News / Europe

Tensions, Violence Continue to Rise in Eastern Ukraine

Tensions, Violence Continue to Rise in Eastern Ukrainei
X
April 28, 2014 11:53 PM
In eastern Ukraine Monday, pro-Russia separatists seized another government building, this one in the town of Kostyantynivka. Meanwhile, the mayor of the city of Kharkiv is fighting for his life after being shot. VOA's Brian Padden has more from the Ukrainian city of Donetsk.
Related report from Brian Padden in Donetsk, Ukraine.
VOA News
Pro-Russia separatists armed with baseball bats attacked a rally in support of Ukrainian unity in the eastern city of Donetsk on Monday.

A number of people sustained injuries, many of them head wounds after dozens of men dressed in military fatigues tried to disrupt the rally with baseball bats, firecrackers and what appeared to be at least one stun grenade.

Protesters, estimated at about 2,000, waved Ukrainian flags and chanted “Donetsk is Ukraine!” and “Putin No!”. They quickly dispersed after the violence.
Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donesk, UkraineKharkiv, Luhansk, Donesk, Ukraine
x
Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donesk, Ukraine
Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donesk, Ukraine


In another eastern city, Luhansk, near the Russian border, crowds cheered as one group of activists declared the area an independent state. One of the leaders of the self-proclaimed "Luhansk People's Republic" called on Russia to help it defend its sovereignty.

Earlier on Monday, pro-Russia militants also took another town, seizing the police headquarters and municipal administration building in Kostyantynivka, Donetsk region.

About 20 well-organized gunmen were seen controlling the administration building. They erected a barricade of tires, sandbags and concrete blocks.

Soviet songs played over loudspeakers as women gathered the signatures of people supporting an uprising for independence and possible rule from Moscow.

Mayor shot

The mayor of Ukraine's second-largest city, Kharkiv, was in a serious condition on Monday after being shot in the back while riding his bicycle, in the latest violence to strike the eastern part of the country.

Hennady Kernes, 54, traditionally aligned with Russia, was riding along the route he takes almost every day when he was shot, probably by someone hidden in nearby woods, said Iryna Kushchenko, spokeswoman for the local government.

His bodyguards were following in a car but were not close enough to intervene, she said.

The Interior Ministry said Kernes had been taken to the city's hospital for emergency treatment.

FILE - Mayor of Kharkiv Gennady KernesFILE - Mayor of Kharkiv Gennady Kernes
x
FILE - Mayor of Kharkiv Gennady Kernes
FILE - Mayor of Kharkiv Gennady Kernes
“Doctors assess his condition as serious,” the ministry said in a statement.

Kernes was accused by Ukraine's new pro-Western leaders two months ago of promoting separatism when pro-Russian protesters took control of local administrative buildings. He has since softened his stance.

Ukraine's deputy interior minister, Serhiy Yarovy, said investigators are even looking into whether the shooting was in retaliation for the detention in Kharkiv of 13 pro-Russian separatists on Sunday on charges of possession of Molotov cocktails, explosives and nails.

Ukrainian forces evicted pro-Russia activists this month, making Kharkiv the only major eastern city to have taken back control from armed protesters who have demanded a referendum on independence for most of eastern Ukraine.

New US, EU sanctions

President Barack Obama announced new sanctions on Monday against Russia for its involvement in the crisis in Ukraine.

The measures are in response to “Russia’s continued illegal intervention in Ukraine and provocative acts that undermine Ukraine’s democracy and threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity,” said a White House statement, adding that Moscow's involvement in eastern Ukraine violence "is indisputable."
New U.S. Sanctions Against Russia

Department of Treasury sanctions:
 
  • 7 Russian government officials, two of them members of Pres. Putin’s inner circle, subject to asset freeze and U.S. visa ban
  • 17 companies, linked to Putin’s inner circle, subject to asset freeze
Department of Commerce sanctions:
 
  • 13 of the 17 companies will have additional restrictions including:
  • License requirement, with a presumption of denial, for the export, re-export or other foreign transfer of U.S.-origin items
  • Tightened policy will deny export license applications for any high-technology items that could contribute to Russia’s military capabilities
  • Revoke any existing export licenses that meet these conditions
     
(Source: White House statement released April 28)


The White House said the targeted sanctions are aimed at a number of individuals and entities and will restrict licenses for certain U.S. exports to Russia.

"The Department of the Treasury is imposing sanctions on seven Russian government officials, including two members of President Putin’s inner circle, who will be subject to an asset freeze and a U.S. visa ban, and 17 companies linked to Putin’s inner circle, which will be subject to an asset freeze," the statement said. 

A senior Russian diplomat decisively condemned the new round of U.S. sanctions. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on the ministry's website that the sanctions marked a return to "Cold War" practices.

Separately, the European Union imposed asset freezes and visa bans on 15 more Russians and Ukrainians on Monday.

The decision brings to 48 the number of people that the EU has put under sanctions for, it says, helping undermine Ukraine's territorial integrity.

The names of those to be added to the list will not be made public until they are published in the EU's Official Journal on Tuesday.

Russian, US Defense Chiefs Talk

Also on Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Russian Defense Minster Sergei Shoigu held a "candid" hour-long telephone conversation.

Hagel repeated his call for an end to Russia's destabilizing influence inside Ukraine and warned that continued aggression would further isolate Russia and result in more diplomatic and economic pressure. 

Russia's defense minister expressed concern about what he called an unprecedented increase in U.S. and NATO military activity near Russia's borders and urged Hagel to help "turn down the rhetoric" over the Ukraine crisis.

Shoigu told Hagel that Russian forces, which had further alarmed the West by starting drills near the border last week after Ukraine launched an operation against the separatists, had since returned to their permanent positions, the ministry said.

But it gave no indication of whether the overall number of Russian troops deployed near the Ukrainian border, which NATO has put at about 40,000, along with tanks, aircraft and other equipment, had been reduced.

During the conversation Hagel went on to ask Shoigu for Russia's assistance in securing the release of the seven inspectors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) currently being held in eastern Ukraine.  

OSCE monitors

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier discussed the detention of the OSCE observers, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The ministry gave no further details of the call, which it said was a German initiative.

Germany urged Moscow to use its influence on pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to secure the release of observers who are being held in the city of Slovyansk. 
 
  • Self-defense volunteers stand at the barricade of their tent camp as Ukrainian nationalists attempt to walk into the square in Kyiv, April 29, 2014.
  • With their faces covered and carrying burning torches, Ukrainian nationalists attempt to march to Kyiv's Independence Square to honor the protesters who were killed in February clashes with police, April 29, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian activists wait outside the regional police headquarters in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, April 29, 2014.
  • Ukrainian government troops guard a checkpoint near the village of Dolina, 30 kilometers from Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 29, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian activists are seen inside the regional government headquarters in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 29, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian activists attack the regional administration building in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 29, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian supporters gather outside the regional government headquarters in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 29, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian supporters gather opposite Ukrainian Interior Ministry members standing in formation outside the regional government headquarters in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 29, 2014.
  • Seen through a car window, Ukrainian government troops stand behind a camouflage net as they guard a checkpoint near the village of Dolina, 30 kilometers from Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 29, 2014.
  • A pro-Russian armed man hands his weapon to a boy posing for a picture for his father in front of the seized town administration building in Kostyantynivka, April 28, 2014.

The OSCE monitors appeared in public with armed rebels watching Sunday to give assurances they are not being mistreated. The leader of the monitors, German Colonel Axel Schneider, assured reporters in Slovyansk they were in good health.

The insurgents called the military observers "prisoners of war."

The OSCE sent a team of negotiators to eastern Ukraine to meet with the self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, about freeing the military monitors. One, a Swede who is diabetic, was freed for medical reasons but four Germans, a Czech, a Dane and a Pole are still being held.

The rebels also displayed three bloodied and blindfolded officers from Ukraine's security service that they captured. The officers were shown with heads bowed, stripped of their pants and shoes.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday condemned the seizure of the OSCE monitors and Ukrainians captured with them, demanding their immediate release, according to a statement by his office.

Ukraine reports losses

Ukraine has lost at least $80 billion since Russia annexed its southern Crimea region and the price tag, Kyiv says, will be much higher when the calculation includes lost profits and the value of possible energy reserves in the Black Sea.

Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko said Kyiv would press its case against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights and could take individuals to court for military crimes and those against its territorial integrity.

“Any state property located on the territory of Crimea is the property of Ukraine and Russia bears the full liability for the losses incurred by state companies, ministries and departments,” Petrenko told a news conference.

“These losses do not include lost profits and the value of minerals,” added Petrenko.

Analysts estimate the value of such energy reserves, seen at 165.3 billion cubic meters of gas and 44 million tons of oil, at around $800 million to $1.2 billion.

Some reporting by Reuters
 

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: meanbill from: USA
April 28, 2014 5:57 PM
Russia has told the whole-wide world it will do only (2) things on dealing with the Ukraine crisis - (AND THEY ARE?) - (1). Russia will intervene (for humanitarian reasons) with it's military, If the Ukraine government uses military force against the Russian speaking Ukrainian people - (AND?) -- (2). as the whole-wide world knows, "You don't negotiate with terrorist" _ and Russia considers the pro-western neo-Nazi, Right Sector, ultra-right wing extremists who seized the Ukraine government by force, as being terrorists... (Russia won't negotiate with them)...
NOW, why can't the US and EU understand what the whole-wide world already knows, (You don't negotiate with terrorists), and for (humanitarian reasons), Russia will protect the Russian speaking Ukrainian people if the government uses it's military against them? --
(WHY expect Russia to do anything more?) -- It's a US and EU problem, (from start to finish), and now they act impotent and helpless in handling this Ukraine crisis, don't they?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid