News / Europe

    Separatists Down Ukrainian Helicopter

    Pro-Russian separatists hold rocket-propelled grenade projectiles in Siversk, Donetsk region, June 19, 2014.
    Pro-Russian separatists hold rocket-propelled grenade projectiles in Siversk, Donetsk region, June 19, 2014.
    VOA News
    Pro-Russian separatists have shot down a Ukrainian military helicopter, just a day after the rebels announced a week-long truce in eastern Ukraine matching the cease-fire declared by the country's president.

    A Ukrainian military spokesman, Vladislav Seleznyov, said the helicopter was brought down near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk by rebels using a portable anti-aircraft missile launcher, and that, according to preliminary information, all nine servicemen aboard were killed.

    In response, Ukraine's president, Petro Poroshenko, said that the cease-fire announced by him may be cut short, according to a release on his website. In a statement, Poroshenko said rebels had violated their own peace offering. He also ordered government forces to open fire "without hesitation" if attacked.

    Poroshenko said he was looking forward to a four-way teleconference Wednesday with Germany's Angela Merkel, France's Francois Hollande and Russia's Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation.

    He expressed hope that the talks would lead to "concrete steps on Russia's part to ensure the disarmament and removal of mercenaries from Ukrainian territory as well as lead to measures that would stabilize the security situation on the border."

    On Monday, a leader of pro-Russian separatists battling Ukrainian troops in eastern Ukraine said that the rebels will observe a truce until June 27, to run parallel with the cease-fire President Petro Poroshenko declared on Friday.

    Putin blames Kyiv

    Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to accuse Kyiv of breaking the cease-fire, telling reporters in Vienna Tuesday that Ukrainian paratroopers had been deployed in the area of Slovyansk, where he said a battle is taking place between government and separatist forces. He called reports of casualties in the fighting there "sad."

    Russian news agencies quote Putin as saying the cease-fire should be extended beyond seven days, and must be accompanied by "substantive" efforts to achieve peace.

    Earlier Tuesday, President Putin asked the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, to revoke the right it granted him in March to send the Russian military into Ukraine to defend Russian nationals and Russian-speaking Ukrainians -- a move that was welcomed by President Poroshenko.

    Still, Putin said later Tuesday that Russia will "always" protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine, as well as Ukrainians who feel close ties to Russia.

    A senior United Nations human rights official, Ivan Simonovic, said Tuesday that an estimated 423 people, including military personnel and civilians, were killed in eastern Ukraine from mid-April to June 20.

    On Monday, talks between pro-Russian separatist leaders and a Ukrainian government envoy, former president Leonid Kuchma, aimed at ending the crisis got under way in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

    Officials say further talks are set for this week.

    U.S. President Barack Obama has called on Putin to pressure the pro-Russian separatists to observe the cease-fire and halt the flow of weapons across the border from Russia.

    Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: I Ching from: China
    June 24, 2014 5:20 PM
    i must tell you VOA, that this Ukraine is very tragic... but really no one cares..!!! all we want to know are more stories about struggles of Israel. really. Israel is such a source of fascination to us. the rest of the world can go to hell


    by: Popsiq from: Buganda
    June 24, 2014 4:56 PM
    The ceasefire is reality only in western media. Eastern Ukraine remains a battle zone. Slavyansk is still under active seige. Fighting has spread to Donetsk. New areas of the border have been abandoned by government forces and other areas have been attacked.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora