BRUSSELS/DONETSK (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Monday Russia is sending an aid convoy to eastern Ukraine despite urgent Western warnings against using humanitarian help as a pretext for an invasion.
With Ukraine reporting Russia has massed 45,000 troops on its border, NATO said there was a “high probability” that Moscow could intervene militarily in the country’s east, where Kiev’s forces are closing in on pro-Russian separatists.
BRUSSELS/DONETSK (Reuters) – NATO said on Monday there was a “high probability” that Russia could launch an invasion of Ukraine, where the government said its troops have been closing in on Donetsk, the main city held by pro-Russian rebels.
Kiev said it was in the “final stages” of recapturing Donetsk, by far the biggest city under the control of the pro-Russian rebels. The battle for the city could be a decisive turning point in a conflict which has caused the biggest confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War.
KIEV/DONETSK (Reuters) – The Ukrainian military said on Monday it was preparing for a “final stage” of taking back the city of Donetsk from pro-Russian separatists after making significant gains that have split rebel forces on the ground.
Spokesman Andriy Lysenko said Kiev’s troops had now cut Donetsk off from the other main rebel-held city of Luhansk, 150 km (90 miles) away, on the border with Russia.
KIEV/DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) – Artillery shells slammed into the outskirts of the Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Sunday as government forces tightened the noose around the rebel-held redoubt and called on pro-Russian separatists to surrender.
To the east of Donetsk, government forces and the separatists were fighting for control of the town of Krasny Luch, a rail and road junction through which Kiev says the rebels are receiving supplies of Russian military equipment.
MOSCOW/DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) – A native of eastern Ukraine on Thursday replaced a Russian as leader of separatists in their stronghold of Donetsk, in a move aimed at blunting Western accusations the rebellion is being run by Moscow.
Aleksander Borodai, one of several Russian nationals in top roles among the pro-Moscow rebels as the head of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DNR), told a news conference he would now serve as deputy to the new leader.
MOSCOW/DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) – Moscow banned imports of most food from the West on Thursday in retaliation against sanctions over Ukraine, a stronger than expected measure that isolates Russian consumers from world trade to a degree unseen since Soviet days.
In eastern Ukraine, the Russian citizen who has led the rebel “Donetsk People’s Republic” stepped down in favour of a local man, a move that could provide some faint new hope for peace. Kiev has long said it could negotiate with locals but never with foreigners it considers international terrorists.
By Sergei Karpukhin
Life in the Russian provinces has never been easy. The absence of common utilities even now is not a rarity in villages: water is gathered from wells, stoves have to be heated up, the cattle watched, in the summer the vegetable patch needs tending…
All these tasks, and household chores in general, fall on the shoulders of the womenfolk, and in the villages where the young have left, they fall on the shoulders of the ”babushkas” – the grannies. Dealing with this workload has always been helped by song. Normally it’s those songs taught to you by your mother or grandmother in early childhood. The songs are passed from generation to generation gathering all the love, tenderness, happiness and sadness of the people who lived before.