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

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.