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 Anti-Muslim Sponsor of Texas Cartoon Contest Draws Ire

Pamela Geller's supporters say she speaks truth about sensitive topic, while critics say she preaches 'that Islam is inherently evil' More

East Meets West in Exhibition Showing Chinese Influence on Fashion

Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition juxtaposes influence of art, imagery and culture, from Imperial China to the present day, on Western fashion and design More

South Africa Begins New Love Affair With Vinyl Records

Enthusiasts say the 'rebirth' of vinyl is resulting in a rebirth of music in South Africa 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.
Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailandi
X
May 05, 2015 5:50 PM
Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailand

Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Russia's 'Victory Day' Glory Over Nazis Overshadowed by Ukraine

ussia is preparing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, known since the Soviet era as “The Great Patriotic War,” with a massive parade on May 9th of military hardware and millions of medals handed out to veterans or their relatives. But critics say the Soviet-style display of power and nationalism overshadows tragic scars during and after the war that still influence politics and foreign policy, especially in the current Ukraine crisis.
Video

Video WWII Anniversary Brings Old Friends and New Worries

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has special significance, with Russia becoming more assertive in Ukraine and sending its military planes to the edges of western countries’ airspace. Changes in the geostrategic balance and the transatlantic relationship are felt across the continent, not least in German towns that have hosted U.S. military bases since the defeat of Nazi Germany. VOA’s Al Pessin visited Schweinfurt, Germany, where a large base closed last year.
Video

Video Abraham Lincoln Funeral Re-created for 150th Civil War Anniversary

Over the last four years, commemorative events to mark the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War have brought thousands of visitors to battlefields and historic landmarks across the country. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, the final event in the Civil War's sesquicentennial honors the final journey home of the slain American President, Abraham Lincoln.
Video

Video Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalists

Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Volunteers Pull Together to Aid Baltimore Riot Victims

Calm has returned to Baltimore, Maryland, after authorities lifted an overnight curfew imposed almost a week ago to stem the rioting that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray - the 25-year-old black man who died of spinal injuries suffered while in police custody. Six police officers, three of them African-American, have been charged in connection with his death. Baltimore is now trying to get back to normal, in part with the help of volunteers who responded to calls to help those in the city'
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Obama Praises Work of 3 Immigrant Journalists

President Barack Obama met with three immigrant journalists at the White House Friday to praise them for their work ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3. In attendance: Dieu Cay (his pen name) a blogger from Vietnam recently released from prison; Lily Mengesha from Ethiopia who was harassed and detained for exposing the marrying off of young girls as child brides, and Fatima Tlisova, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasus region of Russia, who works for VOA's Russian Service.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs