Pro-Russian insurgents dislodged government troops from three bases in eastern Ukraine. © AFP
LUHANSK, Ukraine – Pro-Russian insurgents dislodged government troops from three bases in eastern Ukraine, a new blow to the beleaguered armed forces as the president-elect laid out new initiatives on June 5 to help end the regional mutiny in the country’s industrial heartland.
Petro Poroshenko, speaking in Warsaw after meeting with President Barack Obama and other Western leaders, rejected a call from Ukraine’s interim authorities to introduce martial law in the restive east. Poroshenko said he would seek to pacify the region with an offer of amnesty and a promise of early regional elections.
The move follows nearly two months of fighting in the region, where pro-Russia rebels have seized government buildings, declared two sprawling provinces independent and fought government forces.
Poroshenko’s offer, expected to be detailed in his inaugural address on Saturday, came as the Ukrainian troops suffered a series of humiliating setbacks on Wednesday.
After hours of fighting in which six militants were killed and three Ukrainian servicemen were injured, the National Guard forces ran out of ammunition and had to leave their base near the eastern city of Luhansk.
Also Wednesday, rebels seized a border guard base on the city’s outskirts following a nearly two-day-long siege and forced guards out of another base in the nearby town of Sverdlovsk on the Russian border. The guards there were granted a safe exit and left with their weapons.
A rebel fighter who gave only his first name, Andrei, said they want to create a “humanitarian corridor” that would allow civilians to flee to Russia to escape the fighting. (more…)
Officials say six militants were killed and three Ukrainian servicemen were injured in the fighting.
LUHANSK, Ukraine – Rebel fighters in Ukraine’s troubled east have scored a major victory, capturing a border guard command base here after besieging it for two days and then overwhelming a second base that housed Ukrainian internal security forces.
Gunfire rattled for hours into the night on Tuesday as fighters surrounded the internal security base in central Luhansk, on a back street near a grocery store. By Wednesday morning, men in camouflage could be seen moving around inside the base, which goes by the number 3035, and blood was smeared in three large patches on a wall and sidewalk nearby. It was not clear how many Ukrainian personnel had been inside, but they were ordered to remove their uniforms, which lay in a pile inside the base.
The Associated Press cited officials as saying six militants were killed and three Ukrainian servicemen were injured in the fighting.
In the southwestern suburb of Mirny, rebels carried boxes out of the large border guard station that they had finally overrun. Local residents said the men inside had been released between 1 and 4 a.m. on Wednesday. It was not clear what would become of the approximately 12 smaller outposts along Luhansk’s sprawling border with Russia that had been under the command center’s jurisdiction.
Rebel fighters examined damaged rifles at a border guard base that they seized Wednesday near Luhansk, Ukraine.
“It’s chaos,” said a massage therapist who lives in one of the nearby apartment buildings and identified herself only as Zhanna. She pointed to empty boxes of ammunition in her building’s stairwell. “These are bandits, plain and simple,” she said of the rebels. She expressed pity for the border guards, whom she said were mostly young men from the area trying to feed their families.
The military reversals came as Oleksandr V. Turchynov, Ukraine’s acting president, arrived in eastern Ukraine — the first visit by a member of Ukraine’s government to the eastern regions since separatists seized government buildings and large stretches of territory. A spokeswoman for Mr. Turchynov, Anna Vakhotskaya, said she could not give details about where he was or what he was doing, citing security concerns.
In Luhansk, mourners were occupied Wednesday with burying the victims of an airstrike two days earlier. More than 100 stood in a crowded cemetery by the grave of Alexander Gizai, a respected community leader who was killed in the strike. The death of Mr. Gizai, who ran a local youth club, has angered residents.
The A.P. reported on Wednesday that Mr. Turchynov, who will hand over power to President-elect Petro O. Poroshenko on Saturday, has asked the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine to consider imposing martial law in eastern parts of the country to try to stabilize the situation.
Ukraine’s first deputy prime minister, Vitaly Yarema, was quoted by the news agency Interfax Ukraine as saying that the council would convene to discuss martial law only after Mr. Poroshenko’s inauguration.
Ukraine’s interim president Oleksandr Turchynov said that government forces were beginning to seal the country’s borders with Russia.
Ukraine’s interim president Oleksandr Turchynov said on June 4 that government forces were beginning to seal the country’s borders with Russia to prevent weapons from being smuggled in and militants from penetrating, and ensure the “localization of the terrorists.”
Editors Note: Why has it taken so long for the interim government in Ukraine to do this, lives could have been saved if this was initiated months ago!
The political party Democratic Alliance has denied membership to Bohdan Globa, an LGBT activist based in Kyiv, who could not be immediately reached for comment.
The political party Democratic Alliance has denied membership to Bohdan Globa, an LGBT (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender) activist based in Kyiv.
Speaking to journalists at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center on June 4, Democratic Alliance leader Vasyl Gatsko underscored that Globa’s sexual orientation had nothing to do with the decision.
“Nobody in Democratic Alliance asks when, how, or with whom one sleeps, or about their sexual orientation. This decision was not related to his sexual preference, it is related to his views…His views differ from ours, for example, on the issue of family,” said Gatsko.
Still, when the Kyiv Post pressed Gatsko about the meaning of family values, he responded that “Democratic Alliance is a Christian Democratic party. Our position is that family is made up of a man and a woman.”
Tochka Opori, an advocacy group that works with people with HIV and members of the LGBT community, condemned Democratic Alliance’s decision, citing Ukraine’s anti-discrimination laws.
The group argued that Democratic Alliance had violated article 24 of Ukraine’s constitution, which states: “There shall be no privileges or restrictions based on race, color, political, religious or other beliefs, sex, ethnic or social origin, property status, place of residence, linguistic or other characteristics.“
“We maintain that the political party Democratic Alliance which gained its popularity in the wake of the revolution of dignity and pro-European ideas turned out to be totally unprepared for liberal values, norms and rules,” read a statement on Tochka Opori’s website.
Gatsko said that the Democratic Alliance “represents the views of our society,” and that Ukrainians with different views are free to join other political parties.
Globa could not be reached immediately for comment.
Democratic Alliance began as a youth movement, registering as a political party in 2011, when it began to running on an anti-corruption platform. The party is popular among young voters and played an active role in the EuroMaidan Protests that toppled former President Viktor Yanukovych in February.
Because the party largely caters to young, typically more liberal voters, the decision to deny membership to Globa is somewhat surprising. Democratic Alliance’s platform calls for democracy and social justice, and for a society “based on human values, upholding the priority of human rights and freedoms.”
Democratic Alliance secured two seats in the Kyiv Rada in the May 25 municipal elections, winning just over 3 percent of the vote, the threshold necessary for representation in the local parliament.
The party’s leaders noted at least 10 instances of falsification in the election, suggesting that other parties had tried to marginalize Democratic Alliance, thereby securing greater representation in the Kyiv Rada.
Editors Note: UnitedForUkraine should stand for everybody not just the select few, I stand behind the Ukrainian people in their fight for peace and for the right of all people to be treated as equals!!!