News / Europe

    Russia Again Boosts Troop Levels on Ukraine Border

    • A pro-Russian separatist rebel guards a checkpoint near the village of Rozsypne in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region August 4, 2014.
    • Ukrainian servicemen wave as they drive past in an armoured vehicle in the eastern Ukrainian town of Kramatorsk, Aug. 5, 2014.
    • A Ukrainian army military armored vehicle is seen through a ruined building on the outskirts of Slovyansk, Aug. 5, 2014.
    • Wreckage lies near a pro-Russian separatist checkpoint at the site of the downed Malaysian airliner MH17 near the village of Rozsypne, in the Donetsk region, Aug. 4, 2014.
    • Dutch and Australian forensic experts continue recovery work at the site of the downed Malaysian airliner MH17 near the village of Rozsypne, in the Donetsk region, Aug. 4, 2014.
    • Pro-Russian separatists stand near Dutch and Australian forensic experts preparing to continue recovery work near the village of Rozsypne, in the Donetsk region, Aug. 4, 2014.
    • A pro-Russian separatist looks through binoculars as Dutch and Australian forensic experts continue recovery work at the site of the downed Malaysian airliner MH17 near the village of Rozsypne, in the Donetsk region, Aug. 4, 2014.
    • Dutch and Australian forensic experts continue recovery work near the village of Rozsypne, in the Donetsk region, Aug. 4, 2014.
    • A makeshift evidence marker at the site of the downed Malaysian airliner MH17, near the village of Rozsypne, in the Donetsk region, Aug. 4, 2014.
    VOA News

    Russia has again bolstered its troops presence on its frontier with Ukraine’s east, triggering concerns of cross-border fire or a possible intervention in support of pro-Moscow rebels increasingly besieged by Ukrainian government forces.

    The spike in troop and military hardware levels has been confirmed by both NATO and US military officials.

    "In early August, Russia significantly increased the number of troops in the vicinity of the Russian border.  Our current assessment is that around 20,000 troops are now in the area.  This troop presence includes tanks, infantry, artillery, air defense systems, as well as logistics troops, special forces, and various aircraft," a NATO official said in a written statement.

    More firepower

    A spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, Andriy Lysenko, said Tuesday that Russia has deployed 45,000 troops to the border - along with a large number of tanks, artillery, multiple rocket launchers and aircraft.

    He also said that Russian forces fired artillery and Grad rockets at Ukrainian positions across the border for several hours on Monday.

    In addition, Moscow has announced a five-day drill inside Russian territory, involving some 100 warplanes, helicopters and anti-aircraft batteries. Some of the exercises are being conducted close to Russia’s border with Ukraine.

    With Ukrainian troops advancing toward the two remaining rebel strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk, officials in Kyiv have expressed concern over a possible Russian offensive. Short of a full-blown military incursion, Russia might also be considering sending its forces as “peacekeepers” into eastern Ukraine, officials in Kyiv say.

    Ukrainian government troops have been steadily gaining ground since the country elected a new president in late May.

    Putin on sanctions

    Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin says he has ordered his Cabinet to prepare a response to Western sanctions.

    During a meeting with Alexei Gordeyev, the governor of the Voronezh region near Ukraine, Putin said the use of "political instruments of pressure" against Russia's economy are "unacceptable" and contradict "all norms and rules." He said, however, that any retaliatory measures in response to the sanctions must be taken "very carefully," to support domestic producers without harming consumers.

    The United States and its allies have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula from Ukraine and support of the separatists in eastern Ukraine.

    Hijacking ambulances

    Meanwhile, a leading human rights group has accused pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine’s east of aggravating the humanitarian crisis triggered by the four-month-old conflict.

    U.S.-based Human Rights Watch issued a statement Tuesday saying rebel attacks on medical personnel and facilities have "compromised the ability of civilian patients to receive treatment."  The group says separatist forces have stolen and destroyed medical equipment and hospital furniture, and hijacked ambulances and used them to transport their fighters.

    Human Rights Watch also says at least two medical workers have been killed in mortar attacks that were likely carried out by Ukrainian forces.
     
    Ukraine’s Defense and Security Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko told reporters Monday the military has opened humanitarian corridors for Donetsk residents to flee a planned government offensive, and that steps are being taken to assist evacuees find temporary shelter.

    MH17 recovery

    Ukraine, Washington and its European allies accuse Moscow of arming rebels and having provided them with the missile battery used to bring down a Malaysian airliner last month.

    Both Russia and the rebels in Ukraine have denied involvement.

    The jetliner with 298 people on board was downed July 17 near Donetsk.  There were no survivors.

    Search teams on Monday continued their efforts to locate remains of more victims from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, most of whom where Dutch nationals.

    The head of the Dutch police mission working at the crash site says crews have finished searching one of five zones of the site.  He said completing the search will take at least three weeks.

    VOA's Jeff Seldin has contributed to this report from the Pentagon; additional information provided by Reuters.

    You May Like

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: meanbill from: USA
    August 05, 2014 11:03 PM
    THE WISE MAN said it;.... Putin doesn't want to make the pro-Russian separatist region of Ukraine, a part of Russia, (and), he has repeatedly said for the Ukraine government to call a ceasefire, and negotiate with the pro-Russian separatist, who wanted an autonomous Russian speaking region in Ukraine..... not in Russia.

    IF ONLY the US, EU, and NATO countries hadn't interfered in Ukraine, the Ukrainians wouldn't be at war, and Crimea would still be a part of Ukraine.....

    IF ONLY?... Every time the US, EU, and NATO countries interfere in the politics of other countries like Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and now Ukraine, they bring nothing but violence, destruction, killings and wars, that never seem to end.....

    by: DellStator from: US
    August 05, 2014 9:26 PM
    Everyone that thinks Russia has anything to learn from anyone hasn't read much history.
    Russia was very happy being the USSR, the leaders lived a life of luxury, the people suffered. THAT IS RUSSIA. It is what Russians expect, indeed want apparently. The state keeps them barely alive, but they don't have to think, to strive, to make choices, except who to bribe for a better job, better housing, better food.
    Didn't you notice Russias first response to the first effective Euro Zone sanctions was to A. Have the Russian Mercs shoot down an airliner - followed by banning food imports into Russia.
    Got it now?

    by: Richard Mc from: North Carolina
    August 05, 2014 2:49 PM
    I wonder what the Russians will say when they find out that Putin is financing a lot of this by dipping into the Russian Pension Fund?
    In Response

    by: Igor from: Russia
    August 06, 2014 9:55 PM
    I think you are wrong because Russia can do business with other emerging countries such as India, China, Latin and South Americas...So we still live well. Also, we will stop our co-operation with the West in all other issues such as Space, anti-terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons....You will create golden business opportunites for others when you leave Russian market.
    In Response

    by: Richard Mc from: 3155 Ross
    August 06, 2014 8:39 AM
    Igor: That is a problem. However, since the US economy is 7 times that of Russia and the EU economy is 8 times that of Russia, Russia is likely to go broke much earlier.
    In Response

    by: Sergei from: WA
    August 06, 2014 1:47 AM
    Russians know this already. But their relations with their government doesn't look like "shareholders vs executives", like in the US. It's more like "Predators vs prey". Stronger types tend to identify themselves with predators, for example they looking for work in the various national security/police forces, army and bureaucracy. Weaker ones tend to evade, hide and adapt.
    In Response

    by: Igor from: Russia
    August 05, 2014 11:44 PM
    I cannot imagine what the americans will say when they find out that Obama is receiving huge amount of money from weapon producers in the USA in order to instigate wars in the Middle East and Europe. Ukraine would be a huge market for US mass killing weapons.

    by: max ajida from: pretoria South Africa
    August 05, 2014 2:44 PM
    Putin must learn from History, Adolf Hitler. Military prowess won't make you a leader but your constructive attitudes towards others will make you a natural leader. Putin lacks knowledge that the bank is mightier than tanks. Russian economy might be on recesion soon due to sanctions and instead of preventing the downfall of Russian economy ,Putin is putting troops along the boarders with Ukrain, an act of intimidation. Kyiv will defeat your rebels in their territory without fear.
    In Response

    by: Michael from: S-Pb
    August 06, 2014 12:19 AM
    I think that you need to teach history! In France and Poland were the banks and they were very quickly fought for and won, the USSR did not have banks and defeated Germany.

    by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
    August 05, 2014 1:24 PM
    Here comes Putin's consequence which is putting Russian troops clearly inside Ukraine in the guise of peace keepers and a clear plan to keep them well inside Ukraine as its bargaining chip against the sanctions, only if the US and EU could triple its current sanctions on Putin and Russia as a clear sign of strength against the aggressors.

    by: skip from: Lugansk
    August 05, 2014 11:36 AM
    Rebels?? Rebelling against whom?? These are Russian mercenary invaders. This war may have begun with local rebels, but it's time the media recognized everything has changed. Also, we know it's the terrorists who are shelling Lugansk, not the Ukrainian military, though they're blamed. Why? Obviously, then Putin can release his "peacekeepers" to "save" the city.

    by: Richard Mc from: North Carolina
    August 05, 2014 11:12 AM
    Russia would do well to remember Afghanistan. In a recent poll 10% of Ukrainians have said they would fight in the resistance. The Ukraine could easily become 10 Afghanistans for Russia.
    In Response

    by: Michael from: S-Pb
    August 06, 2014 12:25 AM
    You somehow repeat all the mistakes of the USSR in Afghanistan. We won in Chechnya. There is now peace and new homes. You're responsible for what's going ito in Libya, Iraq, and what will happen in Afghanistan after you leave.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora