News / Europe

Ukraine Mulls Security, Including Building Wall Along Russia Border

Ukrainian soldiers man a checkpoint outside the town of Amvrosiivka, eastern Ukraine, close to the Russian border, June 5, 2014.
Ukrainian soldiers man a checkpoint outside the town of Amvrosiivka, eastern Ukraine, close to the Russian border, June 5, 2014.
Reuters
Ukraine's leaders are puzzling over how to cut off Russian support for a separatist rebellion in the east of the country but one of its richest men thinks he has the answer.
 
Billionaire businessman Ihor Kolomoisky has suggested building a wall along the almost 2,000 km (1,200-mile) land border with Russia to prevent fighters and weapons flooding in.
 
The idea may sound absurd but Kolomoisky has offered to stump up 100 million euros ($136 million) to fund the two-meter (six-feet) high, 25-30 cm (10-12 inch) thick wall of reinforced steel, complete with electronic alarms, trenches and minefields.
 
What's more, it's been done before. Israel has constructed a barrier to keep out Palestinian militants. China built the Great Wall to stop invaders. Soviet-led East Germany erected the Berlin Wall, though more to keep people in than out.
 
“We can take on this project from start to finish,” said Alexei Burik, deputy head of the Dnipropetrovsk region where Kolomoisky is the governor, offering to lead construction work.
 
President Petro Poroshenko may or may not be about to build such a wall but the growing discussion of the oligarch's idea highlights deep security concerns in Ukraine, three months after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.
 
The Russian invasion of east Ukraine expected by many Ukrainians has not come. But in several weeks of fighting, pro-Russian separatists have seized a number of border posts, enabling them to bring in weapons and other supplies.
 
Securing the long and winding, and notoriously porous, border has become Poroshenko's most pressing problem as he tries to put down the rebellion and hold Ukraine together.
 
Fighting near the border has been among the fiercest of the conflict and 30 servicemen were wounded overnight in new clashes in Luhansk, a border guard command center.
 
Publicity stunt?
 

Kolomoisky, a 51-year-old banking, media, energy and metallurgy magnate with a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine at $1.8 billion, has presented his plan to Poroshenko and reckons the wall can be built in about six months.
 
Some analysts dismiss the idea as a stunt.
 
“In the short term, it cannot be done,” said Volodymyr Fesenko of the Penta think tank. Another analyst, Mykhailo Pohrebinsky, said: “This is a public relations campaign meant to consolidate Kolomoisky's image as a Ukrainian patriot.”
 
Despite such criticism, the proposal is not being dismissed in parliament as a crackpot idea.
 
“Whether or not it is Kolomoisky's project, a wall will be built to defend Ukraine from Russia's aggression,” said Ivan Stojko, a parliamentary deputy from the Batkyvshina party led by former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
 
Pavlo Rizanenko, a deputy from the Udar (Punch) party of former boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko, said: “I don't think Poroshenko has a monopoly on this idea. It's something that should have been done long ago.”
 
The sight of rebels driving tanks in east Ukraine last Thursday increased the urgency of securing control of the border. Two days later, the rebels shot down a military plane with a missile, killing 49 servicemen.
 
Russia says it is not providing military support for the rebellion across much of the Donbass mining region. But its denials were undermined by satellite pictures released by NATO showing what it said were Russian tanks at a staging area close to the border days before similar tanks appeared in Ukraine.
 
The United States has also accused Moscow of supplying the rebels with T-64 tanks, MB-21 “Grad” multiple rocket launchers and other military vehicles.
 
Secure border before truce

 
Poroshenko, who replaced a Moscow-leaning president toppled in February after street protests, has ordered the armed forces to secure the frontier and says a 250-km (160-mile) stretch of the border has already been taken back. Once the border is secure, a truce can start and peace talks begin, he said.
 
His comments signaled a continuation of his dual policy of talking peace while pressing a military campaign in the east.
 
He wants Ukraine to demarcate the border on its own side, and build unspecified infrastructure there, which could mean erecting fences in villages that straddle the border.
 
Andriy Parubiy, the secretary of Ukraine's Security Council, estimated Russia had 16,000 soldiers on or near the border with Ukraine and 22,000 in Crimea, plus 3,500 in Moldova's breakaway Transdniestria region to the west.
 
Russia has balked at Kyiv's proposals for tightening border security and says its moves are meant to fuel tension. But for some Ukrainians, building a wall has a clear appeal.
 
“Either we build a wall and forget about Russia, or let these madmen in Donbass live under (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. I'd prefer the wall and would be ready to give them some money to help build it,” said Irina Sorokun, a Kyiv pensioner.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Igor from: Russia
June 20, 2014 12:23 AM
To: Stan Willmann fromSan Francisco

I disagree with you. Those in power in Kiev must blame themselves for any trouble in Ukraine. They are only a gang of corrupted, greedy, barbaric people who pay no attention to the will of Ukrainian people at all.
As to corruption in Russia, especially in Sochi, can you give out any evidence of it or you just listen to Western media, which tends to turn a blind eye to its new ally's crimes against humanity.
As to Crimea, Russia only took back the land which was robbed illegally from Russia (by a Ukrainian Soviet leader by force agianst the will of its people).
If Kiev continues to kill its own people in the East, Russia will have no other way but to destroy the Ukraine's army completely. without invading Ukraine.

by: Igor from: Russia
June 18, 2014 4:58 AM
Building a 2000 km wall alongside Russian border will creat much more chance for corruption for those in power in Kiev. Those billionair businessmen will draw huge amounts of money from that stupid project to make them much richer and make other Urainians much poorer. Are they considering building "the 8th wonder of the world"? Stupid idea!
In Response

by: Stan Willmann from: San Francisco
June 18, 2014 8:57 PM
Igor, from Russia:
Your wonderful King Putin is leaving the people of Ukraine no choice but to build such a wall. Putin honors no agreements he makes (with anyone) and continues to allow Russian citizens, arms, equipment and now tanks to freely roll into the sovereign country of Ukraine. Just last week, Putin agreed to enforce border crossings. His agreement immediately violated.
Corruption is a fact of life in Russia and Ukraine. Did all of Putin's spending on the Sochi Olympics go to actual construction? Of course not. Many of his friends made huge profits while destroying the Sochi area. For what?
The people of Ukraine are tired of all these Russian paid masked gunmen entering their territory to create havoc. Putin took Crimea (unlawfully), but has no interest in taking more of Ukraine. Why? He simply can't afford it! Financially, politically and logistically. Crimea still functions with fresh water and electrical power furnished by Ukraine. Putin has no means to provide these services from Russia. Bow down all you want to your King! His dream is coming to an end, just like his old Soviet Union buddies. Talk big, but can't deliver.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs