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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by: gen from: japan
May 04, 2014 1:26 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.
Russia only has to be paid the gas claim's money in accodance with agreement and law.

by: meanbill from: USA
May 04, 2014 12:44 AM
No matter how this Ukraine conflict ends, (the two side in the conflict will never forgive), and now the whole world saw the limits of the US and NATO military forces..
Like all great military empires of the past, the US and the 27 other NATO countries are seeing the limitations of their empire, and the only thing left for the empire, is it's contraction..
With armies spread all around the world, (against enemies, real and imagined), the US and the 27 other countries of NATO, hasn't shown the military might to win a single war, since it's creation - (AND?) - the whole world is erupting in chaos and violence, and the US and NATO is responsible for most of it..... mostly the US.

by: melwin from: India
May 03, 2014 11:24 PM
Egostic Obama thinks of how to save you and your American families.don't make fun of others president.
You are made of dust and you Will go in dust.

by: melwin from: India
May 03, 2014 11:19 PM
Noble Peace award should be given to Barack Obama for it mass murder of families and death of Ukraine citizen.

by: gen from: japan
May 03, 2014 9:37 PM
US is a country of chritable minds and excesive kindness.
Truchynev and right sectot natinolists make use of this.
Why dosen't US realize that US's supportive comments and actions is rising the tention between pro-Russian and the right sector nationalists?
The more US shout the sanction on Russia and supprot illegal government in kiev,the more active the right sector nationalists like Nazi.
Kiev use again the nationalists against kiev.
But Russian soldiers,Don't move. If Russian soldiers moved in Ukraine border,Russia won at a war.very very easily.But Soldiers don't move like a mountain and be quiet like a forest.
If Russian soldiers invaded Ukraine,Russia would be a loser in the rule of western gam.Russian should show different in the past image and a country by law and order to the world. The worlds come to realize the truth of inside inUkraine.

by: alan talampas from: Philippines
May 03, 2014 9:26 PM
Go, Ukraine. Your country, your disciplinary action.

by: Mark from: Virginia
May 03, 2014 7:40 PM
Thus, it goes on...neither side is going to back down. Ukraine is not going to let another piece of its country break off no matter what those living in that region want or desire, and Russia is not going to back down when it feels compelled to protect pro-Russian citizens living in that same region.
The deadly chess match between Ukraine and Russia continues and will continue until outright war breaks out, and this is a war that no one outside of these two countries should interfere with. Sanctions are not working, have never worked, and will never work, but the West is not going to give that tactic up, either. It is nothing more than a political slap on the wrist and Putin is brushing that aside without a flinch.
Now, with the first May Day military parade in Moscow since the collapse of the Soviet regime, Putin is slowly restoring a shadow of Soviet control in Russia.
The Cold War is about to make a come-back. The more the West tries to direct Ukraine's interim government, the more the West is going to alienate Russia and the East and the more divided Europe will become as it had once been 23 years and more ago....

by: MICHAEL GUY
May 03, 2014 7:29 PM
the news has become an Orwellian Ministry of truth dispensing the dialectic propaganda that the Socialist International, AIPAC or Sunni oil royalty want conveyed. there is no Diogenes or Thucydidrs in the news media

by: tiktin from: Boise, Idaho
May 03, 2014 7:20 PM
One of the most fascinating news items out today is that the Front Nationale candidate for the European Parliament for Ile de France has come out in favor of the ethnic Russian fighters Ukraine, denouncing "the brutal policy of the new regime in Kiev" and accusing them of "massacre". This is the first major political figure in Europe, so far as I am aware, to come out against the policy of hatred, hysteria and war against Russia being pursued by the European and American governments. Extremely surprising to hear this from the Front National which is widely portrayed by the main stream European political parties as an extreme right wing lunatic fringe. They are, in fact, populist, which scares the h out of the main stream intellectuals. I think they are simply reflecting the fact that the vast majority of the European and American people have no interest in Ukraine and do not want war with Russia.
In Response

by: Taras Zaietz from: Canada
May 03, 2014 10:38 PM
Russian Katsaps forget the Holodomor they created when one third of Ukraine was starved to death in one brutal year, don't worry Ukrainians will never forget what you did to us. How about the 100 that were shot by snipers at the Maidan, they weren't,t shocked by that?Go home Moskaliy no one likes you arrogant pricks anyway!

by: Bryan Landry from: Canada-Montreal
May 03, 2014 7:09 PM
Im very disturbed that these actions by Pro-Russians can take place at this time. All these people need to be put in jail. They are destroying the country they want to continue living in under a Russian rule. If they like Russia so much move back to Russia. The land and the civic duties of the people that have been living in peace for so many years, why do they feel this way about there home land. don't they realize that its there tax dollars that will pay for all this damage there doing not only to there own buildings but the core of there nation
In Response

by: Sergey from: Russia
May 04, 2014 2:22 AM
The question is who divided the society in ukraine. Who announced people in the east and south of nonhumans who recently burned dozens of people alive....
In Response

by: Andrei from: Canada-Toronto
May 04, 2014 1:20 AM
The situation in Ukraine is way more complicated than it was in Quebec at the height of separatist movement. For many people in that region it was not their choice to live in exteremely corrupt and criminal modern Ukraine. It is just happened that after USSR collapsed their land became part of Ukraine though absolute majority of these people never spoke Ukranian or ever had any ukranian national identity. And frankly 20 years of independent Ukraine did bring much prosperity to them. Why would they support a new Kiev government which came to power after a coup and massacring their own people?
In Response

by: lucy from: new jersey
May 03, 2014 11:23 PM
Bryan,
You don't understand the reality. Pro-Russians are Ukrainian citizens. It's their land, where they lived for a long time in peace until bandits in Kiev decided to destroy their culture and traditions. Pro-Westerns were 23 years in power in Ukraine and result = -0. Bandits from Maidan burned own people with Molotov coktail in Kiev and in Odessa, killed pro-Russians ukraineans.
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