DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko will not be present at a summit on east Ukraine this week but his actions will help determine the success or failure of any peace deal.
While Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen in the West as holding the key to peace, Zakharchenko is regarded vital for ensuring Moscow’s decisions are implemented.
WASHINGTON/DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama made clear he was some way from a decision on whether to arm Ukraine in its conflict against Russian-backed rebels, saying on Monday he still hoped for a diplomatic solution.
“The measure by which I make these decisions is: ‘Is it more likely to be effective than not?’,” Obama said at a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who opposes providing Ukraine with weapons to fight separatists in its east.
WASHINGTON/DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to argue against arming Ukraine in its conflict against Russian-backed rebels in Washington on Monday in the face of intense U.S. Congressional pressure.
Merkel’s message that sending Western weapons to Kiev risks escalating the conflict is likely to get a sympathetic hearing when she meets President Barack Obama later in the day.
DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Pro-Russian separatists have intensified shelling of government forces on all front lines and appear to be amassing forces for new offensives on the key railway town of Debaltseve and the coastal city of Mariupol, Ukraine’s military said on Saturday.
Five Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and 26 wounded in fighting in the past 24 hours, spokesman Volodymyr Polyovy told a briefing in Kiev.
DEBALTSEVE, Ukraine, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Convoys of buses
carrying many local residents to safety left the besieged town
of Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine on Friday as government forces
kept up artillery fire to defend their positions against
The two convoys of empty buses, one of around 20 vehicles
coming from territory controlled by the Ukrainian army and
another of more than 30 from the rebel-held city of Donetsk
converged in Debaltseve town centre’s narrow streets and a small
square near the district administration building.
VUHLEHIRSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Pro-Russian rebels appeared to be in full control on Wednesday of one of the towns that has been a principal target of their advance, as they attempt to surround a nearby garrison of Ukrainian forces.
The apparent fall of the town of Vuhlehirsk would be a setback for Kiev, which has been trying to defend it and the larger neighbouring town of Debaltseve, an important rail hub, from encirclement by advancing rebels.
YENAKIEVE, Ukraine, Feb 2 (Reuters) – Separatist rockets
streaked across hills in eastern Ukraine on Monday as rebels
pounded the positions of Ukrainian government troops holding a
strategic rail town while both sides pressed ahead with
mobilising more forces for combat.
Kiev’s military said five more Ukrainian soldiers were
killed in clashes while municipal authorities in the big
rebel-controlled city of Donetsk said 15 civilians were killed
at the weekend by shelling in a surge of violence following the
collapse of a new peace effort on Saturday.
DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Artillery attacks on the Ukrainian city of Donetsk killed at least one civilian on Monday while Kiev’s military reported that five more Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in clashes with separatists in the east in the past 24 hours.
Municipal authorities in Donetsk said 15 civilians were killed over the weekend by shells, mortars or other missiles that hit residential areas of the city which is controlled by the separatists.
KIEV/DONETSK, Ukraine Feb 1 (Reuters) – Fighting raged in
eastern Ukraine on Sunday as Russian-backed separatists used
artillery fire to try to dislodge government forces from a
strategic rail hub after peace talks collapsed.
Hopes of easing the situation evaporated on Saturday with
Ukraine’s representative and separatist envoys accusing the
other of sabotaging negotiations.
KIEV/DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Thirteen Ukrainian soldiers and 10 civilians have been killed in the past 24 hours in the country’s separatist-minded east, Kiev authorities said, after the collapse of peace talks dimmed hopes of a near-term ceasefire.
The civilian and military death toll has mounted in the past two weeks after rebels launched a new offensive. Hopes of de-escalation evaporated on Saturday with Ukraine’s representative and separatist envoys accusing the other of sabotaging negotiations.