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
BELGRADE, July 15 (Reuters) – Serbia will likely delay a
possible Eurobond until at least October, aiming to first secure
an IMF loan deal and revise the budget, and is considering ways
to tackle banks’ bad loans, caretaker Finance Minister Dusan
Vujovic said on Tuesday.
Vujovic, who is expected to take control of the finance
portfolio long-term after the resignation of Lazar Krstic on
Saturday, told Reuters he had met officials from Goldman Sachs
, who showed him the model of Slovenia’s ‘bad bank’,
created last year to ring-fence billions of euros in toxic debt
and unburden teetering domestic banks.
DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) – Pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine on Saturday released a second group of four monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) who had been seized on May 29, a Reuters witness said.
Their release, which followed the freeing of another group of OSCE monitors early on Friday, came after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced a 72-hour extension to a ceasefire until Monday night. That ceasefire appeared under threat when three members of the Ukrainian military were killed in a rebel attack on their post near the eastern city of Slaviansk.
DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) – Pro-Russian separatist leaders voiced willingness to extend a shaky ceasefire in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking east on Friday, after releasing four out of eight international observers captured over a month ago, in an apparent goodwill gesture.
The ceasefire between the rebels and the government, set to expire later on Friday, has been marred by violations, including the death of five Ukrainian servicemen in overnight clashes and the downing of a military helicopter earlier this week.
BRUSSELS/SLAVIANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Western powers warned Russia on Wednesday that they could impose new sanctions if it did not do more to defuse the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where a ceasefire between Russian-speaking rebels and government forces appeared to be crumbling.
The upper house of Russia’s parliament fulfilled a request by President Vladimir Putin to rescind the right to invade Ukraine in defense of its Russian speakers that it had granted him in March.