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.
DONETSK, Ukraine/MINSK (Reuters) – Civilians were killed on both sides in heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine on Friday, while an attempt to reopen peace talks in neighboring Belarus was aborted before it began.
Rebel delegates flew to the Belarus capital Minsk, only to announce that no talks would take place on Friday and they were flying straight back to Moscow. Any talks would be the first since a five-month-old ceasefire collapsed with a new rebel advance last week.
BELGRADE (Reuters) – Tax inspectors in Serbia have turned their attention to a parade of local pop and folk music stars summoned to explain their earnings and extravagant lifestyles in the wake of a government pledge to rein in a vast gray economy.
For the past week, a succession of singers have been pictured in tabloids turning up at the offices of Serbia’s tax authority, feeding speculation about tax evasion in the Serbia’s gaudy folk and pop scene.
BELGRADE (Reuters) – After 19 hours of debate, Serbia’s parliament adopted a 2015 budget early on Thursday intended to slash spending on pensions and unprofitable public industries to secure an IMF loan.
The budget targets a consolidated deficit at 231.9 billion dinars (1.9 billion euros), or around 6 percent of national output. It was drafted in line with a 1-billion-euro loan deal with the International Monetary Fund and sets revenues at 924.4 billion dinars and expenditures at 1.11 billion.
BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia’s draft spending plan for 2015, currently being debated by parliament, is “realistic” and should result in savings of 600-650 million euros ($734-795 million), a top economic advisory body said on Tuesday.
Serbia’s Fiscal Council, which advises the government, said it expected next year’s consolidated budget deficit – which includes subsidies and guarantees for state firms and municipal spending – would come in at around six percent of output, or slightly higher than the government’s own forecast of around 5.8 percent.