News / Europe

Ukraine's President Vows to Take Back East from Pro-Russia Rebels

Ukraine's President Vows to Take Back East from Pro-Russia Rebelsi
Daniel Schearf
July 09, 2014 7:30 PM
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has visited troops in the eastern part of the country where the military forced out pro-Russia rebels. While the two sides prepare for what could be a final battle, Moscow and Kyiv say a negotiated ceasefire is still possible - though some political analysts say Russia's strategic objective is to prolong the conflict. More from VOA's Daniel Schearf in Moscow.
Daniel Schearf

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has vowed to retake remaining rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine, but says government forces will exercise restraint.

Speaking while visiting troops in the former rebel stronghold of Slovyansk, the president said there would be "no street fighting" in Donetsk. He called pro-Russian insurgents "just an annoyance" to residents of that eastern city, saying the only way forward is through peace, disarmament and amnesty.  

While the two sides prepare for what could be a final battle, Moscow and Kyiv say a negotiated ceasefire is still possible - though some political analysts say Russia's strategic objective is to prolong the conflict.  

According to Stanislav Belkovsky, founder and director of the Moscow-based Institute of National Strategy, retaing rebel-held parts of the country will be no easy task.

“The principal battles are still ahead," said Belkovsky. "Donetsk and Luhansk could be protected from Ukrainian forces much more efficiently by the separatists and by terrorists than small Slovyansk. So I would not exaggerate the real military significance of this victory."

The rebels are refusing to give up their weapons and have blown up bridges and fortified checkpoints leading to Donetsk in preparation for a fight.

"Now they are approaching a scenario that is least beneficial to them and most beneficial to us — a war in the city," said Alexander Khodakovsky, security chief of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People's Republic. "So the numerical advantage in the level of troops is compensated by the conditions we will find ourselves in during the fighting."

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, is urging an unconditional ceasefire.

"They [rebels] are ready for that," said Lavrov. "But they are not ready to respond to ultimatum demands to capitulate and give in to the winners hoping for an amnesty, which was promised in President Poroshenko's peace plan, in order to pave the way for the dialogue."

Kyiv accuses Russia of supplying rebels with arms, a charge Moscow denies.

Many worry that Russian President Vladimir Putin could choose more direct military intervention to ensure the rebels' survival.

“Right now Putin's policy is to keep it stable and have a frozen kind of conflict, which would give Russia very good leverage over the government in Kyiv," said Pavel Felgengauer, a columnist with Moscow's Novaya Gazeta newspaper.

Meanwhile, the battle for Ukraine’s future continues — leaving lasting scars in the rebel-controlled east.

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Comment Sorting
by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 10, 2014 4:37 AM
Ukraine was it's own sovereign nation before the USSR took it, like the way the USSR took other countries. Russia made an agreement with Ukraine to become independent after the Soviet break up. Ukraine has it's internal problems, and does not show affinity towards actual Ukrainian-Russian citizens. Ukraine is as much to blame for this uprising as Russia is. Russians who swore citizenship to Ukraine, did nothing to assimilate to Ukraines way of life, so there in itself is a break in citizenship. Did that give Ukraine the right to be oppressive towards another citizen, NO! Did that give Russia the right to arm rebels, NO! But this divide in the Ukraine peoples obviously couldn't be resolved without thousands of lives being destroyed, families torn apart, and the long and enduring pain and suffering that follows.

This is Ukraine's opportunity to show the Ukrainian-Russians that it is better to be in Ukraine than Russia. Kind of the way the British who remained in the US after the Revolutionary War. They too realized that being in America was far better than returning to stuffy-oppressive England.

Ukraine government needs to show the world that Ukraine can handle this without intervention from anyone. Russia must give back Crimea, this was annexed illegally, violated many international laws...............that Russia agreed to, and Russia even authored some of these laws when Russia feared annexation of Russian lands from neighboring countries after the break up of the Soviet Union.

by: Anonymous
July 10, 2014 4:17 AM

by: meanbill from: USA
July 09, 2014 8:42 PM
REMEMBER Kosovo? .. They may be able to reunite southeastern Ukraine with the rest of Ukraine, but will they ever get the Ukrainians and Russian speaking people, living together again?..... or will Ukraine be like another Afghanistan, with the pro-Russians fighting a guerrilla war, for many years?

I remember when the US invaded Iraq... and for the first (6) weeks we were laughing at how bad the Iraq army was... (and then, after a year)... we Americans back home had stopped laughing, and after (7) long years decided the US troops should come home, without winning the war, and not finding those weapons of mass destruction...... REALLY
In Response

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 10, 2014 7:58 AM
Hey Igor, remember when Russia invaded Afghanistan? How did that work out for you guys?? hehe
In Response

by: Ivan from: Ukraine
July 10, 2014 7:21 AM
Firstly, there are no language, nation or religion conflicts. Ukrainians are bilingual. In any way they excellent understand both languages. They still live peacefully together in all 24 oblasts except some cities in Lugansk and Donetsk regions. It means that all associations with Kosovo are ridiculous.

Secondly, what is the real reason for disorders? Lugansk and Donetsk regions are the most depressive in Ukraine. It important to say that economic and social problems did not solved there for decades. The majority of people there is laborers and miners, who have a lot of problems with work since USSR collapse. As sequence the crime and corruption level there is the most significant in Ukraine. Of course these facts give fruitful ground for social protests.

Thirdly, is it possible to find a compromise with rebels? Negotiations can be possible when at least two conditions are met: participation of responsible and representative persons; sides must have well-defined positions. Let’s see who protesters are, and who support them. It is known that among them are marginal, without stable incomes to live, Russians fanatics, police officers and soldiers who break oath etc. Rebel leader neglect any legal procedures to define people demand. And support of them is too minor to have representation in establishment.

So the first condition cannot be met because person who was not elected, who do not have people support but use weapons to control territory cannot be considered as negotiator but terrorist. It also clear the second condition cannot be satisfied. The reason of conflict is not to make Donetsk and Lugansk people happy, but make Ukraine government weak and driven. Nevertheless three tries to find a peaceful solution took place. The result is known. It means that in reality rebels are mercenaries. And their reasons dictated from Moscow.
In Response

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 10, 2014 4:23 AM
You almost had me thinking that you were on the right track, and focussing on the issue being discussed. You're almost there Meanbill. You will have a great comment one day without injecting anti-American comments into it. So close. But don't give up, you will one day realize that the greatest country in the world, that allows you to insult it everyday, is still happy to have you as one of it's citizens.........REALLY

I spent a lot of time in Iraq, many years. Talking to Iraqis themselves. You, Meanbill, have never met an Iraqi. Saddam dammed up rivers to dry up villages because they didn't support his regime. Villages of men, women, and children. Most perished, thousands suffered and died. Children and babies, Meanbill. Just one example of Saddam's power. What is your classification of WMD's? When hate-speech makers, like yourself, have the opportunity to experience what real horror and pain is, then you wouldn't be wasting your words on hate-America, you WILL be wondering why we haven't evolved better than this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! America may not be perfect, and made and continue to make senseless mistakes, I agree. But those who gave their lives for someone like you, to HATE this country, deserve at least a little respect. Try it for once, see if you can do it.

Your hate-speeches continue to flame violence and pain.....REALLY
In Response

by: Igor from: Russia
July 10, 2014 3:35 AM
You are right.

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