News / Europe

Ukraine Vows to Continue Offensive in East

  • Pro-Russia protesters storm the governor's business premises in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, May 3, 2014.
  • Pro-Russia protesters storm the governor's business premises in Donetsk, Ukraine, May 3, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian protesters gather to honor fallen comrades during fighting with pro-Ukrainian activists in Odessa on Friday, at the barricades in front of the administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, May 3, 2014.
  • Russia's presidential human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin watches as foreign military observers hug each other following their release in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, May 3, 2014.
  • Smoke billows from burning tires at a pro-Russian checkpoint with a Donetsk republic flag following an attack by Ukrainian troops in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, May 3, 2014.
  • A protester walks past a burning pro-Russian tent camp near the trade union building in Odessa, Ukraine, May 2, 2014.
  • An injured pro-Russian activist looks on during clashes with supporters of the Kyiv government in the streets of Odessa, Ukriane, May 2, 2014.
  • People wait to be rescued on upper levels of a trade union building in Odessa, Ukraine, May 2, 2014.
  • A pro-Russian separatist guards a checkpoint as tires burn in front of him, near the town of Slovyansk, Ukraine, May 2, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian gunmen listen to instructions from their commander (center) behind barricades in Slovyansk, May 2, 2014.
  • A pro-Russian rebel aims his rifle at a checkpoint near a Ukrainian airbase in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, May 2, 2014.
Latest images from Ukraine
VOA News
Ukraine says it will continue pressing its military offensive against pro-Russia militants in eastern Ukraine, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calls on Moscow to halt its support for the separatists.

Ukraine’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said troops had recaptured a television tower and government buildings from rebels in Kramatorsk, a town near the pro-Russian stronghold city of Slovyansk. In a Facebook posting Avakov said "we will not stop."

The move comes following deadly fighting between pro-Moscow and pro Kyiv forces in Ukraine southern port city of Odessa, which left at least 42 people dead and dozens injured.

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin had not yet decided how to respond to the latest offensive or to the deaths in Odessa. Most of the victims were reportedly pro-Russia.

Separately, Peskov said that the Kremlin, within a 24-hour period, has received thousands of phone calls for help from people in Ukraine’s south-east allegedly asking for Moscow’s protection.

Russia currently has at least 40,000 troops and armor massed on its border with Ukraine, and the Kremlin has reserved the right to enter the country to protect ethnic Russians.

In Kyiv, meanwhile, the interim government declared two days of mourning for those killed Friday in Odessa.

Hours of street battles in the Black Sea port city ended in a deadly blaze at a trade union building, where outmatched separatists had holed themselves up seeking safety. It remains unclear who started the fire, but witnesses said gasoline bombs exploded around the building during the melee and that gunfire was heard.

Peskov is also quoted as saying Moscow has lost its influence with the separatists, saying it would be "impossible to persuade them to disarm amid a direct threat to their lives."

Kerry – traveling in Africa and speaking with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov by phone on Saturday - said Russia must now withdraw its support for the separatists. Moscow says Lavrov countered by saying that Washington should compel the Kyiv authorities to stop their military offensive in the east.

Separately, Kerry welcomed the release of European monitors held for more than a week by separatists in Slovyansk.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also welcomed the freeing of the seven observers with the OSCE - the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The monitors were freed Saturday, along with five Ukrainians. In a statement, Ban extended his appreciation to all who helped facilitate the release, including Russia.

And in Brussels, the European Union called for an independent investigation into the Odessa deaths. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said member-countries were "deeply saddened" by the deaths and injuries.

The current Ukrainian government and the West believe that the Kremlin is supporting separatists with the aim of destabilizing Ukraine ahead of presidential elections scheduled for May 25. Observers say the vote could hasten and solidify Ukraine’s move toward the West – a development, they believe, Russia is trying to forestall. Moscow denies that it is fueling unrest and blames the turmoil on Kyiv and what it calls its Western backers, primarily the U.S.

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Comments page of 2
by: Matvey Tarasov from: Volgograd, Russia
May 08, 2014 1:45 AM
The city is called 'Slavyansk' not 'Slovyansk' like written above. With accent in the first 'a', because of the word 'Slava' (which means 'Glory' in Russian). As usual, the articles are being written by people who don't know the subject at all.

by: T Wilson from: West Swindon
May 05, 2014 3:48 PM
This is a real crisis.....cooler heads need to step in.....What is UN secretary Moon doing?......UN peacekeepers needed to restore order in this chaos....Israel stands silent......Obama seems detached...Biden is locked in cold war mode...Putin rides a wave of total arrogance....Merkel seems timid about getting the gas pipelines shut off from Russia.....Canada is locked in...time for leadership from somewhere.......soon.....

by: Gene from: Santa Cruz, CA
May 05, 2014 1:02 PM
Why does everyone still keep referring to the Russian agents as pro-Russian separatists. These are trained Kremlin military men.......everyone knows it......let's call them what they really are.....Russian terrorists

by: Seth Malloy from: United States
May 05, 2014 2:04 AM
Ditto, I'm yearning for something other than more conflict but at this point it's like he said separatists can always move to Russia.

by: Brian Wilson from: America
May 04, 2014 2:42 PM
More US State Dept Dirty Tricks. The US plan is working.

The US organized / is organizing and funded / is funding the violence in Kiev which started all this. The US wants a civil war in Ukraine to bring NATO and IMF control to Russia's front door.

Ukraine will be raped by the US predator bankers and corporations while tormenting Russia.

Russia was prepared to bail out Ukraine with no IMF style strings attached along with 50% gas discount.

Now the US tax payer has to pay through the nose due to the US dirty tricks.

The Voice of America is a disinfo propaganda device of the US Statre Dept. They report very little truth,

by: Anonymous
May 04, 2014 5:14 AM
Anyone armed occupying government buildings most definitely should be treated as criminals. Those are government buildings of Ukraine, anyone wants to disrupt that should face the consequences.

Good work Ukraine, holding your country together. All Government Institutions should be freed from these criminals with guns (bandits). Who cares if they are Pro-Russian or not, anyone with any belief or political needs does not express themselves with weaponry unless they are criminals. Civilized civilians that require changes to government should do so using the diplomatic approach by voting... Anyone who believes differently needs their head checked.

If you don't want to abide by Ukrainian Laws, leave.

The world backs Ukraine and their soon new permanent government.

The criminals could of used the ballot box but decided to take things into their own hands with arms, occupying government buildings, so they should pay the price for their crimes.
In Response

by: Brian Wilson from: America
May 05, 2014 8:42 AM
Are you referring to the US backed criminals who burned Kiev and forced out the democratically elected government? Those fleeing the US backed Kiev terrorists who took over the Ukraine military are using some of the same tactics the US backed terrorist in Kiev used. Kiev Burning = US Organized Violence and US Chosen Leaders Peaceful Crimea Referendum = US condemnation Ukraine Military Aggression Against Its Citizens = US Advice

by: gen from: japan
May 04, 2014 5:05 AM
Pro russian are escalating and might be dead.Why do US and EU tell a lie?
People might be dead.
Why is it Truchynov and the illeagal government so important?
US should hear pro russian voices?
Pro Russian separatists make suicidal attack to Kiev.Why US ignore them?

by: Igor from: Russia
May 04, 2014 2:52 AM
"It remains unclear who started the fire"??? in fact it is very clear who set the fire and burnt to dead the pro-russian people in Odessa. But the Western media is doing its best to try to hide that crime because it was commited by those illegally in power in Kiev. It is time for Mr.Putin to take action to destroy compeletely Ukrainian army to set free people from the East.

by: gen from: japan
May 04, 2014 2:45 AM
For European people,it is about time to choose which group's side.The group of the coup government in kiev ,nationalists in kiev or the group of Ukraine people (including pro Russian),which group's side do European people choose? The problem happened on a part of Europe soil.
European peoole must think and choose about it earnestly and honestly.

by: Fasa from: Finland
May 04, 2014 2:37 AM
Russia has become an aggressor and EU must stop purchasing Russia 's gas! Strong Russia means threat to EU and beginning of WW3
In Response

by: g from: r
May 05, 2014 3:16 AM
America, all of RUSSIA is watching and listening to the LIES and peretiranie facts of your government!! DISGUSTING!!! And this is America! And THIS is Democracy!!! SHAME!!!
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