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

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    City could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters

    Turkey Aims New Crackdown at Journalists, Academics, Airline Workers

    Ankara continues targeting people allegedly linked to exiled cleric, who it says led the failed military coup

    Pakistan Ready to Inaugurate Rebuilt Afghan Border Crossing

    Construction of Torkham Gate triggered deadly clashes between Pakistani and Afghan military forces

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora