News / Europe

European Leaders to Discuss Energy Security, Ukraine Conflict

FILE - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
FILE - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
VOA News

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko is set to attend a summit next week with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to address the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

Poroshenko's office described the August 26 summit in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, as an effort aimed at "stabilizing the situation in Ukraine."  Top Poroshenko aide Valery Chaly said the talks will include Ukraine's expanding economic ties with the European Union and energy security.

A Kremlin statement said a number of meetings will take place at the summit, which includes EU representatives and the leaders of Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The meeting will be the first direct encounter between Poroshenko and Putin since their joint participation at a World War II anniversary observance in Normandy, France, in June.

The EU delegation will reportedly be led by the bloc's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.

Ahead of the talks in Minsk, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to meet with Poroshenko in Kyiv Saturday, her office anounced.

A top Poroshenko administration official said that the Minsk meeting presented a unique opportunity with regards to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

“I’ll cautiously say it’s a chance to start a real negotiation process,” said Valery Chaly, Poroshenko’s deputy chief of staff.

Bodies of 17 civilians recovered

The Ukrainian government says it has recovered the bodies of 17 civilians who were in a convoy of vehicles fleeing Luhansk when they were struck by a missile Monday.

Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said Tuesday efforts to recover more bodies have been suspended due to fighting in the war-torn eastern area.

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Lysenko announced at a news conference in Kyiv late Monday that separatists had fired Grad rockets, supplied by Russia, at a convoy of civilians fleeing the besieged city of Luhansk.

Speaking Tuesday, he said women and children were among the dead but added it was impossible to ascertain how many may have died in the attack. Other Ukrainian officials said some of the dead were burned to death in their vehicles.

The separatists denied allegations they were behind the attack, although insurgent leaders don’t deny some kind of rocket attack took place Monday that led to civilian deaths.

But they accused Ukrainian government forces of being responsible for the deadly strike, claiming that Ukrainian troops routinely bomb roads.

  • Ukrainian refugees walk from Ukraine into Russia at a border crossing point in Russia's Rostov region, Aug. 19, 2014.
  • A member of the Ukrainian military self-defense battalion "Donbas" sits in a school library, currently used as a medical post, in the eastern town of Popasna in the Donetsk region, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • Volunteers of battalion 'Donbas' hold battalion flags during a blessing ceremony in St. Michael Cathedral in Kyiv, Aug. 19, 2014. 
  • People go about their daily lives at a refugee camp set up for Ukrainians in Russia's Rostov region near the Russia-Ukraine border, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • People clean themselves at a refugee camp set up for Ukrainians in Russia's Rostov region near the Russia-Ukraine border, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • A Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine is parked at a camp in Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, Rostov region, Aug. 19, 2014.
  • New arrivals stand in a line to register at a refugee camp in Russia's Rostov region, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • People receive food at a canteen of a refugee camp in Russia's Rostov region, Aug. 18, 2014.


US condemns shelling

The U.S. State Department condemned the shelling of the convoy but said it couldn't confirm who was responsible.

The death toll in Ukraine has risen sharply since April, when the Ukrainian army, supported by volunteer battalions, launched a counter-insurgency operation  to try to liberate cities and towns seized by separatists in the country's eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Last week, the United Nations nearly doubled its estimate of the number of people killed in the conflict to 2,086, as of August 10.

Ukrainian soldiers load a Grad missile during fighting with pro-Russian separatists close to Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 18, 2014.Ukrainian soldiers load a Grad missile during fighting with pro-Russian separatists close to Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 18, 2014.
x
Ukrainian soldiers load a Grad missile during fighting with pro-Russian separatists close to Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 18, 2014.
Ukrainian soldiers load a Grad missile during fighting with pro-Russian separatists close to Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 18, 2014.


Half are likely civilians, officials told VOA. They include 298 who died in the downing of a Malaysian commercial jet last month by a missile that Western governments have said was fired by rebels and supplied by Russia.

The U.N. blamed most civilian casualties on the separatists.

Some civilians in Donetsk and Luhansk - it isn’t clear how many - have died when Grad rockets struck their homes.

The rumble of rocket and mortar exchanges can be heard daily in both cities with episodic bombardments, most often at night or around dawn.

Trading blame

Ukrainian officials say they are only fighting a ground war and are not firing artillery towards residential areas. They claimed rebels are responsible for the bombings, conducting them for propaganda purposes to place the blame on Kyiv.

The accuracy of the claims of either side are difficult to verify.

VOA has heard Grads being launched from behind government lines and has been told by Ukrainian soldiers that insurgent mortar and rocket fire is answered with their own artillery.

Equally, VOA has traveled down roads in and out of Donetsk that have come under mortar fire from rebel positions.

Combatants from both sides are operating in residential areas, mixing with civilians, and the ordnance being used is old and far from accurate.

Ukraine bans Russian TV

Ukraine has suspended the rights of 14 Russian television channels, including Russia Today and Life News, to broadcast on cable networks in Ukraine, accusing them of spreading misinformation.

The channels are banned temporarily for “broadcasting propaganda of war and violence,” Ukrainian interior ministry official Anton Gerashenko said on Tuesday in a Facebook post – a medium often used by some Ukrainian officials.

Kyiv ready to compromise on gas

Ukraine's energy minister on Tuesday said Kyiv was ready to pay an interim price for Russian gas and criticized Russia's Gazprom for its unwillingness to negotiate.

“We are ready to talk about some kind of reasonable compromise price... but Gazprom is not taking part in the negotiation process,” Yuri Prodan said Tuesday.

In June, Ukraine said it was ready to pay a compromise price of $326 per 1,000 cubic meters of Russian natural gas for an interim 18-month period to allow time to end the pricing dispute with Moscow.

Russia has been charging Ukraine $485 per 1,000 cubic meters for natural gas, more than any other European customer.

Many observers see the price as political punishment for Ukraine’s newle-embraced West-ward orientation.

Jamie Dettmer contributed to this report from Ukraine. Some information provided by Reuters.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sergey from: NY
August 19, 2014 3:01 PM
Need to help Ukraine in war vs Putin. Because Ukraine alone now and separating Russian from EU.
If EU will not stop aggressor__ later Russia will introduce troops on territory of EU.
In Response

by: David from: USA
August 20, 2014 4:22 AM
Yes. Russia is aggressor and annexation of Crimea is broken peace in the World. We must not betray Ukrainians...

by: van from: vn
August 19, 2014 12:26 PM
Putin protected Assad, (the US and Nato) we don't say
Putin invaded Georgia , (the US and Nato) we don't say
Putin took Crimea, (the US and Nato) we don't say
Putin invaded Ukraine, we never tolerate.
In Response

by: Michael from: S-Pb
August 20, 2014 2:39 AM
1, You somehow quickly forgotten that Georgia attacked first by the Russian peacekeepers.
2, What would you say if Lavrov took "pies" protesters in Ferguson?
3, How do you feel about the NATO bombing of Serbia for Kosovo's secession?
4, What evidence Russian intervention in the affairs of Ukraine, the edges of "ducks" in social networks?
In Response

by: Sergey from: Moldova
August 20, 2014 2:27 AM
Do you know the "Dead Sea"? It was killed by Putin. You don't say.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
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 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 Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
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 Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
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 Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs