News / Europe

Separatists Shoot Down Ukrainian Helicopter

A member of a newly-formed pro-Russian armed group called the Russian Orthodox Army mans a barricade near Donetsk airport, May 29, 2014.
A member of a newly-formed pro-Russian armed group called the Russian Orthodox Army mans a barricade near Donetsk airport, May 29, 2014.
VOA News
The White House says Thursday's shootdown of a government helicopter by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine indicates rebels have access "to advanced weaponry and other assistance from outside."

Spokesman Jay Carney's comments came just hours after Ukraine's acting president said rebels downed the aircraft with a shoulder-launched missile.  He said 14 servicemen, including a general, died in the attack near the flashpoint eastern city of Slovyansk.

Separately, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry raised concerns Thursday with his Russian counterpart about the ongoing violence, and about reports of foreign fighters crossing into Ukraine from Russian territory.

During a phone call, Kerry pressed Russia's Sergei Lavrov to end support for separatists in eastern Ukraine and to call on them to lay down their weapons, State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters during Thursday’s briefing.

In other developments, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel noted a partial pullback of Russian troops massed along the Ukraine border - a move he called "a positive step."  But he also said thousands of troops remain, and he called on Moscow to complete the full withdrawal it announced earlier this month.

Despite weeks of Kremlin denials, Russia's state-controlled news agency Ria Novosti said 33 of the estimated 50 rebel fighters killed Monday in Donetsk in a battle with Ukrainian troops came from Russia.

The news agency quoted the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic as saying the bodies of the foreigners have been identified and returned to their relatives.
Black smoke rises from a shot down Ukrainian Army helicopter outside Slovyansk, Ukraine, May 29, 2014.Black smoke rises from a shot down Ukrainian Army helicopter outside Slovyansk, Ukraine, May 29, 2014.
x
Black smoke rises from a shot down Ukrainian Army helicopter outside Slovyansk, Ukraine, May 29, 2014.
Black smoke rises from a shot down Ukrainian Army helicopter outside Slovyansk, Ukraine, May 29, 2014.


OSCE monitors

Meanwhile, a separatist leader in Slovyansk acknowledged that his group detained four European observers who have been missing since Monday.
 
Vyacheslav Ponomaryov said the the observers from the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had been warned to stay away from the area, but would be freed soon.
 
Michael Bociurkiw, spokesman for the OSCE mission to Ukraine, told VOA the mission has not had contact with the group since Monday, but is hopeful for their release.
 
Bociurkiw said the team was working a few hours east of Donetsk when contact with them was lost.
 
A day earlier, 11 OSCE monitors were detained in the same area, but released after several hours.
 
He said they were monitoring human rights abuses, the erection of checkpoints and the general security situation.
 
According to Bociurkiw,  said in the past two to three weeks, the OSCE has seen an escalation in military activity in Donetsk and the neighboring Luhansk region.
 
“In Luhansk right now we've documented the existence of about 40 armed groups that compose about 1,000 individuals and our monitors estimate that they could recruit another 4,000 more,” said Bociurkiw.

Swiss OSCE chairman Didier Burkhalter said in a statement Wednesday the detentions are undermining the group's work and amounted to "acts of sabotage" against international efforts to help Ukraine overcome the months-long crisis.

Russia turns up rhetoric

Expressing “deep concern” and warning of a “catastrophe” in Ukraine, Moscow called on Kyiv Thursday to stop its military operation in the eastern part of the country.

“Once again, we demand from the Kyiv authorities to stop the fratricidal war, start a real national dialogue with all political forces and representatives of the country’s regions to find a way out of the deepening crisis in Ukraine,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Calling for the implementation of the April 17 Geneva Accords on de-escalating the crisis in Ukraine, Moscow also urged Western countries to use all of their influence “to stop Ukraine’s slide toward a national catastrophe.”

The Ukrainian government and President-elect Petro Poroshenko have defied Moscow’s calls accusing it of fueling the very separatist unrest that has caused the current crisis. Russia denies the charge.

Meanwhile, a top advisor for President Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. of trying to stoke a military conflict between Europe and Russia over Ukraine for its own economic benefit.

“Now they [the United States] are unfurling a war in Ukraine, after organizing a coup and putting their own people in charge, to use Ukraine as a detonator against Russia and Europe,” said Sergei Glazyev, an economic adviser to Putin. The U.S. has dismissed similar charges as groundless.

Glazyev said that the U.S. has benefited from past wars in Europe.

Official election results

Petro Poroshenko officially won Ukraine’s presidential elections in the first round, garnering 54.7 percent of all votes cast, the country’s Central Election Commission announced.

It posted election results on its website Thursday saying it had completed the vote count.
Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko speaks at a news conference in Kyiv, May 26, 2014.Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko speaks at a news conference in Kyiv, May 26, 2014.
x
Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko speaks at a news conference in Kyiv, May 26, 2014.
Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko speaks at a news conference in Kyiv, May 26, 2014.


Former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko came in second with 12.81 percent of the vote. Twenty other candidates had competed in Sunday’s poll.

Of 18 million voters who took part in the election nearly ten million supported Poroshenko, a confectionery tycoon and former foreign minister. Turnout was listed at close to 60 percent.

According to official results, Poroshenko, 48, garnered a plurality of votes in all of Ukraine’s regions, even in restive Donetsk and Luhansk.

His inauguration will take place on the “Maidan,” Kyiv’s Independence Square, a statement by Ukraine’s acting president said. It was the site of massive anti-government protests, which toppled Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovych in February.

No date has been officially announced.

Poroshenko is due to participate in D-Day observances in France next week, which will also be attended by other world leaders, including Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin.

Gas talks

With a threat of Moscow cutting off gas supplies to Ukraine looming, talks between Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission, will go ahead on Friday, the EU executive body announced Thursday.

The Commission has already brokered two rounds of talks following Moscow's threat to stop supplying Ukraine with gas if it fails to make a pre-payment for June supplies by June 2.

Ukraine wants the price for 2014 to be agreed before it starts making any payments, including on its debt, which Russia’s Gazprom says will have risen to $5.2 billion by June 7.

Kyiv has countered that Gazprom owes it around $1 billion for gas following Russia's annexation of Crimea.
 
Ukraine is also the transit country for about half of the gas Russia sells to the European Union, so the dispute threatens supplies to Europe.

VOA's Gabe Joselow contributed to this story from Kyiv. Some reporting by Reuters, AP.
 

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: Vovan from: Ukraine
May 29, 2014 6:46 AM
Not listen Russian chauvinists! Ukrainians hate Russians for annexation of Crimea, as hated them before for occupation of the entire country yet from 17 century. Ukraine is not Russia!

In Response

by: PrayerInTheDark from: Nowhere
May 29, 2014 12:33 PM
WUT??? Ukranians can do all they want to, but I'm afraid that ukranians don't care about crimeans opinion, right?


by: Anonymous
May 29, 2014 4:35 AM
Ukraine should cut link with russia. Russia is looking for a chance to annex the whole of ukraine. Thanks to usa and other nations for their interventions. I am asking putin , why not go around the world and annex russian speaking communities so that you can be free from punishment on what you have done in ukraine.

In Response

by: Anonymous
May 29, 2014 1:56 PM
You are right, Putin is guilty of many things...
How he has dealt with both Syria and Ukraine is a disgrace to the world. He deserves to be investigated by the ICC. Wouldn't that be amazing?

In Response

by: Igor from: Russia
May 29, 2014 5:42 AM
Dear Mr. Anomymous, I am afraid that Ukraine dare not follow your stupid idea because it will contribute nothing to the stability of their country. Russia annexed Crimea because those in power in Kiev had acted stupidly according to the instructions of the West. Russia will do it again if the Ukrainian leader continue to obey the orders of the West instead of listening to its own people.

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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid