News / Europe

Ukraine's President in Brussels for EU Talks on Russian Separatists

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (R) welcomes Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (L) as he arrives at the EU council in Brussels, Aug. 30, 2014.
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (R) welcomes Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (L) as he arrives at the EU council in Brussels, Aug. 30, 2014.
VOA News

Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko arrived in Brussels Saturday where he will try to persuade the European Union to do more to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from supporting Ukraine's separatist rebels.

Earlier Saturday, Ukrainian military officials said a fighter jet was shot down by a Russian missile during fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country.

A Ukrainian military statement said the Su-25 was shot down Friday, and the pilot managed to eject safely.  There was no indication of precisely where the incident took place.

NATO has called on Russia to cease its "illegal military operations" in eastern Ukraine, which it says are aimed at destabilizing the country.

The comments by NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Friday followed an emergency meeting in Brussels to discuss the worsening crisis.

Rasmussen, referencing satellite images released by his organization Thursday, said it is now clear that Russian troops and equipment have illegally crossed the border into eastern Ukraine. He said this is not an isolated incident, but part of a pattern over many months to destabilize Ukraine as a sovereign nation.

Watch related video by VOA's Daniel Schearf in Moscow

Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
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Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.


The NATO chief also said Moscow has fired on Ukraine, both from Russia and from within the country itself, where NATO estimates 1,000 Russian troops are operating. It says another 20,000 are marshaled near Ukraine's border.

"We urge Russia to cease its illegal military actions, stop its support to armed separatists, and take immediate and verifiable steps towards de-escalation of this grave crisis," Rasmussen said.

His comments camea day after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Russian soldiers and armaments had crossed into eastern Ukraine and seized the town of Novoazovsk. Ukraine defense officials said Russian armored vehicles had surrounded the town and that several nearby villages were also seized.

EU condemnation

Meanwhile, the head of the European Commission has condemned Moscow's "significant incursions" into eastern Ukraine.

The commission said Jose Manuel Barroso had a "very frank exchange" with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday. During the phone call, Barroso said escalations in the months-long conflict are running afoul of the European Union's efforts to reach a diplomatic solution.

In a statement, the commission noted that the EU has "already made clear that further destabilization of Ukraine and the region will carry high costs."

A request for aid

Kyiv has asked NATO for support in dealing with the insurgents, who have launched a counteroffensive, allegedly with Moscow's help, to retake some areas in recent weeks.

What Ukraine got was more supportive words, and a hint of more action next week at a NATO summit. 

Rasmussen said he will make clear to Poroshenko, at the summit in Wales, NATO's "unwavering support" for and "strong solidarity" with Ukraine.

Ukraine’s prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said Friday that parliament would be asked to give up the country’s non-aligned status and pursue NATO membership, Reuters reported.

Rasmussen also said NATO leaders would decide at the summit on enhanced cooperation with Ukraine, including financing for upgrading its military logistics, command and control, and cyber security systems, and on help for its wounded troops.

Russia has repeatedly denied arming or sending troops to assist the pro-Moscow rebels.

"When such conjecture comes up and allegations about the Russian invasion are made ... it is probably connected to the fact that the rebels pushed the government troops back," Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said Friday.

He also accused the West of falsifying the satellite images.

NATO plans exercises

The latest Russian moves along Ukraine's southeastern frontier have raised international concerns that Moscow wants to create a land link between Russia and Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in March.  

On Friday, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said the United States will continue working with the U.S.-led NATO and its European allies in supporting Ukraine and in providing "nonlethal" aid.

But, he emphasized, "there's not going to be a U.S. military solution here," he told CNN.  

While NATO has planned military exercises next month in western Ukraine, far from the battlefront, experts say the likelihood of any overt military intervention is highly unlikely.

"There is no support for it, I think, at an alliance level," said Robin Niblet, who chairs an advisory committee for Rasmussen and directs London’s Chatham House, the international affairs nonprofit organization. "No one is going to go on their own. It’s just out of the question.”

Niblett said it is more likely NATO members will provide nonlethal assistance to Ukraine, impose stronger economic sanctions on Russia, strengthen its military presence in eastern member countries, including Poland and the Baltic States, and provide more aid to friendly non-members along Russia’s borders.

European Union foreign ministers also discussed Ukraine's crisis Friday, the eve of an EU summit that is expected to focus on imposing additional sanctions on Russia.

At the meeting in Italy, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said sanctions on Russia have had "no real impact."  He said it was time for the EU to consider other measures.

Will NATO accept Ukraine?

Ukraine announced Friday that it is seeking full membership in NATO, as a third front opened in its months long conflict with pro-Russia separatists.

Experts say NATO members will be reluctant to accept Ukraine, though, as long as it's in a conflict with Russia because the alliance is required to defend any member against attack. 

Preventing Ukraine from joining NATO is believed to be one of Russia’s main goals. And some experts say that could be a key element of a settlement, if Ukraine’s government is willing to pledge not to join the alliance. 

VOA's Al Pessin contributed to this report from London. Additional information was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

 

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by: kamanalo from: san diego, ca usa
August 30, 2014 3:56 PM
Ukraine is only asking for weapons and not Nato or american troops. But the best they are getting is more of those useless 'sanctions'.

by: Kazbek from: Ishmail
August 30, 2014 12:28 PM
I am disgusted of our cowardly government, and I wish McCain was our president. The White house is completely oblivious of the reality on the ground, fight useless wars in the Middle East, creating havoc, while failing to stand up to a major threat to the West since Hitler. Ukraine needs advanced antitank weapons to clear up the ground of Russian Armor. Putin is an evil man, who recently stated that he admired Hitlers propaganda minister, Gebbels, and that Kazakstan historically was not an independent country. Common, Washington! Wake up!

by: Popsiq from: Canada
August 30, 2014 9:59 AM
Had Porkoshenko not 'insisted' on a 'military solution to his 'rebels' before he brings 'peace' to the Ukraine, this might not be happening. But when you've got an army and a war to dijstract the sheeple while you steal them blind, again, why not use it? T only viable solution for Yatsenuk, the 'appointed' Prime Minister, is the same one Kyiv has wanted all along - somebody to step in and save them from themselves.

by: Mount Baten from: New Delhi
August 30, 2014 9:55 AM
Chines Government and Chines Political Army the Hans Chines PLA are polls apart when it comes to policy making .Both move in two different direction .The Chines Government is involved in Governance and economic development has no inkling with the Hans army .The Government goes in for economic collaboration with all keeping in mind the Economic growth and competition with western economy ,to be one up on them.
Now the regular Drama which is going on in the Russian Ukraine border ,if the Russians prevail and grab part of Ukraine and the Americans ,NATO and United Nation simply buckle in and track back leaving Ukraine high and dry ,the Chines Hans Army may be itching for similar adventure in Indian border assuming when the Russians can do it and go away with it why cant we. Need of the hour is full war time preparedness 24x7 and Military advise from NATO /JAPAN and other such country as to how to counter the Hans ant army in case of WAR.The best weapon to snuff of Hans ants in one go. The defense should never be allowed to go in hibernation with casual out look -Jab larai hoga tab dekha jaiga .How to counter Human waive of infinite Hans army by killing them in split second (No surrender of Army as second Maj Gen Jacob is not there in Indian Army only he had the skill of making 90,000 Pakistani surrender simply with his baton/wits and nothing else and is a unrewarded Hero of Indian Army,people like Tendulker get Bharat Ratna,this happens only in India),is the strategy which has to explored while still there is time or else we will make a joke of ourselves the way Nehru relished to become one.
WAKE UP INDIA.

by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, USA
August 30, 2014 7:40 AM
It's true the fiendish Russian intervention in Ukraine does have any undeclared root-cause that yet to be in world fore. Out of the erstwhile Soviet Union; after its dissolve, emerged many independent states, most powerful being Russia. The Russian language speaking area plea has been materialized by annexation of Crimea into the Russian territory. Still
the mesh between Russia and Ukraine does persist on in a Cold War phase pattern. And, Russia is directly, indirectly involved in terrorising the Ukranian govt., people and territory. Albeit our support along with our NATO allies does remain for the Poroshenko govt. in Ukraine, still the Russian foul meddlings do go on......... In the Brussels meet, the Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko is welcome. Alright. But viable strategies are necessary to deterring the Russian meedlings in Ukraine. The NATO joint military option with the Ukranian defense? That yet to be decided. Another option - if Ukranie can be accepted in the NATO memembership? That yet to be decided, finalised by the member states. Imposing economic sanctions on Russia do not appear to be an instant deterrent factor. That appears to be ineffective so far. Besides, while there's lethalty of the discrimen plaguing Ukraine, the non-lethal military supplies do not make any sense at all. It has become mandatorily necessary the NATO forces and sophisticated defense hardwares should move with the Ukranian defense to completely nullify the illegal Russian intervention in the Ukranian state urgently.

by: PhilipB from: Ottawa
August 30, 2014 7:37 AM
It seems to me that the only Nato country calling this an invasion is Canada. Our foreign Minister has tweeted this a few times now. (Correct me if I am wrong) I personally do not want to see any Nato soldiers die in the Ukraine, but we should yank Putin's economy from under his feet and watch him fall, Ukraine needs us to respond. Yesterday Putin reminded everyone he has a nice Nuclear arsenal and not to "mess with him" but he can't use his arsenal to force trade. If anyone can put a stop to him, it is the Russian ppl once economic sanctions hit and see that he has completely isolated them for the sake of 1950's vanity.

by: Alexander the Great from: USA
August 30, 2014 7:34 AM
Ukraine needs to share the power to solve the problem. Fighting is not the solution. Treat every citizen equal regardless of political point of view. Ukraine president knows chocolate business but not politics yet and need to form the federations with decentralize power and sharing power.

by: the wise from: vn
August 30, 2014 6:51 AM
I think right from now, right at this moment! Nato must plan a new comprehensive strategy: attack a country with all mobilized power from all directions, at one time, all EU participate. the enemy with nuclear power can not return hands. the enemy will be destroyed in 1 hour, only then Nato can win the war .

by: DellStator from: US
August 29, 2014 9:48 PM
Article could have been written anytime in last 2 months, toothless ultimatums and blatant lies.
1. Putin thanks the world press legitimizing his lies by continually referring to the Russian Mercs in the Ukraine as rebels, 100 tank columns as Rebel led, etc.
2. Only effective sanction is for a full embargo and asset freeze until Russia out and builds border fence, walls and anti tank ditches to keep themselves out.
3. Alternatively, the West can continue doing business with the crooks and tyrants in Russia, but send tens of thousands of military, intelligence, judicial, police specialists and trainers into the Ukraine to create an effective modern gov't and army that won't piss off the people they serve. Along with all non- lethal equipment, logistic support, retool Ukraine to produce it's own lethal equipment. Along with the billions in loans to keep the country afloat for the years it will take.
In other words
Good thing Ukrainians speak Russian, because they will all be Russian within 6 months.
In Response

by: Ivan from: Donetsk
August 29, 2014 11:04 PM
Game over Putin. You have lost!

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 29, 2014 8:00 PM
Is there any legal military action? If so, what is it ? Is it not the one-way imagination?
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