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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
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.

VOA Blogs