Tag Archives: Kiev

Trucks from aid convoy to #Ukraine start crossing back into #Russia


BY DMITRY MADORSKYTrucks of a Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine, drive in the direction of the Ukrainian border near the town of Donetsk, in Russia's Rostov Region, August 22, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/ALEXANDER DEMIANCHUKTrucks of a Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine, drive in the direction of the Ukrainian border near the town of Donetsk, in Russia’s Rostov Region, August 22, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/ALEXANDER DEMIANCHUK

(Reuters) – Trucks from a Russian aid convoy started crossing back into Russia on Saturday after unleashing a storm of anger in Western capitals a day earlier by driving into Ukraine without the permission of the government in Kiev.

The return of the trucks may help ease the tension to some extent in time for talks in Ukraine’s capital on Saturday between visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian leaders over how to end the crisis in the ex-Soviet republic.

Western leaders had joined Kiev in calling the Russian convoy — about 220 white-painted trucks loaded with tinned food and bottle water — an illegal incursion onto Ukraine’s soil, and demanded that they be withdrawn as soon as possible.

A Reuters journalist at the Donetsk-Izvaryne border crossing, where the convoy rolled into Ukraine on Friday, said over 100 trucks had passed back into Russia and more could be seen in the distance arriving at the crossing.

Russian state television had earlier broadcast footage of some of the trucks being unloaded at a distribution depot in the city of Luhansk, eastern Ukraine. The Russian foreign ministry said the aid reached its intended destination.

A Russian convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine is parked at a camp near Donetsk, Rostov Region, August 22, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/ALEXANDER DEMIANCHUKA Russian convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine is parked at a camp near Donetsk, Rostov Region, August 22, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/ALEXANDER DEMIANCHUK

The city is held by separatist rebels who are encircled by Ukrainian government forces, and has been cut off from power and water supplies for weeks. International aid agencies have warned of a humanitarian crisis.

NATO said it had reports that Russian troops had been firing artillery at Kiev’s forces inside Ukraine – fuelling Western allegations that the Kremlin is behind the conflict in an effort undermine the Western-leaning leadership in Kiev.

“Since mid-August we have multiple reports of the direct involvement of Russian forces, including airborne, air defence and special operations forces in Eastern Ukraine,” said NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu.

“Russian artillery support – both cross border and from within Ukraine – is being employed against the Ukrainian armed forces,” she said.

Russia denies giving any material help to the rebellion in eastern Ukraine, a mainly Russian-speaking region. It accuses Kiev, with the backing of the West, of waging a war against innocent civilians.

The conflict in Ukraine has dragged Russian-Western relations to their lowest ebb since the Cold War and sparked a round of trade sanctions that are hurting already-fragile economies in European and Russia.

The German leader landed in Kiev and was scheduled to meet Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk.

Diplomats say she will show support for Kiev, but also urge Poroshenko to be open to peace proposals when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks next week.

HOMES DESTROYED

In the rebels biggest stronghold, the city of Donetsk, there was unusually intense shelling on Saturday. That may be part of a drive by government forces to achieve a breakthrough in time for Ukrainian Independence Day, which falls on Sunday.

The crisis over Ukraine started when mass protests in Kiev ousted a president who was close to Moscow, and instead installed leaders viewed with suspicion by the Kremlin.

Soon after that, Russia annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea, and a separatist rebellion broke out in eastern Ukraine. In the past weeks, the momentum has shifted towards Ukraine’s forces, who have been pushing back the rebels.

The separatist are now encircled in their two strongholds, Luhansk and Donetsk.

Reuters reporters in the city of Donetsk said that most of the shelling was taking place in the outskirts, but explosions were also audible in the centre of the city.

In Donetsk’s Leninsky district, a man who gave his name as Grigory, said he was in the toilet on Saturday morning when he heard the whistling sound of incoming artillery. “Then it hit. I came out and half the building was gone.”

The roof of the building had collapsed into a heap of debris. Grigory said his 27-year-old daughter was taken to hospital with injuries to her head. He picked up a picture of a baby from the rubble. “This is my grandson,” he said.

In another residential area, about 5 km north of the city centre, a shop and several houses had been hit. Residents said two men, civilians, were killed.

Praskoviya Grigoreva, 84, pointed to two puddles of blood on the pavement near a bus stop that was destroyed in the same attack. “He’s dead. Death took him on this spot,” she said.

(Additional reporting by Maria Tsvetkova and Tom Grove in Donetsk, Ukraine, Adrian Croft in Brussels, Richard Balmforth and Natalia Zinets in Kiev and Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Ralph Boulton).


Reuters.

German vice chancellor urges ‘federal’ #Ukraine


Western leaders have demanded Russia withdraw its disputed aid convoy from Ukraine.

by Agence France-Presse.Germany vice chancellor Sigmar GabrielGermany vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel © AFP.

BERLIN, Aug 23, 2014 (AFP) – Germany’s vice chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, said Saturday establishing a federal Ukraine would be the only viable solution to the crisis pitting Kiev against pro-Russian separatists.

“The wise concept of federalism seems to me the only viable path,” the vice chancellor and economic and energy affairs minister said in an interview to appear Sunday in the German weekly Welt am Sonntag.

The paper released extracts of the interview just hours before German Chancellor Angela Merkel was set to meet Ukrainian officials in Kiev for crisis talks.

Merkel, the most influential Western leader to visit Ukraine s pro-Western leaders, will hold talks with President Petro Poroshenko, three days ahead of the first meeting in months between Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk alongside top EU officials.

Western leaders have demanded Russia withdraw its disputed aid convoy from Ukraine after the Kremlin unilaterally sent them to the insurgent stronghold of Lugansk on Friday in a move Kiev decried as an “invasion”.

Parts of the mammoth aid convoy crossed back into Russian territory on Saturday.

The German diplomatic push is aimed mainly at “avoiding, by any means possible, a direct military confrontation between Russia and Ukraine,” Gabriel said.

“The territorial integrity of Ukraine cannot be preserved unless a proposition is made to the majority Russian-speaking regions,” he said.

But he was pessimistic over a return to Kiev s control of the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Moscow in March.


Dunya News.

German Chancellor Angela #Merkel to visit #Ukraine on Saturday


German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds files as she arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds files as she arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Kiev on Saturday and meet with top officials, making her first visit to Ukraine since the crisis there erupted.

Merkel is making the visit at Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s invitation and also will meet with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said Tuesday. He said their talks will focus on Ukraine’s relationship with Russia and ways to help Ukraine as it battles a pro-Russian insurgency in the east.

Germany has played a leading role in diplomatic efforts to defuse the crisis in Ukraine. Merkel has spoken frequently with Poroshenko and with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier hosted a meeting about the crisis with his counterparts from Russia, Ukraine and France. There was little sign of progress at those talks. Germany aims to reconvene them, but it’s not yet clear whether and when that might happen.

However, the Kremlin announced Tuesday that Putin would meet with Poroshenko on Aug. 26 in Belarus, their first meeting since early June.

Steinmeier told ZDF television he believes “the conflict in eastern Ukraine is still solvable.”

“My impression, even after the difficult talks we had, is that there is a change in the position of both partners in the conflict,” he said. “I have the impression that both are searching at the moment for possibilities to find a way to a cease-fire.”


Associated Press.

#Russia Denies #Kiev Attacked #Russian #Army Column, Says No Troops Crossed #Border


An armoured personnel carrier drives on a road near the town of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky in the Rostov region, some 30 km from the Russian-Ukrainian border, on August 15, 2014.An armoured personnel carrier drives on a road near the town of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky in the Rostov region, some 30 km from the Russian-Ukrainian border, on August 15, 2014. © AFP

MOSCOW — Russia’s Defence Ministry on Friday denied that Ukrainian forces had destroyed a Russian military column overnight on its territory, saying no such military force had crossed the border into eastern Ukraine, Russian state news agency RIA reported.

“There was no Russian military column that crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border either at night or during the day,” the defense ministry was cited as saying in a statement, dismissing the Ukrainian report as “some kind of fantasy.” 1

(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Christian Lowe).


The New York Times.


  1. A ‘fantasy’ that was witnessed by reporters from the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph as well as russian journalists! 

127 victims of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight #MH17 identified


International experts investigating the site of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in the Donetsk region, in eastern Ukraine on August 1, 2014. Dutch forensic experts have identified a total of 127 victims, with 20 new names being released to families on Thursday, Dutch national broadcaster NOS said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS.International experts investigating the site of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in the Donetsk region, in eastern Ukraine on August 1, 2014. Dutch forensic experts have identified a total of 127 victims, with 20 new names being released to families on Thursday, Dutch national broadcaster NOS said. — PHOTO: REUTERS.

THE HAGUE (AFP) – Dutch forensic experts have identified a total of 127 victims of downed flight MH17, with 20 new names being released to families on Thursday, the Dutch national broadcaster said.

“Of the 20, some 15 were Dutch. The nationalities of the rest of the victims were not released,” NOS said on its website.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 exploded over insurgent-held east Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 on board, 193 of them Dutch, with the West accusing Russia-backed separatists of shooting it down and Moscow blaming Kiev.

The search for bodies was called off a week ago because of rising clashes between Kiev and the pro-Moscow rebels but the Dutch government hopes to return should the situation improve.

The Straits Times.