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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs