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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid