News / Europe

Kyiv: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

  • A Pro-Russian rebel stands in a tent riddled with holes caused by shrapnel at the Novoazovsk border crossing point, in eastern Ukraine, Aug. 29, 2014.
  • A camouflaged pro-Russian tank is seen in the town of Novoazovsk, in eastern Ukraine, Aug. 29, 2014. 
  • Foreign military attaches and media look at grenade launchers seized from pro-Russian separatists in the eastern regions of Ukraine, Aug. 29, 2014. 
  • A foreign military attache inspects a multiple rocket launcher from pro-Russian separatists in the eastern region of Ukraine, Aug. 29, 2014. 
  • Ukrainian Ambassador to NATO, Ihor Dolhov, holds a news conference after an emergency NATO-Ukraine meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Aug. 29, 2014.
  • President Vladimir Putin called on pro-Russian separatists to release Ukrainian soldiers who have been surrounded by the rebels in eastern Ukraine, Aug. 29, 2014. In this photo, President Putin arrives at a meeting with participants in the youth educational forum at the Seliger youth camp near Lake Seliger, some 450 kilometres northwest of Moscow, in Tver region, Russia, Aug. 29, 2014.
  • Russian stock indexes and the ruble plunged on Thursday, August 28, 2014 as Ukraine accused Russia of sending its army to support separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, increasing the likelihod of new western sanctions against Russia.
New Russian Moves in Ukraine Challenge NATO
Gabe Joselow

Ukrainian security officials on Friday said Russian forces have tightened their control on territory in eastern Ukraine after crossing the border to support separatist rebels.

Meanwhile, a new United Nations report documents serious human rights abuses committed by both sides in the conflict.

Ukrainian national security spokesman Andriy Lysenko told reporters in Kyiv Friday that Russian troops are collaborating with the rebels to strengthen their hold on Novoazovsk, a key Ukrainian town near the border with Russia.

Russian forces are patrolling its streets with members of the main separatist authority, the Donetsk People's Republic, checking the registration of civilian cars and detaining those who are registered elsewhere, Lysenko said.

Novoazovsk, UkraineNovoazovsk, Ukraine
Novoazovsk, Ukraine
Novoazovsk, Ukraine

"Districts are being mined," he said, "while Russian military shelling has damaged a bread factory and a local agricultural plant."

Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of escalating its involvement in the months-long conflict by sending soldiers and equipment across the border and increasing artillery attacks from Russian soil.

NATO on Thursday released satellite images purportedly documenting the movement of Russian supplies in Ukraine.

Russia repeats denials

Russia continues to deny allegations it is supporting the rebels, calling the conflict a Ukrainian domestic issue.

In an address to separatist fighters published Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Ukrainian military operations in the east represent a "grave danger" to the civilian population.

Citing a "humanitarian catastrophe," he called on Kyiv to immediately stop its military actions.

He also called on pro-Moscow separatists to free Ukrainian soldiers that have been surrounded in eastern Ukraine. In a Kremlin statement Friday, he urged the insurgents to "open a humanitarian corridor" for the troops in order to avoid "senseless deaths."

Rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko told Russian media that he is ready to comply with the request, but that the soldiers must first give up their weapons.

UN shares data

The United Nations said Friday that nearly 2,600 people have been killed since fighting broke out in mid-April. That does not include the 298 people killed when a Malaysian airliner was shot down July 17 above the war-torn area.

Fighting has intensified in August, with roughly three dozen people killed daily in eastern Ukraine, according to the U.N.'s assistant secretary general for human rights.

A pro-Ukrainian fighter is held in a garage in the eastern Ukraine town of Novoazovsk Aug. 29, 2014.A pro-Ukrainian fighter is held in a garage in the eastern Ukraine town of Novoazovsk Aug. 29, 2014.
A pro-Ukrainian fighter is held in a garage in the eastern Ukraine town of Novoazovsk Aug. 29, 2014.
A pro-Ukrainian fighter is held in a garage in the eastern Ukraine town of Novoazovsk Aug. 29, 2014.

Ivan Simonovic, speaking at the report’s release in Kyiv Friday, expressed particular concern about increased Russian involvement.

"Especially disturbing is the alleged increase in participation of foreign fighters in hostilities, which further fuels the conflict," Simonovic said. The leader of an armed group "stated yesterday that thousands of Russian citizens, including regular army soldiers on leave, are fighting beside them."

Violations attributed to both sides

The U.N. report says armed rebel groups have been responsible for most of the abuses taking place in the east, including abductions, physical and psychological torture and forced recruitment.

Battalions operating under Ukrainian government control are also accused of abuses such as unlawful detention, forced disappearances and torture.

Simonovic called for efforts to ensure that perpetrators of human-rights violations are brought to justice.

"People, while they are in the midst of conflict, tend to forget that the moment of truth will come and that the moment of individual responsibility will follow," Simonovic said.

Ukraine's international allies, as well as the United Nations and NATO, have expressed concerns about reports of increased Russian military involvement in the conflict.

On Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama accused Russia of deliberately violating Ukraine's sovereignty and warned that Moscow could face further economic sanctions.

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Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
August 31, 2014 10:08 PM
What the heck? Russia has no business within Ukraine's borders. Nor does Russia have ANY business building up forces there for any reasons. This act of aggression should be met with aggression by the world. The world should condemn Putin, and isolate business to within his own country. Cut him off once and for all he is obviously not "For" the Russian people because he is digging them into so many economic sanctions everyday. The Russians need to get rid of Putin, oust him, and he should be criminally investigated for Ukraine, Syria, and Chechnya involvement and held FULLY accountable for his crimes if proven.

The world should now begin helping Ukraine by asking if they would like our forces to guard their country from any outsiders. All of this would put Putins money where his mouth is.

by: Wahid from: Bangladesh
August 31, 2014 3:15 PM
I do not understand why the EU and NATO want to expand ? They want to encircle Russia. They think they are always right. EU always follow the order of USA.

by: Anonymous
August 31, 2014 12:31 PM
Russian military have absolutely zero business stepping a foot in Ukraine. In fact Putin should also be arrested for many of his recent actions.

by: Alexander the Great from: USA
August 30, 2014 7:13 AM
The USA has no benefit having Ukraine in the western side. Why risk for the WW III.
In Response

by: Will from: USA
August 31, 2014 3:33 PM
Because in the 90's the US agreed to help Ukraine if anyone were to attack them. Ukraine agreed to give up nuclear weapons and we agreed to protect them
Look it up it pays to know history

by: David from: Slovakia
August 30, 2014 2:32 AM
If Ukraine, the nation who wants to be a part of EU will lose to Russia and we will not defend them...EU will be militarized with billions euro to spend...

by: Natalie from: Norway
August 30, 2014 2:13 AM
We betrayed Ukrainians... From here on,no nation will pursue closer ties with EU or USA. That's would be the end of prosperity of the West. It seems like Putin gained his goal...

by: Baloyi from: Tzaneen, South Africa
August 30, 2014 1:09 AM
The west should ask Ukraine to stop the war and negotiate with the freedom fighters in the east of the country. Sanctions and even N.A.T.O military action will not help in resolving the problem but will only do stabilise the global economy and lead to unnecessary deaths.

by: Andy
August 29, 2014 5:12 PM
I am an American and sad that we have such a weak foreign policy. I am by no means a person that is willing to spill US blood but we need to put the teeth into our words, whether that is through harsher economic sanctions that really take a bite from the Russian economy or provide military arms to Ukraine to help their government.

by: Anonymous
August 29, 2014 2:56 PM
Yep. It would be better if obama said nothing. At least he wouldnt sound so wishy washy. Hard to take seriously.
In Response

by: Midas from: Canada
August 30, 2014 7:03 AM
The first thing you do is blame Obama? Please. The US needs is not stupid. Russia has thousands of nuclear weapons. War will not solve this one warmongers. Russia has a valid point in securing their best interests when the west is pushing up on their doorsteps. Just like the US did during the Cuba missile crisis or if Russia or China try to exert too much influence on Canada or Mexico. That a serious security threat and idiots should stop looking at the world only from one view. The US had troops in almost every country, involved in most of the planets violence and it's all over natural resources, there's no "good" or "just" war, just a way to get the spoils.

by: meanbill from: USA
August 29, 2014 2:21 PM
US President Barack Obama accused Putin and Russia of deliberately violating the sovereignty of Ukraine, and warning Putin and Russia of more sanctions?
US President George W. Bush "quote" said it;.. "For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible _ and no one can now doubt the word of America.".... (that was then, and this is now, and all the tomorrows, are affected by what Obama and America does today, isn't that true?)...... What is America's word and credibility now, (with Obama's indecisive leadership on almost everything), and the credibility on what he says, is not credible?
In Response

by: Mike from: Lithuania
August 29, 2014 4:01 PM
Everyday, I see Russians from Kaliningrad and "mainland" Russia, as well as "Russian" Ukrainians. These people are my company's business. I can honestly say, although not being a fan of Obama, that the sanctions so far imposed are in fact having a dramatic effect on the lives of everyday Russians.
A little more, and some help to actual Ukrainians, and the "simple" people in Russia aren't going to put up with what has so far been lies and secrets.

It's easy to judge what you see of a US President from what goes on in the public eye, and you may find him a jerk, but "behind the scenes" are HUGE machines doing the heavy work.

You vote in an ADMINISTRATION, not just a single man, and his social foibles... understand that, and you can understand a lot about how the Presidency has worked in the last 50-plus years.

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