News / Europe

Russian Army Said to Be Tipping Balance in E. Ukraine

A local resident walks past buildings damaged by recent shelling in the eastern Ukrainian village of Semenovka, July 9, 2014.
A local resident walks past buildings damaged by recent shelling in the eastern Ukrainian village of Semenovka, July 9, 2014.
Al Pessin

Ukraine’s national security spokesman said Thursday Russian forces are conducting a multi-faceted campaign from their own side of the border against Ukrainian troops.  The allegation came a week after the downing of the Malaysian airliner in the rebel-held part of eastern Ukraine.
 
Colonel Andriy Lysenko says the Russian troops across the border are using a variety of weapons to attack Ukrainian units that are fighting Russian-backed separatists.
 
Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said that in the last 24 hours Russian forces have fired Grad missiles at six Ukrainian checkpoints, including one at the Luhansk airport.  He said they also fired artillery shells, grenades and small arms at various locations along the border.
 
At Kyiv’s International Center for Policy Studies, Iaroslav Kovalchuk said the direct action by the Russian army significantly changes the military balance in the region.
 
“There are Russian troops that try to provoke the Ukraine army, that try to destabilize the whole border, but Ukrainian troops cannot [do] anything because it would be considered a military response," he said. "So, the situation is very tricky and the direct involvement of Russia really aggravates the whole status quo in the east."

The Russian military involvement appears to indicate that President Vladimir Putin is not willing to allow the separatists to lose in eastern Ukraine.  But Kovalchuk said Putin’s calculation may change in the coming months, in the wake of the Malaysia Airlines disaster and as international sanctions begin to bite.

MH17 crash site access

In eastern Ukraine, where Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down a week ago, rebels have allowed only a limited number of foreigners to access the sites where remnants of the plane are scattered. Most of them are observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, along with a handful of international experts who have managed to reach the area.

An armed pro-Russian separatist guards a crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, July 24, 2014.An armed pro-Russian separatist guards a crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, July 24, 2014.
x
An armed pro-Russian separatist guards a crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, July 24, 2014.
An armed pro-Russian separatist guards a crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, July 24, 2014.


OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw told reporters that a week after the incident, members of his team finally got to one of the major sites on Thursday.
 
“Just now we visited an impact sight which we hadn’t visited before, but it had, by far I think, the most pieces of kind of large, intact debris," he said. "In a wooded area, for example, we saw a piece with the window still intact, and it was very, very large.”

Bociurkiw said he saw no local experts working in the area on Thursday.
 
The head of Ukraine’s Emergency Services agency says there is no plan for locally-based workers to resume the search until experts in the Netherlands determine how many bodies have already been recovered.  Initial reports said all 298 bodies were aboard rail cars sent out of the rebel zone this week, but officials say that may not be true.  The emergency chief said the last of the bodies received from the train should be transported to Amsterdam by Friday.

You May Like

Video VOA ‘Town Hall’ Shines Light on Ebola Crisis

Experts call for greater speed in identification and treatment of deadly disease More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Funding Program Helps Extremely Poor in Ghana

Broad objective for Ghana's social cash transfer program is to lessen the impact of poverty on the most vulnerable people, elderly, orphans, those with disabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid