News / Europe

    Ukraine's Military to Continue Eastern Offensive

    A Ukrainian soldier  controls a road on the outskirts of Izyum, Eastern Ukraine,  May 30, 2014.
    A Ukrainian soldier controls a road on the outskirts of Izyum, Eastern Ukraine, May 30, 2014.
    VOA News
    Ukraine officials vowed Friday to continue a military offensive against pro-Russian rebels in the country's east, after separatists there shot down a helicopter, killing at least a dozen servicemen.

    Acting Defense Minister Mykhailo Koval told reporters his forces have completely cleared separatists from the southern and western parts of the Donetsk region, as well as the northern part of the neighboring Luhansk region. He said the mission will continue until peace and order is restored.

    But a spokesman for Ukraine's so-called anti-terrorist operation reported fighting took place Thursday night in the restive Luhansk region, which borders Russia. 

    Speaking to reporters by phone, Vladislav Seleznyov said rebels attacked a Ukrainian military base.

    "There is information that the Luhansk military base was besieged by terrorists," Seleznyov told reporters in a conference call. "They made three attempts to capture it ... using Kalashnikovs [rifles], other small arms and grenade launchers."

    Koval said more than 20 service members have been killed in eastern Ukraine since the government launched an "anti-terrorist" operation there in mid-April.
     
    Putin calls for halt

    Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday on Ukraine's government to halt its military operation against pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

    The Kremlin's press service reported Friday that in a phone call with French President Francois Hollande, Putin noted the need for an "immediate termination" of the Kyiv authorities' "violence and bloodshed" and for the start of a "direct dialogue" between Kyiv and southeastern Ukraine,

    Troop withdrawal

    White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday that Russian troops appear to be withdrawing from the border area, but that the pullback is not complete.  He said the White House does not have confirmation that the movement represents a full withdrawal.

    NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Friday that Russia is moving about two thirds of the troops it had close to the Ukrainian border.  In a statement, NATO said several thousand troops remain in the area.

    U.S. and NATO officials have repeatedly urged Russia to withdraw its troops, saying their presence is raising tensions. There are also reports that fighters are crossing from Russia into Ukraine.
     
    Despite weeks of Kremlin denials, Russia's state-controlled news agency Ria Novosti said 33 of the estimated 50 rebel fighters killed Monday in Donetsk in a battle with Ukrainian troops came from Russia.
     
    The news agency quoted the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic as saying the bodies of the foreigners have been identified and returned to their relatives.

    OSCE monitors detained

    Meanwhile, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) says it has lost contact with another four-person group of monitors in eastern Ukraine. The group was last heard from late Thursday. Rebels have been holding four other OSCE observers since late Monday.

    Obama - Ukraine

    President Barack Obama will meet next week with Ukraine's incoming president to highlight Washington's security commitment to eastern Europe following Russia's annexation of Crimea.

    The White House on Friday announced the meeting with President-elect Petro Poroshenko, saying it will take place in Warsaw on the sidelines of 25th anniversary celebrations marking the end of communist rule in Poland. Obama's four-day trip will end June 6 in Normandy on the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied D-Day landing.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin is also set to visit Normandy for memorial services.  But the White House said President Obama has no plans to meet directly with the Russian leader, as bilateral tensions simmer over Russia's role in Ukrainian unrest.
    Gabe Joselow contributed to this report from Kyiv, Ukraine, and Jeff Seldin contributed from the Pentagon.
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    Comments
         
    by: meanbill from: USA
    May 31, 2014 11:51 AM
    WARNING? -- "When preparing to attack, act like you're withdrawing, and when you are withdrawing, act like you are going to attack" - "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu -- (NOW?) -- Are the Russian troops withdrawing, or have they been replaced by little green men, preparing to attack? --

    (QUESTION?) -- Under NATO strategy the Ukraine forces are attacking who they think are pro-Russian separatists -- (BUT?) -- in reality, those little green men the Ukrainians are attacking, are battle hardened combat veterans, and using Russian strategy will fall back and use gorilla warfare, and urban combat. -- PS; - NATO hasn't won a war since it was created !!!

    by: Berry
    May 30, 2014 12:29 PM
    Ukrainian army shelled the children's hospital in Slavyansk.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    May 30, 2014 9:49 AM
    US DIPLOMACY? -- (Hypocrisy, ignorance and arrogance) -- Kerry condemns the violence, weapons, supplies and foreign fighters going into Ukraine? --And now Obama, EU, and NATO countries have promised to supply more advanced weapons, military aid and training to the foreign anti-Assad fighters to fight in Syria? --- World does the US, EU, and NATO countries live in? -- Every time the US, EU, and NATO countries interfere in the politics of (non-European Union) countries, they bring violence, death, destruction and war, (and never peace), like in Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and now Ukraine? --- (the US, EU, and NATO way?).. WAKE-UP both sides? -- Does Ukraine expect the pro-Russian separatists to rejoin Ukraine like nothing has changed? -- And what kind of government has the pro-Russian separatists established, to counter the Ukrainian government? --- NEGOTIATE?

    by: Vovan from: Central Ukraine
    May 30, 2014 6:33 AM
    Ukrainians supported chechenskiy people in a fight for their independence. Today Putin sends chechensk hits to militate against independent Ukraine. Chechensk people on the whole can once rise in revolt against Putin in solidarity with Ukraine and to overturn his marionette - Kadyrov.
    Chechenskiy people do not yet know all true about the mean use of Chechens by Putin against Ukraine.
    It is technology of Putin to set on to fight people between itself.

    by: Goldingen from: Greece
    May 30, 2014 6:18 AM
    I wonder why the Ukrainian army has no access to sophisticated weapons. Besides there are many countries where separatist are also fighting for separatism: in Syria or probably are going to struggle in Venezuela, where will they get the supply of modern arms from?

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