Category Archives: Ukraine

Ukraine ceasefire holding as country’s currency collapses

A local woman is overcome with emotion as she looks at blood stains and damage around a wrecked truck of supporters of the self-proclaimed

Ukraine came under increasing economic pressure from a collapsing currency and a threat to its gas supplies from the Kremlin on Wednesday, just as a long-awaited ceasefire took hold in the east. As the truce appeared to be coming into force, the Ukrainian army reported no combat fatalities in the past 24 hours, but the news did nothing to halt a currency collapse that forced the central bank to ban most trading. In rebel-held eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists were withdrawing heavy guns from the front. Kiev said it was too early to do likewise, but its acknowledgement that most of the front was quiet suggested it too could implement a … Continue reading

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Ukraine ceasefire said to be holding – but only just

A pro-Russia militant stands at a checkpoint in the outskirts of Donetsk, Ukraine.

France and Germany believe the ceasefire in Ukraine is “generally” being observed, a statement from the French presidency says. But the countries’ leaders, who helped broker the truce, said some “local incidents” must be “quickly” resolved. Shelling has continued around the besieged town of Debaltseve. However, fighting in the area is reported to have lowered in intensity since the ceasefire began at midnight Saturday (22:00 GMT). Pro-Russian rebels had previously said they were entitled to fire in the town, as they believe the territory belongs to them. Meanwhile, a military spokesman said Ukrainian troops had come under fire 60 times in the hours after the truce came into force, AFP … Continue reading

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Flight MH17 air crash: Was Ukraine military involved?

Investigators sift through the wreckage of Malaysia

A document, posted on the website, and allegedly downloaded from Ukraine’s Defense Ministry network, dates back to August 7 and appears to be signed by Colonel Igor Zorin, the chief of Ukraine’s air defense forces. It is a report which maintains that a fragment of a projectile found together with the debris of the crashed flight MH17 is in fact a damage agent of a 9M38 surface-to-air guided missile belonging to the mobile air defense complex Buk or Buk M1. Ukrainian CyberBerkut hacktivists claim that they have penetrated the internal network of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and found proof that Kiev is getting secret data from MH17 crash investigators, including … Continue reading

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Ukraine defiant on National Day as rebels parade captives

German Chancellor Angela Merkel meeting with Ukrain President Porochenko in Kiev at the weekend.

By Richard Balmforth and Thomas Grove Ukraine marked its independence day on Sunday with a military march-past in Kiev intended to send a message of defiance to Russia, but pro-Moscow rebels countered by parading captured Ukrainian troops through the streets of their main stronghold. The rival events highlighted the divide that will have to be bridged if a compromise on Ukraine is to be reached on Tuesday when Russian President Vladimir Putin meets his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko for the first time in months. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who visited Kiev on Saturday to try to lay the ground-work for a peace deal, said Tuesday’s talks were unlikely to produce … Continue reading

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Poroshenko wins Ukraine poll and vows cooperation with Russia

grim task faces Petro Poroshenko who claimed victory in Ukraine

Ukrainian billionaire Petro Poroshenko prepared to take over as Ukraine’s leader Monday, vowing to end hostilities in the east, which he said was “impossible” without the cooperation of Moscow. Heavy fighting between separatists and Ukrainian forces around Donetsk International Airport forced local police to seal off the main road to the building about a mile from the terminal after the airport was closed Monday morning. There were two bursts of machine-gun fire from the direction of the terminal just after 1 p.m., followed by heavy fighting. A photojournalist from AFP who had been inside the airport about 30 minutes before the shooting said he saw Ukrainian forces, including snipers, on … Continue reading

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Professor sacked for criticising Russian foreign policy

Prof Andrei Zubov:  "We must not behave the way Germans once behaved, based on the promises of Goebbels and Hitler."

A Russian philosophy professor at a prestigious state university has been sacked after comparing Moscow’s actions in Ukraine with Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria in 1938. In an op-ed earlier this month on the day Russian lawmakers voted to give President Vladimir Putin permission to send troops into Ukraine, Andrei Zubov warned against war, saying: “We must not behave the way Germans once behaved, based on the promises of Goebbels and Hitler.” The Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), a diplomatic school with ties to the foreign ministry where Zubov has worked since 2001, said it had dismissed him for criticising Russia’s foreign policy. “Let the inappropriate and offensive … Continue reading

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Remove troops from Crimea or else – Obama warns Putin

Ukraine PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk meets President Barack Obama at the White House Wednesday.

US President Barack Obama has welcomed Ukraine’s interim prime minister to the White House and pledged to “stand with Ukraine” in its dispute with Russia. He warned Russian President Vladimir Putin the international community “will be forced to apply costs” if Russia does not remove its troops from Crimea. Ukraine PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk, speaking after meeting Mr Obama, said Ukraine “will never surrender” to Russia. It is absolutely unacceptable to have Russian boots on the Ukrainian ground in the 21st century, violating all international deals and treaties,” he said. The diplomatic appeals to Moscow come ahead of Sunday’s referendum in Crimea, in which citizens will be asked if they want … Continue reading

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Crimea sets date for holding referendum to rejoin Russia

Col. Yuliy Mamchuk, center, commander of the Ukrainian military garrison at the Belbek airbase, and a colleague with the regimental flag confront troops under Russian command Tuesday. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The Crimean parliament sharply escalated the stakes Thursday in a standoff over the region’s future, voting to join the Russian Federation, calling a referendum in 10 days to validate its decision and vowing to nationalize Ukrainian state industries. In Washington, President Obama condemned the moves Thursday, saying the referendum “would violate the Ukrainian constitution and violate international law. He also called for international monitors to be allowed into all of Ukraine, including Crimea, to ensure that people’s rights are being respected, including the rights of ethnic Russians. Speaking from the White House on Thursday, President Obama called “unconstitutional” a planned referendum in the Crimea over whether people there want to … Continue reading

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Opposition takes over as Ukraine president flees country

Ukraine protesters stand guard in front of the presidential palace in Kiev as country

Opposition leaders took control of the presidential palace outside Kiev on Saturday, as Ukraine’s president, Viktor F. Yanukovych, fled the capital and Parliament, beginning to chart what appeared to be a new course for the former Soviet republic, called for elections to replace him. Members of an opposition group from Lviv called ‘the 31st Hundred’ — carrying clubs and some of them wearing masks — were in control of the entryways to the palace Saturday morning. They watched as thousands of citizens strolled through the grounds during the day, gazing in wonder at the mansions, zoo, golf course, enclosure for rare pheasants and other luxuries, set in a birch forest … Continue reading

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Police officer sentenced to life for murder of Ukrainian journalist

 A former police commander in Ukraine was convicted of strangling an investigative journalist and sentenced to life in prison Tuesday, but the court has failed to determine who ordered the killing that has marred the ex-Soviet nation’s image. Heorhiy Gongadze, co-founder of a news website who exposed high-level corruption, was kidnapped in September 2000 and his decapitated body was found in a forest outside Kiev several months later. On Tuesday, the Pechersk District Court in Kiev convicted Olexiy Pukach, the former chief of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s surveillance department of the murder. Three other police officers have been convicted and sentenced in the case.Gongadze’s widow, Myroslava, who has received political … Continue reading

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