News / Europe

US, Ukraine: Russian Counteroffensive Underway in South Ukraine

Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursionsi
X
Zlatica Hoke
August 28, 2014 4:07 AM
Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Watch related video report from VOA's Zlatica Hoke.
VOA News

Russian heavy weaponry has reportedly crossed the border into southern Ukraine, U.S. and Ukrainian officials said Wednesday, aiding rebels in what appeared to be a major counteroffensive in a new front along the border with Russia.

With battles raging to the north – near the rebel-held city of Luhansk, and southeast of the city of Donetsk — the fighting near Novoazovsk, a southern town along the Sea of Azov, appeared to be the most blatant incursion by Russian forces to date.

Western reporters around Novoazovsk said Ukrainian forces were abandoning vehicles and ammunition as they retreated from the advancing forces. The U.S. State Department said Russian military hardware crossing the border included tanks and rocket launchers and there were reports of separatists shelling residential areas in the port city of Mariupol, west of Novoazovsk.  Heavy fighting had also erupted at the Donetsk airport.

Novoazovsk, a resort town of 40,000, is strategically located on the road linking Russia to Mariupol and, further west, the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia annexed on March.

Ukrainian national security spokesman Col. Andriy Lysenko said a group of Russian soldiers had crossed the border in armored personnel carriers and a truck and entered the town of Amvrosiyivka, not far from where Ukraine detained 10 Russian soldiers on Monday.

Ukraine's lead security agency, the SBU, also said in a statement it had detained another Russian soldier in the east of the country who has confessed his unit provided military support to separatist rebels.

Lysenko said fighting in two other towns, Horlivka and Ilovaysk, had killed about 200 pro-Russian rebels and destroyed tanks and missile systems. At least 13 Ukrainian service personnel had been killed in the past 24 hours and 36 had been wounded.

Russia, which has not yet responded to the accusations, has repeatedly denied sending weapons and soldiers to help the rebels. Russian officials said the soldiers captured on Monday had crossed an unmarked section of the border by mistake.

“Russia continues to build up its military presence at their border,” Lysenko said. “During the last 24 hours, Russian military vehicles concentrated in border districts mostly in the Rostov region.”

The Associated Press reported its journalists on the border near Novoazovsk have seen rebels with a wide range of unmarked military equipment - including tanks, Buk missile launchers and armored personnel carriers - and have run into many Russians among the rebel fighters.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, center, leaves the hall after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 26, 2014.Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, center, leaves the hall after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 26, 2014.
x
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, center, leaves the hall after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 26, 2014.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, center, leaves the hall after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 26, 2014.

Military Buildup

Despite Moscow’s denials, Russian support for separatists since the rebellion began in April has been all but confirmed by eyewitness accounts, intelligence reports and types of weaponry being utilized in rebels’ fight against Ukrainian troops.

Western and Ukrainian officials have said Russia is trying to break Ukrainian forces’ siege of Luhansk, and also battling to open a supply corridor from border to nearby Donetsk. 

The incursion occurred as Ukraine’s president met with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for late-night talks in the Belarussian capital Minsk. The talks had appeared to yield some progress towards ending the conflict in which more than 2,200 people have been killed, according to the United Nations.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had said he would work on an urgent “road map” towards a ceasefire with the rebels. Putin said it would be for Ukrainians to work out ceasefire terms, but Moscow would "contribute to create a situation of trust".

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media after his talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 27, 2014.Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media after his talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 27, 2014.
x
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media after his talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 27, 2014.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media after his talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 27, 2014.

In a press briefing following the Minsk meeting, Putin also called for renewed dialogue on outstanding trade issues, including the implementation of an agreement creating stronger ties between Ukraine and the European Union that Putin said poses a “significant risk” to the Russian economy.

Poroshenko’s predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, had refused to sign the EU deal, sparking violent protests in Kyiv in February that eventually forced him from office, setting the scene for the present conflict. Poroshenko was elected president in May.

The United States, the European Union and other Western nations have imposed economic sanctions on Russia for its support of the separatists.

In a telephone call with Putin, Germany's Angela Merkel said reports of a new Russian military incursion into Ukrainian territory had to be cleared up, a spokesman for the chancellor said in a statement.

"The latest reports of the presence of Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory must be explained," Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said Wednesday. "She emphasized Russia's major responsibility for de-escalation and watching over its own frontiers."

NATO Military Exercises

Also Wednesday, NATO said it was stepping up exercises in Eastern Europe, as a way to assuage concerns of the alliance’s newer members – Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, among others, who fear Russian threats. Alliance chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he expects NATO members next week will approve sending temporary forces into the region.

Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, accused the Russian government of showing an "unwillingness to tell the truth even as its soldiers are found [30 miles] inside Ukraine.”

"Russia is sending its young men into Ukraine, but not telling them where they are going or their parents what they are doing,” she said.

Gas Warnings

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, meanwhile, warned  that Russia could cut off gas to Europe this winter, a charge that Moscow quickly denied.

"The situation in [Ukraine's] energy sector is difficult. We know of Russia's plans to block [gas] transit even to European Union countries this winter, and that's why their [EU] companies were given an order to pump gas into storage in Europe as fully as possible," Yatsenyuk told a government meeting.

Russia has halted gas flows to Ukraine, a major transit route for EU gas, three times in the past decade in 2006, 2009 and since June this year because of price disputes with Kyiv.

In Moscow, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak called Yatsenyuk's comment a "groundless attempt to intentionally mislead or misinform European consumers of Russian gas.”

“We will put forth maximum efforts to fulfil gas contract obligations to European importers regardless of political issues in this or that transit country,” he said.

VOA's Mike Eckel in Washington and Gabe Joselow in Kyiv, Ukraine contributed to this report. Material from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.

You May Like

Yemen Brings US, Iran Closer to Naval Face-off

US sending two more ships to waters off coast of Yemen to take part in 'maritime security operations' More

Minorities Become Majority Across US

From 2000 to 2013, minorities became the majority in 78 counties in the United States. Here's where those demographic shifts are happening More

Japan's Maglev Train Breaks Own Speed Record

Seven-car 'magnetic levitation' train traveled at more than 600 kilometers per hour during test run Tuesday More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 3
    Next 
by: Soloview from: Canada
August 28, 2014 6:12 PM
As a Czech expat of 1968 I surely can tell when Russia "invades" from when it merely "provides fraternal help" (If you don't get this joke don't worry). Putin is not invading but he is not sitting idly by. No Russian leader worthy of his salt could do that given the outrages perpetrated on the people of Eastern Ukraine. So wake up and smell the coffee ! And read Putin's lips : f**k off !

by: Anonymous
August 28, 2014 8:31 AM
Let's look at the big picture here: the EU is and always will be a mob of Romans, barbarians, vikings, and crusaders each with their own self-interests. Russia is trying to reintegrate Ukraine as part of its historic motherland. They sincerely want to put Ukraine into good use. The UK is trying to take over the EU as part of a reconstruction of its historic empire.

They want to unite Anglo-Saxon Europe in the face of China (reflect this on how the Japanese tried to unite Asia in the face of the West). While Russia attacks Europe from the East through unmarked warriors, Britain attacks Europe from the South through chains of shadows. If the EU can't evolve enough to control their ancestral habits, I say let Russia take the East and the UK take the West. The U.S. could use some good rivals as catalysts to become the only nation in the world where humans can truly live and work together under God.

by: Cristian Bacanu from: romania
August 28, 2014 6:34 AM
We, the free world (NATO, EU and US) should help Ukraine asap. Russia is invading. Russian soldiers are killing, raping women, robbing, etc. Let's remember Churchill's words to Chamberllain: We seem to be very near the bleak choice between War and Shame. My feel­ing is that we shall choose Shame, and then have War thrown in a lit­tle later on even more adverse terms than at present.
In Response

by: Cristian Bacanu from: Romania
August 29, 2014 5:55 AM
Let us know what really happened during the 2nd world war in Europe and stop caring for my family's well doing. My family had 40 years in political prison after the Russian ocupation simply because they were not peasants. You have no idea what Russian ocuppation really means.
In Response

by: Quoc Tuan from: Viet Nam
August 28, 2014 9:03 PM
Stop spreading lies about Rusian soldiers. Without them your mother could have not given birth to a liar as you because the Germans could have killed off your grandmother. Our grandfather used to witness the rapping and killing of a Vietnamese woman by an american officer during the Vietnam war. So I know very well who is bad and who is good.

by: Erik from: Poland
August 28, 2014 5:36 AM
A joint Polish-Ukrainian team just unearthed another mass grave of Polish soldiers, and civilians, who were killed by the Russians in 1940-1. Close to a thousand bodies.

The Russians always seem so surprised, dumbfounded even, to discover that everybody, their neighbors in particular, and especially their Slavic neighbors, hate them.

Go figure.

by: David from: Germany
August 28, 2014 2:43 AM
We must help Ukrainians! NATO must not stand aside!!!

by: Ignots from: Lithuania
August 28, 2014 2:32 AM
Why Invasion of Ukraine by Russia is callled "Counteroffensive"? Ukraine don't offended Russia! Russia Army invadeded Ukraine! Its is start of WWIII. All we should remember August 27, 2014 date and remember all so called Politicians, who didn't wish to "offend" Mr. Putler and will wait until Russia army will invade Berlin again.

by: Mark from: Virginia
August 27, 2014 10:25 PM
I see two parallels here, quite striking, too...
1) 1940, Russia still delivering wheat and other grains to Germany as per trade agreements between the two even though Germany was planning a full-scale attack on the Soviet Union, During that time, Russia even turned a blind eye to the build up of German forces in the western half of Poland that Germany had seized in 1939.
2) 1941, Japan and the United States negotiating the lifting of embargoes on U.S. goods to Japan (due to the Japanese actions against the Chinese, for which the United States imposed those embargoes for), Japan talking peace while preparing for war, their attack on Pearl Harbor.

It is a recurring theme, such formalities being performed by certain sides while still denying any preparations for direct military action. (History repeats, I have said it many, many times). Only time will tell if the pattern we're seeing here conforms to historical precedent, and outright war being declared between the Ukraine and Russia.
Well, despite hopes, it appears that the Cold War is returning to its former place as it had been in the 1950's and 1960's. The rift between East and West is getting wider and nations are moving their pawns across the chess board known as Europe.
History. Learn from it, or be forced to repeat it. And we have not learned from it.

And I fear that our present Administration is going to hold off any direct action until after the 2016 election, in order to retain their 'legacy' on non-involvement. They will wait, and put the burden of such heavy-weight decisions on the shoulders of others, and in doing so, wait until it is long beyond the point of any hope of resolution to a successful end.

by: BenFranklin99 from: Seattle, USA
August 27, 2014 10:10 PM
The alleged separatists are actually Russian troops in uniforms with the insignia removed.

by: Viet Hoa from: Viet Nam
August 27, 2014 9:40 PM
Hey Russia, the US has invaded many countries on Earth to become the number 1. Russia should prove yourself to be great by invading Ukraine and merge it into Russia. The West will dare not touch you because you have nuclear weapons and can use them to bring Western countries back to the Stone Age.
In Response

by: Igor from: Russia
August 28, 2014 9:10 PM
Hey Mike from USA. Your country owes a lot to Vietnamese people and even your grandsons cannot pay off your debt. They never forget your debt.
In Response

by: Mike from: USA
August 28, 2014 8:01 AM
Next time I'm at the store and see something manufactured in Vietnam, I will not buy it. I'm sure the Russians will buy your products. Good luck.
In Response

by: Maj Gen Luo Yuan from: Beijing
August 28, 2014 6:21 AM
Keep it up, Viet Hoa. Chinese trolls like you are always welcome in our 50 Cent Party. I may promote you to join our 55 Cent Party.

by: meanbill from: USA
August 27, 2014 9:27 PM
Putin would make a great adversary in a poker game, and the US and NATO haven't a clue on what kind of hand he's holding, (it could be a royal flush or nothing), (but), the US and NATO are afraid to call his hand, with Ukraine being what they're playing the game for?.... or it could be a game called Strategy?.... or Monopoly?.... but whatever the game is, Putin is making it interesting, isn't he?
PS;.. The Russian Ukrainians hold dual citizenship and passports in Ukraine and Russia, and over a million of them have gone into Russia to avoid the war, (and most probably), thousands of those dual Russian Ukrainians have been armed and trained in Russia, and have returned to Ukraine to help their pro-Russian brothers fight the Ukraine government?.... (Putin my be telling the truth, that they aren't specifically Russian troops, but armed and trained returning Russian Ukrainians, with dual passports?)..... fighting alongside their pro-Russian separatist brothers?..... (it's possible, isn't it?)
Comments page of 3
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs