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.
DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) – Intense fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine killed dozens of civilians, soldiers and rebels, as Kiev pressed on with an offensive on Tuesday including near the wreckage of Malaysian flight MH17.
Shells hit the centre of Donetsk, a city with a pre-war population of nearly a million people where residents fear they will be trapped on a battlefield between advancing Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed rebels who have vowed to make a stand.
KIEV/DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) – U.S. and European leaders agreed on Monday to impose wider sanctions on Russia’s financial, defense and energy sectors as Ukraine said its forces advanced toward the crash site of Malaysian flight MH17.
The new sanctions, which U.S. President Barack Obama and leaders of Germany, Britain, France and Italy discussed in a conference call, are aimed at increasing the pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin after the Malaysian airliner was shot down over territory held by pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine.
KIEV/DONETSK, Ukraine, July 28 (Reuters) – Ukraine said its
troops had taken more territory from pro-Russian rebels near the
site where Malaysian flight MH17 was brought down, as
international investigators said fighting was preventing them
reaching the crash location.
Ukrainian officials said two rebel-held towns had been
recaptured and attempts were being made to take a village Kiev
says was near the launch site of the surface-to-air missile that
shot down the airliner with loss of all 298 on board.
SPARTAK, Ukraine, July 27 (Reuters) – With no electricity to
power televisions, residents of the Ukrainian village of Spartak
look to the skies where every night they watch what they call a
concert of “fireworks”.
The fireworks are in fact flares, tracerfire and shells
which regularly strike this village just 5 km (miles) from the
airport in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk near where Ukrainian
forces and pro-Russian rebels have been fighting for weeks.
DONETSK, Ukraine, July 27 (Reuters) – A Ukrainian push to
dislodge pro-Russian rebels from the site of the downed
Malaysian airliner further complicated plans for an
investigation on Sunday as Europe and the United States prepared
economic sanctions on Russia over the conflict.
Russia dismissed U.S. allegations it was about to hand over
more missiles to the separatists, who Western leaders say almost
certainly shot the airliner down by mistake with a
Russian-supplied surface-to-air missile.
DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) – Fighting around the site of the Malaysian airliner downed in Ukraine prevented a visit by international experts on Sunday, although Malaysia said separatists had agreed to allow in international police and investigators.
Alexander Hug, deputy head for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s monitoring mission in Ukraine, told reporters: “We heard indications there’s fighting going on.”
KIEV/DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) – As Ukrainian troops gained ground in eastern Ukraine in early July, separatist leader, Aleksander Borodai, a Russian national, left for Moscow for political consultations.
After what he described as successful talks with unnamed people there, he returned to the rebel stronghold of Donetsk to introduce a new senior figure in his self-proclaimed republic, a compatriot seasoned in the pro-Russian separatist movement in Moldova and a war between Russia and Georgia.
BELGRADE, July 18 (Reuters) – Serbia’s prime minister said
on Friday he planned to cut the public-sector workforce by some
13 percent over the next three years, but he declined to back
explicitly a proposal by his new finance minister to cut
pensions and wages by 10 percent.
In an interview with Reuters, Prime Minister Aleksandar
Vucic said he planned to lower the deficit to less than 5
percent next year, then 3 to 4 percent. He would not say whether
that would involve a 10 percent cut in pensions and public
sector wages, as Finance Minister Dusan Vujovic advocates.
BELGRADE, July 18 (Reuters) – The Serbian Parliament adopted
the first in a raft of reforms intended to cut spending and
attract investors, with measures that liberalise the labour
market and raise the retirement age for women.
The government is now expected to move quickly to push
through legislation on bankruptcy and privatisation. That will
provide a basis for restructuring dozens of loss-making