News / Europe

Ukraine Reinstates Conscription as Security Deteriorates in Eastern Region

After storming the prosecutor's office, pro-Russia activists stand guard with officers' shields at the entrance in Donetsk, Ukraine, May 1, 2014.
After storming the prosecutor's office, pro-Russia activists stand guard with officers' shields at the entrance in Donetsk, Ukraine, May 1, 2014.
VOA News
Ukraine's acting President Olexander Turchynov has reinstated military conscription to deal with deteriorating security in the east of the country.

Turchynov signed the decree on Thursday, the same day pro-Russian militants seized the regional prosecutor’s office in the eastern city of Donetsk.
 
The decree reinstates the draft for non-exempt Ukrainian men between 18 and 25 years old and cites what it describes as "the further aggravation of the socio-politcal situation" in eastern and southern Ukraine, as well as "blatant aggression" by "illegal" armed pro-Russian groups.

The move comes a day after Turchynov said that his government was "helpless" to quell the growing pro-Russian separatist movement in two eastern regions and could not control its own troops.

Earlier Thursday, pro-Russian protesters stormed the prosecutor's office in the separatist-held city of Donetsk, lobbing stones and smashing windows after accusing the office of working for the Western-backed government in Kyiv.

To shouts of "Fascists", a refrain Moscow uses to describe Ukraine's new government, hundreds of people pelted the police with paving stones and then cornered some, dragging them to the ground and beating them. The police soon surrendered.

Donetsk, a city of about one million people in Ukraine's industrial east, is at the center of an armed uprising across the steel and coal belt by mainly Russian-speakers threatening to secede from Ukraine.

The violence, in a city already largely under the control of separatists, underscored the shifting security situation and suspicions in the region.

"The prosecutor's office was issuing criminal orders from Kyiv against its own people, charging them with separatism and other fake crimes," said one protester, a 43-year-old man from Donetsk who gave his name as Igor.

Pro-Russian separatists in the city have declared a "People's Republic of Donetsk" and say they will hold a referendum on secession on May 11.

Related video report by Arash Arabasadi and Brian Padden:
 
Separatists Hold Ukrainian Cities; Local Defense in Kyiv Stands Firmi
X
Brian Padden, Arash Arabasadi
May 01, 2014 8:39 PM
In eastern Ukraine, separatists continue to seize and occupy government buildings, while in Kyiv, the capital, protesters continue their occupation of Maidan Square. Despite an agreement made in Geneva requiring all groups to disarm, there's no end in sight to the standoff. Arash Arabasasdi reports from Kyiv.

Russian attache detained for spying

Ukraine also ordered the expulsion of Russia's military attache, saying it had caught him ``red-handed'' receiving classified information on the country's cooperation with NATO during an armed uprising Kyiv said is directed from Moscow.
 
The Foreign Ministry said on Thursday the diplomat, who has not been named, had been detained a day earlier and declared persona non grata.

Ukraine's security service said he was a Russian intelligence officer who had been collecting intelligence on ``Ukrainian-NATO military and political cooperation.”

There was no immediate response from Moscow, which, like Kyiv, was observing the May 1 holiday.

The crisis in Ukraine will dominate talks between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Barack Obama in Washington on Friday, with both leaders keen to show the West is united in its resolve to take even tougher measures against Russia if necessary.
 
The U.S. and European Union both imposed new sanctions against Moscow on Monday, accusing Russia of failing to implement a diplomatic accord aimed at calming the situation in Ukraine.
 
Merkel and Obama will discuss at what point further measures - targeting the Russian economy directly - could be taken, senior German officials said.
 
 
Members of Russian Trade Unions march during the May Day celebration at the Red Square in Moscow on May 1, 2014.Members of Russian Trade Unions march during the May Day celebration at the Red Square in Moscow on May 1, 2014.
x
Members of Russian Trade Unions march during the May Day celebration at the Red Square in Moscow on May 1, 2014.
Members of Russian Trade Unions march during the May Day celebration at the Red Square in Moscow on May 1, 2014.
Russia's May Day Parade

Russia staged a huge May Day parade on Moscow's Red Square for the first time since the Soviet era on Thursday, with workers holding banners proclaiming support for President Vladimir Putin after the seizure of territory from neighboring Ukraine.
 
Thousands of trade unionists marched with Russian flags and flags of Putin's ruling United Russia party onto the giant square beneath the Kremlin walls, past the red granite mausoleum of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin. About 100,000 people took part in the celebration.

Many banners displayed traditional slogans for the annual workers' holiday, such as ``Peace, Labour, May.'

But others were more directly political, alluding to the crisis in neighboring former Soviet republic Ukraine, where Russian troops annexed the Crimea peninsula in March, precipitating the biggest confrontation with the West since the Cold War.

Putin wants troops out of southeast
 
Also Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Merkel that the withdrawal of Ukrainian military units from the southeast of the country, ending violence and launching a national dialogue are key issues in the Ukraine conflict, the Kremlin said.

The Kremlin also said that Merkel, in a call it said she initiated, asked Putin to help free seven Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) military observers who are being held by pro-Russian militia in Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also called for talks between Kyiv and pro-Russian separatists in southeastern Ukraine.

"Russia believes that this dialogue between the authorities in Kyiv and their opponents could be established, or launched in the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. We hope that our partners, our Western colleagues allow Ukrainians to establish this dialogue without major impediment," Lavrov said.

The prime minister spoke during a visit to Peru.

Thomas Graham, an expert on Russian and Eurasian affairs, said the situation in east Ukraine is difficult to decipher.
 
"The problem that we have at this point is that everyone thinks someone else controls the situation on the ground,” said Graham, a former U.S. national security official who is managing director at Kissinger Associates Inc.
 
“And the crisis has moved along far enough that there are a lot of elements on the ground that are acting on their own, without reference necessarily to Moscow, Kyiv, Brussels or Washington,” he said.

“So, the risk of the incidence that leads to widespread violence -- perhaps bloodshed -- can force the hands of people who have postured themselves in ways that they might regret depending on how things play out on the ground in eastern Ukraine."

IMF loan has tough requirements

The director of the IMF's European department, Reza Moghadam, told reporters Thursday that the Washington-based agency expects Ukraine to meet all its financial obligations, even as it teeters on the brink of bankruptcy. That includes $2.2 billion it owes Russia for natural gas purchases.

The IMF announced a $17 billion loan package for Ukraine over the next two years, and the World Bank, the European Union, Japan , Canada and the United States have pledged another $15 billion. The loans come with a requirement that Kyiv undertake economic reforms, including tax hikes, wage freezes and cuts in social aid.

But Moghadam acknowledged that the $17 billion IMF loan is not as big as it appears. He said $5 billion of the figure is meant for Ukraine to pay back money it already owes the IMF from a previous loan.

VOA's Catherine Maddux contributed to this report from Washington. Some information for this report provided by RFE/RL, Reuters, AP

Photo Gallery: Images from Ukraine
  • Pro-Russia protesters storm the governor's business premises in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, May 3, 2014.
  • Pro-Russia protesters storm the governor's business premises in Donetsk, Ukraine, May 3, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian protesters gather to honor fallen comrades during fighting with pro-Ukrainian activists in Odessa on Friday, at the barricades in front of the administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, May 3, 2014.
  • Russia's presidential human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin watches as foreign military observers hug each other following their release in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, May 3, 2014.
  • Smoke billows from burning tires at a pro-Russian checkpoint with a Donetsk republic flag following an attack by Ukrainian troops in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, May 3, 2014.
  • A protester walks past a burning pro-Russian tent camp near the trade union building in Odessa, Ukraine, May 2, 2014.
  • An injured pro-Russian activist looks on during clashes with supporters of the Kyiv government in the streets of Odessa, Ukriane, May 2, 2014.
  • People wait to be rescued on upper levels of a trade union building in Odessa, Ukraine, May 2, 2014.
  • A pro-Russian separatist guards a checkpoint as tires burn in front of him, near the town of Slovyansk, Ukraine, May 2, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian gunmen listen to instructions from their commander (center) behind barricades in Slovyansk, May 2, 2014.
  • A pro-Russian rebel aims his rifle at a checkpoint near a Ukrainian airbase in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, May 2, 2014.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: meanbill from: USA
May 01, 2014 10:25 AM
Like the Russians said; -- Only the Ukrainians themselves can save what's left of Ukraine, by both sides negotiating with each other, (without outside interference), to form a new constitution and hold democratic elections, to preserve what's left of the country..
WHY doesn't everybody listen to Russia, when they offer the only solution to the Ukraine peaceful crisis? --- REALLY?

by: Jon from: IL
May 01, 2014 9:54 AM
I do not think Putin's attempts at intimidation are going to work. He has seen the world's defiance its protests and condemnation of his attempts to conquer another sovereign nation and is trying to build up his nerve before he proceeds with his plan. We need to make him very much afraid of the consequences of what we will do if does not back down.
In Response

by: tenn fan from: tenn
May 02, 2014 2:15 AM
Jon from IL, As for your comments "We need tomake him very much afraid of the consequences of what we will do if he does not back down" first off i noticed that you used a lot of "we this and we that ", IMHO, and from what i gather from your comments is just about the same thing as me trying to tell you how to spend your own money. In other words it would be like me sitting back and telling you how to spend your money, First off,it is not my money (it is your money) that i am telling you how to spend,correct ? So explain to me, just what right do i have to try and tell you just how to spend your own money? That is just about the same thing, as when you try to tell Putin how to run Russia. Please answer this question,just who has the right (outside of Russia and its own citizens) to tell Putin just how to run his own country ? Just like who has the right (outside of America and the American citizens) to try and tell Obama just how to run America? Get my drift ? That being said,i would just like to wish you and everyone that reads this a very nice week end.
Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More