is," according to a U.S. Defense Department spokesman.

Ukraine has asked Moscow, under OSCE security arrangements, to explain and give details of its military exercises near the border within 48 hours, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. 

Obama warns of new sanctions

Earlier, U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking to reporters Thursday in Tokyo, Japan, accused Russia is not abiding by the Geneva agreement to ease the crisis in Ukraine, saying he is not hopeful Moscow will cooperate.
 
He said Russia has chosen not to take the "wise path" and faces stronger sanctions, adding that Ukraine has been taking the concrete steps agreed to last week in Geneva, including offering amnesty to pro-Russian separatists who leave the buildings peacefully.

Obama said new sanctions are “teed up” but did not specify when they could be applied, saying only that it was a matter of days, not weeks.

So far, the United States and EU have imposed visa bans and asset freezes on a number of Russians in response to Moscow's annexation last month of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.

Russia reacts

In St. Petersburg, President Putin said that if the authorities in Kyiv have in fact begun using the army in eastern Ukraine, then they are committing "a very serious crime against their own people."
 
“It is just a punitive operation and it will, of course, incur consequences for the people making these decisions, including [an effect] on our interstate relations,” Putin said Thursday in a televised meeting with regional media.

The developments also put into question the legitimacy of presidental elections in Ukraine scheduled for May 25, Reuters quotes Putin as saying through his spokesman.

Russia says Washington “must force the current Ukrainian leadership to immediately stop military operation in southeastern Ukraine” and withdraw forces – a Foreign Ministry statement says.
 
Separately, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Thursday accused the United States of trying to orchestrate a "color revolution" in Ukraine. He said Washington is using Ukraine as a pawn in a geopolitical game.
 
Lavrov said the West is acting like winners of the Cold War and do not consider Russia's interests when drawing up European policies.
 
Moscow also flexed its economic muscles in its worst stand-off with the West since the Cold War, with the government suggesting foreign firms which pull out of the country may not be able to get back in, and a source at Gazprom saying the gas exporter had slapped an additional $11.4 billion bill on Kyiv. That is in addition to the $2.2 billion Gazprom says Kyiv already owes.

IMF to meet on Ukraine

The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday that its board would meet on April 30 to consider an aid package for Ukraine, saying that Kyiv had supplied the needed documents for it to determine whether conditions for a bailout had been met.

The IMF tentatively agreed in late March to provide a $14-18 billion two-year bailout to help Ukraine recover from months of political and economic turmoil. The IMF board has yet to approve that package.

The IMF's aid to Ukraine is expected to unlock additional international assistance of about $15 billion over the same two-year period for the nation.

The IMF board will make a final decision on the amount of aid to be released to Ukraine when it meets next week.

US reporter released

American journalist Simon Ostrovsky has been released in eastern Ukraine, said online news site Vice News, for whom he was working in the city of Slovyansk when he was held by pro-Russia separatists on Monday.

“Vice News is delighted to confirm that our colleague and friend Simon Ostrovsky has been safely released and is in good health,” read a statement on its Web site on Thursday.

No information was immediately available from the separatists, who have said they hold several people.

Some reporting by Reuters
 
 

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anthony from: San diego
April 25, 2014 1:39 AM
this is not Geneva and I see no convention

by: anonymous from: anonymous
April 24, 2014 8:21 PM
Putin needs to stop his games he accuses the u.s. of trying to control Ukraine when the only reason he wants Ukraine to adopt a federalist government is to annex sections of the country by holding false referendums or making the regions autonomous and be a pupeteer

by: Anonymous
April 24, 2014 4:46 PM
Rumors say, that it is a historically proven crime to use country's regular military against its own citizens... Yanukovich being a democratically elected and thereby legitimate president of Ukraine did not use military to put down protesters in Kiev only because he knew that every and each dictator (Miloshevich, Hussein, Kaddafi among others) became a victim of this very tempting move...
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
April 24, 2014 7:49 PM
ALL those you name, were considered enemies of the US, EU, and NATO, weren't they? -- NO leader of the US, EU, and NATO, (or those they supported), has ever been charged with war crimes, or crimes against humanity, have they? -- Only Russia and sometimes China, prevents the US, EU, and NATO countries, from completely controlling the UN....
In Response

by: Anonymous
April 24, 2014 5:04 PM
Anyone occupying government buildings with weapons should not be considered civilians whatsoever. Peace and Government decisions are signed with paper and pen, not bullets and blood. If these people suddenly occupy government buildings with weapons they should be deemed terrorists of the state. Democracy is a wonderful thing however you do not become democratic by waving your guns and taking over government buildings. The government of Ukraine must take these buildings and take responsibility for Ukraine and the people. Anyone wanting to disrupt the regular business of the Ukraine Government are going down the completely wrong road. It is Russias business to tell those people in the government buildings with guns that Putin DOES NOT support them. If Putin does not announce he doesn't support them, then he is guilty of aiding these criminals and regardless of the outcome they must face Ukrainian Federal Laws.

Any disruption by Russia would constitute war crimes by the order of "Vladimir Putin". Whom is guilty of crimes already in Chechnya, Moscow Theatre Siege, Georgia, Syria, and Crimea. (Likely many more too within Russia). Time for the world to oust leaders who act like Putin, for their own countries future. As well as time for the world to stand united and strong against such criminals.


by: Anonymous
April 24, 2014 2:16 PM
Russia must abide by its own laws in its OWN country. What happens in Ukraine is under Ukrainian laws. Those who do not abide by Ukrainian Laws (Like carrying weapons in government buildings) should be penalized to 10/10ths of the law. Those who occupy government buildings with weapons are definitely not abiding by the law. It is 100% NOT Russias business to enforce Ukrainian laws, nor break them. Russia should be telling those people to put down their weapons and stop harassing Ukraine. If those Pro-Russians do not like Ukraine laws they should move to another country.

Ukraine is 100% in the right to storm these buildings. Russia is 100% in the wrong to get involved whatsoever. No different than USA going in to Russia to help Chechnya or any other population within Russian borders.

Russia deserves its gas supply to be cut off entirely for their stupid aggression and illegal activities. The world needs to send mr. "Putin" the strongest message of all. The Russian people should OUST Putin from power because he is NOT for the people of Russia. Any leader that gambles their future economy over stuff so stupid is not a good leader whatsoever.

If the Russian people can oust these idiots managing their country , Russia and the world would be a better place.

Lets hold Putin responsible for ALL his crimes, in Chechnya, Georgia, Moscow theatre siege, Syria, Crimea and more... There needs to be a warrant out for Putin's arrest by the ICC. We can not be afraid to put a warrant out for his arrest. PERIOD.

This would send a strong message to Russian population just what kind of guy is running the country of Russia, and it will not be tolerated by the international community. It would also send a strong message to the world not to commit these crimes in the future.

by: michael from: Nigeria
April 24, 2014 9:27 AM
Russian government must address his own country and live alone a sovereign nation to build there future. There is an adage in nigeria that says a white hen does not regard herself as an elder:

by: murat demirkan from: turkey
April 24, 2014 8:13 AM
I though America was lion, after Russia did about georgia and ukranie I recognized that America is lion that made of paper.
In Response

by: GrrenLine from: United States
April 24, 2014 1:16 PM
And we know that Turkey can't even compare to America.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs