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

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to the Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20B in India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high-profile visit 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid