MARIUPOL, Ukraine, Sept 2 (Reuters) – The war is being
fought just over the hills. Civilians have started to flee the
city. But the men of the vast Ilyich iron and steel works in the
Ukrainain port of Mariupol are still in place, pouring molten
steel, running the rolling mill and pledging to defend their
factory and town from an onslaught by pro-Russian rebels.
Mariupol, a port of around half a million people, is the
next big city in the path of advancing rebels, who opened a new
front and scattered Ukrainian troops along the coast of the Azov
Sea last week with what Kiev says is help from the Russian army.
MOSCOW/MARIUPOL Ukraine (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Sunday for immediate talks on the “statehood” of southern and eastern Ukraine, although his spokesman said this did not mean Moscow now endorsed rebel calls for independence for territory they have seized.
The Kremlin leader’s remarks, two days after a public appearance in which he compared the Kiev government with Nazis and warned the West not to “mess with us”, came as Europe and the United States prepared possible further sanctions to halt what they say is direct Russian military involvement in the war in Ukraine.
KIEV/MARIUPOL Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukraine said one of its naval vessels came under artillery attack from the shore on Sunday, in what pro-Russian rebels claimed as the first sea victory of their separatist war.
“A Ukrainian border patrol cutter in the Azov Sea was attacked from the shore today. Artillery was used. A rescue operation is under way,” Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told Reuters.
NOVOAZOVSK Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukrainian forces and residents in Ukraine’s eastern port of Mariupol braced for attack on Sunday from advancing pro-Russian rebels who Kiev says are backed by a Russian armored column in a new offensive that has tipped the balance in a five-month war.
Pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian troops both used bulldozers to dig trenches on Sunday along the new front, a 40-km (25 mile) strip of coastal highway on the Sea of Azov, with battle looming for a city of half a million people.
MOSCOW/MARIUPOL Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukraine and Russia swapped soldiers who had entered each other’s territory near the battlefield in eastern Ukraine, where Kiev says Moscow’s forces have come to the aid of pro-Russian insurgents advancing for an assault on a major port.
Ukrainian troops and local residents were reinforcing the port of Mariupol on Sunday, the next big city in the path of pro-Russian fighters who pushed back government forces along the Azov Sea this past week in an offensive on a new front.
BELGRADE, Aug 22 (Reuters) – Serbia said on Friday it would
not subsidise exports to Russia, after the European Union urged
the Balkan country – a candidate for accession to the bloc – not
to exploit the Kremlin’s ban on Western food imports.
Serbian food producers hope to take advantage of the trade
row but the West-Russia stand-off over Ukraine has put Serbian
authorities in a tight spot, caught between their ambition to
join the EU and economic and political ties with Russia.
BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia said on Friday it would not encourage exports to Russia, after the European Union urged the Balkan country not to exploit the Kremlin’s ban on Western food imports.
Serbian food producers hope to take advantage of the trade row to boost exports to Russia. But the West-Russia stand-off over Ukraine has put Serbian authorities in a tight spot, caught between their ambition to join the EU and historical ties with fellow Orthodox Christian Russia.
DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) – Although the streets outside are nearly empty, business has been brisk at Oksana Vsevolodova’s grocery store Donetsk as residents prepare for what could be a long siege.
People in the east Ukraine city are stocking up flour, canned food, cooking oil, instant coffee, candles and batteries as government forces tighten the noose around pro-Russian separatists occupying the city.
DONETSK, Ukraine, July 30 (Reuters) – Western leaders may be
Vladimir Putin’s biggest critics over the conflict in east
Ukraine but the Russian leader is also facing criticism from
some of the rebels they accuse him of arming.
The European Union and the United States have imposed new
sanctions on Russia because they say Putin has not done enough
to persuade the pro-Russian separatists to stop fighting and is
supplying them with weapons.
BRUSSELS/DONETSK, Ukraine, July 29 (Reuters) – The European
Union agreed for the first time on Tuesday to impose broad
sanctions against Russian oil companies, banks and defence
firms, by far the strongest international action yet over
Moscow’s support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.
The measures mark the start of a new phase in the biggest
confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War,
which worsened dramatically after the downing of Malaysian
flight MH17 over rebel-held territory on July 17 by what Western
countries say was a Russian-supplied missile.