News / Europe

Ukrainian Forces Appear to Make Little Progress in East

Ukrainian Forces Appear to Make Little Progress in Easti
X
Patrick Wells
May 07, 2014 10:19 PM
The Ukrainian government says its military forces have made gains in the east of the country over the last few days, but on the ground, armed pro-Russian separatists still appear to control large swaths of the road between Donetsk and Slovyansk. In Kramatorsk, a town near Slovyansk, civilians say they fear both sides in the conflict but are increasingly angered by the government's military operation. For VOA, Patrick Wells has more in this report.
Patrick Wells
The Ukrainian government says its military forces have made gains in the east of the country over the last few days, but on the ground, armed pro-Russian separatists still appear to control large swaths of the road between Donetsk and Slovyansk. In Kramatorsk, a town near Slovyansk, civilians say they fear both sides in the conflict but are increasingly angered by the government's military operation.
 
Kramatorsk is a town the government in Kyiv says it now largely controls. Separatists say government forces rolled through here on Sunday on their way to lay siege to Slovyansk, shooting at their checkpoints and clearing some of them.

Government troops did not stay to consolidate their gains, though, and on the ground it’s clear that pro-Russian separatists are firmly back in control of most of this area.
 
On the 112-kilometer highway between Donetsk and Slovyansk, this reporter saw only two government checkpoints. The rest of the road was dominated by the rebels, many of them heavily armed.

Aggressive presence

In Kramatorsk's town center, barricades were still up, defended by men with clubs and iron bars who said they are simple, local people trying to defend their land.
 
"The Ukrainian army has come to Kramatorsk," said Sergey, a pro-Russian separatist. "They want to clear the town, nobody is fighting them, nobody is shooting at them. People are just standing here demanding a referendum, and they want to shoot."
 
Several people who were too frightened to be filmed, however, quietly accused these men of being local petty criminals, paid by Russia and associates of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Between the opposing sides, civilians walked the quiet streets past burnt-out cars and trams, and lined up to get cash, which is now in short supply.

Pensioner Lyudmila Sytnik said she despises the new government in Kyiv, but also fears the separatists.

“I have to go through so many checkpoints and we are afraid that our car will be taken away by those guys with guns," she said. "They don't just stand there, they also shoot people.  They don't have any brain, they don't care who they shoot.”
 
Rebel gains

Down the road on the outskirts of Slovyansk, Ukrainian troops were checking cars for weapons and supplies. But there are widespread reports the town is not actually blockaded, and that rebels who know the country roads can freely come and go.

Kyiv's decision to send troops to this region appears to have undermined its support among many in the local populace. Several civilians, including a 21-year-old nurse, have been killed in the crossfire in recent days.

"All of this bad stuff started when the new Ukrainian government came here; when Yanukovych was in charge people lived calmly. The Maidan uprising started all this,” said Alla, a Kramatorsk resident.
 
At this checkpoint in Konstantinovka, separatists, who refused to be filmed, stood armed with Kalashnikovs, sniper rifles and machine guns. At one point, a van full of local police drove past, paying no attention to them at all.
 
Despite the government's efforts, the region seems to be slipping further and further from its grasp.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Wiktor Protsenko from: Kyiv
May 08, 2014 11:11 AM
In its unannounced war against Ukraine, Russia relies on covert operations which fall squarely within the definition of "international terrorism" under 18 U.S.C. § 2331. Specifically, armed operatives of Russia, acting under disguise, attempt to influence the policy of Ukrainian government by intimidation or coercion. They also try to affect the conduct of a government by assassinations and kidnapping, taking by force government buildings, police posts and military bases of Ukraine.

This activity is being conducted on large scale and over prolonged time period, despite condemnation by the USA, G-7, NATO, EU and UN. Please sign the petition urging the White House to officially designate Russia as "State sponsor of terrorism” - http://wh.gov/lwuL9 Such status of country would outlaw business of American companies with Russia. Even considering of the petition by Senate and President of USA creating great inconvenience Russian authorities.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid