SLAVIANSK Ukraine (Reuters) – Dozens of charred bicycles stand upright in the rubble of a burnt-out sports shop in Slaviansk, a strategic stronghold for pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.
After a week of intensified shelling by government forces, windows of buildings on the outskirts of the city have been blown out, fires have gutted stores and the hulks of damaged Soviet-era cars lie abandoned in the road.
MARYNIVKA/LUHANSK Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukrainian border guards stand grim-faced and nervous at the remote Marynivka checkpoint on the frontier with Russia, fearing an attack by pro-Moscow separatists at any time.
Last week they fought off an assault by up to 150 rebels seeking control over supply routes from Russia to bring in arms and other war materials, forcing them to abandon two armored personnel carriers strafed with machinegun fire.
SLAVIANSK/LUHANSK Ukraine (Reuters) – Pro-Russian separatists poured scorn on peace overtures from Ukraine’s new president Petro Poroshenko on Saturday as fighting rumbled on in the east of the country.
Taking the oath of office in Kiev, Poroshenko appealed to the rebels to lay down their arms, offering peaceful dialogue and immunity from prosecution to “those who don’t have blood on their hands”.
MARYNIVKA Ukraine (Reuters) – Pro-Russian separatists operating from the grounds of a church in the eastern city of Slaviansk killed a member of the Ukrainian interior ministry’s special forces and seriously wounded two others in a mortar attack on Friday, the ministry said.
Slaviansk has been at the heart of a two-month insurgency in the Russian-speaking east by rebels opposed to the overthrow of a Moscow-leaning president and the formation in Kiev of a pro-European government.
LUHANSK Ukraine (Reuters) – Stepping over shrapnel strewn across a leafy park in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk, pro-Russian rebel leader Vasily Nikitin gives his version of what happened in the few seconds of violence that killed eight people in broad daylight.
He says the sharp, twisted pieces of metal he and others collected from the grass, off the street, from behind the tires of a blood-smeared white Nissan Maxima is proof the Ukrainian army shot unguided S-8KO cluster bombs into the park and a nearby rebel headquarters, causing an explosion.
DONETSK, Ukraine/MOSCOW, June 2 (Reuters) – Russia and
Ukraine agreed on Monday to consider a proposal for Kiev to pay
off a multi-billion-dollar gas bill that has soured relations
between Moscow and Kiev, while fighting raged all day in eastern
Russia accused NATO of whipping up dangerous tensions near
its borders and encouraging Ukraine to use force against
pro-Russian separatists. At a tense meeting in Brussels, the
alliance urged Moscow to stop arming the rebels.
DONETSK Ukraine/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia accused Ukrainian authorities on Monday of escalating violence against civilians in the rebel-held east of the country, even as it offered Kiev a brief respite in a dispute over billions of dollars’ worth of unpaid gas bills.
In the latest fighting, Ukrainian border guards said a pro-Russian militia had attacked one of their posts with automatic weapons and grenade launchers in the early hours, triggering a battle that was still raging many hours later.
DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukrainian separatist leader Denis Pushilin said on Saturday six rebels had been killed while trying to collect the bodies of comrades who had died under Ukrainian army fire earlier this week close to Donetsk airport.
Ukrainian forces regained control of the airport in the east of the country on Monday, killing at least 50 separatists, after a Sunday presidential election which gave billionaire Petro Poroshenko an overwhelming victory.
KRAMATORSK, Ukraine, May 27 (Reuters) – In quiet defiance of
a promise by Kiev’s pro-European government to cut arms ties
with Moscow, a state-owned defence firm in eastern Ukraine has
vowed to work around the clock to fill every Russian order it
As for many of Ukraine’s defence firms, the stakes are high
for Yuzhmash, an industrial behemoth that was so jealously
guarded by the Soviet Union that the nearby city of
Dnipropetrovsk was closed to foreigners until the bloc split
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia will pull back all forces deployed to regions near its border with Ukraine “within a few days”, a deputy defense minister said on Friday, a move that if carried out could ease tensions around Ukraine’s presidential election on Sunday.
Moscow has concentrated tens of thousands of troops across the border from eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists have declared two independent states.