News / Europe

Ukrainian Troops Killed in Rebel Missile Attack

  • Ukrainian troops are pictured near Slovyansk, July 11, 2014.
  • A Ukrainian rocket launcher is seen near the eastern Ukrainian city of Seversk, July 11, 2014.
  • Ukrainian paratroopers sit on top an APC in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, July 10, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian separatist fighters from the so-called Battalion Vostok (East) sit in a truck as they leave a base in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, July 10, 2014.
  • A woman walks past a building damaged by shelling in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, July 10, 2014.
  • Buildings damaged by a recent shelling are seen in the eastern Ukrainian village of Semenovka, July 9, 2014.
  • People wait for humanitarian medical aid near the mayor's office in Soavyansk, Ukraine, July 9, 2014.
  • Local citizens collect potatoes distributed by the Ukrainian army in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, July 9, 2014.
  • An armed man stands guard as people wait for humanitarian medical aid near the mayor's office in Slovyansk, Ukraine, July 9, 2014.
Images from Ukraine
Reuters

A rocket attack by pro-Russian rebels on a post on Ukraine's border with Russia on Friday killed at least 19 government servicemen and wounded 93 others, Ukraine's Defense Ministry said, promising swift retribution from Kyiv.

Zoryan Shkyryak, an adviser to Ukrainian Interior Minister Arseny Avakov, told reporters in Kyiv that rebel forces fired Grad missiles at Ukrainian troops located in the village of Zelenopillya in the Luhansk region. 

President Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting to discuss what could be the deadliest rebel attack on government forces since the Ukrainian military ended a unilateral cease-fire June 30. He said those responsible for the attack would be "found and destroyed," adding that for every Ukrainian soldier killed, the rebels would pay with "dozens and hundreds of their own."

Kyiv, which has been trying to take greater control of its border with Russia, blames Moscow for fanning the violence and letting fighters and high-powered weaponry cross the frontier from Russia to Ukraine.

The attack comes after government forces appeared to be gaining the upper hand in a three-month battle with separatists, who have set up “people's republics” in the Russian-speaking east of the country and said they want to join Russia.

Last week, Ukrainian forces drove the rebels out of several cities, including Slovyansk, which was their main stronghold. The separatists have massed in Donetsk, the region's industrial hub, with a population of 900,000. Poroshenko's government has threatened a “nasty surprise” to chase them out while limiting civilian casualties. 

On Thursday, the government said security forces had seized a border checkpoint in the Luhansk region and regained control of the town of Siversk, 70 kilometers, or 43 miles, northwest of Luhansk city.

Separatists confirmed Ukraine’s control of Siversk, saying they retreated toward Donetsk to avoid being encircled by Ukrainian troops.

Human rights violations reported

Meanwhile, Amnesty International says it has "graphic and compelling evidence" of beatings and torture in eastern Ukraine, with armed pro-Russian separatists responsible for most of the violence.

In a new report, the rights group says victims are "often subjected to stomach-turning beatings and torture."  It also says there is evidence of a smaller number of abuses by pro-Kyiv forces.

The report says the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission for Ukraine has recorded 222 abductions since April, when separatists seeking autonomy in the east launched their rebellion against the Kyiv government.

People trying to flee

Donesk's main railway station station was crowded with people trying to flee the city, fearing the kind of damage Slovyansk experienced as Ukraine's government fought to wrest control. Reuters news service said some people reported waiting in ticket lines for two hours.

Some 70,000 residents already had fled, separatist leader Alexander Borodai told journalists Thursday, Reuters reported.

Other incidents

Elsewhere in the Luhansk region, four servicemen were killed when their armored personnel vehicle detonated a mine, said military spokesman Andriy Lysenko.

Another military spokesman said a soldier was also killed in the town of Karlovka in Donetsk province.

Separately, at least five miners died and another five were injured when their bus came under fire from the rebels, Lysenko said.

The bus shelling forced energy and coal company DTEK, which employed the miners, to suspend operations at four mines that employ 4,500 people in the economically depressed industrial province of Luhansk, Interfax news agency quoted the company's general director as saying.

Diplomatic efforts

In diplomatic attempts to end the worst crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War, the White House said Poroshenko told U.S. Vice President Joe Biden that Russia and Ukrainian separatists had refused multiple proposals by Kyiv for venues to negotiate a ceasefire.

Speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, French President Francois Hollande and Merkel urged Moscow to exert pressure on the separatists to de-escalate the violence.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Poroshenko by telephone on Thursday to be strategic in battling pro-Russian rebels and to safeguard the general population, a German government spokesman said.

“The chancellor urged President Poroshenko to maintain a sense of proportion in his legitimate actions against the separatists and to protect the civilian population,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

Both agreed on the need for a meeting of the contact group that helped smooth the way for Poroshenko's recent 10-day cease-fire, the statement said.

The chance for peace talks withered after Poroshenko called off the cease-fire  June 30 after rebels repeatedly violated it, infuriating many Ukrainians.

Some information for this report was contributed by Reuters.

Error rendering storify.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: nick
July 12, 2014 8:52 AM
Ukraine should be divided between Russia, Poland, Romania and Hungary and the conflict will be over


by: Anonymous
July 11, 2014 1:41 PM
This article makes it sound like Ukraine is the bad guy.
Why are the terrorists being armed with missles? Ukraine should send the army to kill them all off. If the russians want to speak russian go back to motherland russia


by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
July 11, 2014 12:20 PM
The Ukrainian President should sign a security deal that will involve NATO and US in putting forces on ground in protecting it boarder as clear message to Russia to be a responsible Nation despite their need for its gas.


by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Canada
July 11, 2014 12:10 PM
Depending on how your read his words, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko implies he favors ethnic cleansing of Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Will the Americans and the EU stand for that?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid