News / Europe

Kyiv Battles Separatists Along Border; Proposes New Sanctions

Ukrainian servicemen stand on bridge ruined during battles between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists on the outskirts of Slaviansk, Aug. 8, 2014.
Ukrainian servicemen stand on bridge ruined during battles between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists on the outskirts of Slaviansk, Aug. 8, 2014.
VOA News

Ukrainian government forces battled Russian-backed separatists in eastern regions Friday, a top official said, as Kyiv proposed sanctions against dozens of Russian companies and individuals.

The fighting came as Ukraine’s armed forces tightened cordons in and around the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, the last remaining strongholds for rebels whose insurgency is now in its fifth month.

At least 15 servicemen were killed and 79 wounded as troops broke out of encirclement by separatist forces near the border with Russia, said Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the National Security and Defense Council.

Lysenko alleged they had been targeted both by the separatists and Russian military units firing across the border.

It was impossible to confirm the allegation of cross-border fire, though intelligence and witness reports have documented multiples instances of rockets and artillery being fired from the Russian side of the border in recent weeks.

Officials in Donetsk said four residents were killed and 18 wounded in shelling on Thursday. Lysenko was quoted by The Associated Press as denying that Ukrainian forces had shelled Donetsk.

New sanctions

Meanwhile, Kyiv on Friday moved to join the United States, Australia and several European governments in imposing sanctions against Russian companies and individuals. A total of 65 companies and 172 citizens of Russia and other countries are being targeted, according to Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

The measure, which will be submitted to parliament, is aimed at those who "have been financing terrorism, supported the annexation of Crimea and encroached on the territorial integrity of Ukraine," Yatsenyuk was quoted by the Interfax-Ukraine news agency as saying.

The action against Russian companies would include freezing assets, limiting trade operations and banning capital withdrawal from Ukraine, he said. They could also include a ban on air flights and transit of cargo and commodities through Ukraine.

It wasn’t immediately what the impact of the sanctions would be, though Ukraine’s economy is closely interlinked with Russia’s. Moscow had imposed some punitive trade measures earlier, and any large scale retaliation would have a sever effect on Ukraine’s already battered economy.  

A day earlier, Russia stopped imports of most food from the West in retaliation for U.S. and EU sanctions. Roughly 10 percent of EU agricultural exports go to Russia, worth around 11 billion euros annually, according to Reuters.

UN Reports of Rights Abuses

Also Friday, a senior U.N. human rights official said that there was a “reign of fear and terror” in areas under control of separatist rebels. Ivan Simonovic told the U.N. Security Council that the government since April has recorded over 900 abductions by armed groups, including many journalists, politicians, students and even international monitors.

“Abducted individuals have been used as an exchange currency to free members of armed groups detained by the government; to extort money or property and as a source of forced labor, to dig trenches or barricades close to the epicenter of the violence,” Simonovic said.

More than 1,500 people have been killed since mid-April, he said.

Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, criticized the report as an “example of exquisite political rhetoric where facts and conclusions are shaped to fit certain political requirements.”

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power questioned Russia’s proposed humanitarian corridors for affected areas of eastern Ukraine, saying aid should be delivered by international organizations, like the Red Cross.

“Any further unilateral intervention by Russia into Ukrainian territory – including one under the guise of providing humanitarian aid – would be completely unacceptable and deeply alarming,” she said. “And it would be viewed as an invasion of Ukraine.”

Western analysts say about 20,000 Russian troops have redeployed near the border in recent days, along with armor, infantry, special forces and aircraft.

VOA's U.N. correspondent Margaret Besheer contributed to this report.  Some information for this report comes from AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: david ochami from: mombasa kenya
August 10, 2014 12:56 PM
The so called West which means the UK and USA should remove its nose in the Black Sea issues. The British especially have interfered in Russia since the 16th century to embarass and humiliate the Russians. The US joined them in the 19th century and now Poland and other Baltic sub-countries are being lined up to join


by: jon from: USA
August 09, 2014 4:04 PM
Igor everyone knows Putin (Russia) is stickin his nose where it doesn't belong,,, Putin is the one causing the starvation... Putin needs ya have his *** kicked again...


by: Igor from: Russia
August 08, 2014 10:32 PM
It is irony that those who are bringing starvation to their own population is asking for more sanctions against Russia. Your teachers, the West, are feeling the bitter response from Russia although they try to deny that. If you would like to live in peace, look down and shut up or you will have nothing left one day!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid