Tag Archives: Luhansk

Breaking news – Military jet downed by anti-Kiev forces in Lugansk – Ukraine’s defense ministry

Anti-Kiev forces took down a Ukrainian military Il-76 jet as it was landing in Lugansk, the country’s Defense Ministry said. It did not provide details on casualties.

TSN.ua news website earlier reported that around 30 paratroopers were killed as self-defense forces hit the jet with a rocket.

The plane was transporting rotating military personnel and had “troops, machinery, equipment and food,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Il-76 is a heavy military transport aircraft that usually has a crew of seven and can transport up to 167 soldiers with weapons.

Meanwhile, shooting has resumed in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region as the Ukrainian military continues its crackdown on self-defense forces in the country’s east, a self-defense representative said.

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Confirmed: Ukrainian air force fired over 150 missiles at Lugansk, bombed admin HQ

Kiev has admitted showering the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk with dozens of missiles from the air, saying that its Air Force helicopters and jets “fired more than 150 missiles” in Monday’s military action.

DEATH TOLL: 181 people killed, 293 injured in Kiev military op

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) also confirmed on Tuesday that the deadly explosion at the city’s administrative building was indeed an airstrike. Kiev has so far denied the responsibility for the incident, saying its forces “do not target” civilian areas.

The OSCE Ukrainian mission’s daily report stated that “on June 2, around 15:00 local time missiles hit the building of the regional government administration. According to the observers’ data, the strike was carried out with non-guided missiles launched from an aircraft.”

According to an earlier statement by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, the intense bombing in Lugansk area was meant to “support the Ukrainian Border Guards,” which the local militia have been trying to take under control.

“All in all, for fulfilling the combat support of the Ukrainian border guards the army aviators fired more than 150 missiles, carried out three jet sorties and five helicopter sorties,” the statement says.

The air support was backed by fighter jets launching decoy flares to prevent the attacking aircraft from being targeted from the ground.

According to the ministry, two self-defense checkpoints were destroyed in the attack.

Not all the Monday fighting was on the outskirts of Lugansk, apparently, as one Ukrainian missile hit the occupied Lugansk administration building, killing at least eight civilians inside and nearby. Some Kiev politicians have laid the blame on the self-defense forces for the “blast,” which has undoubtedly been confirmed as an airstrike by the accounts of witnesses and the CCTV footage from the scene.

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Self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic elects head, passes constitution

“People’s Governor” of the Lugansk Region Valery Bolotov (center) read an address to the residents of Lugansk at the rally devoted to the results of the referendum on the status of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) on May 12, 2014

The self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR) elected its head and passed its own constitution on Sunday. This comes after the region held a referendum on May 11 and proclaimed itself independent from Kiev.

LNR’s state council – which acts as a temporary legislative body – has chosen Valery Bolotov as the head of the republic. The council also elected its speaker, Aleksey Karyakin, and Prime Minister – Vasily Nikitin.

Bolotov was born in Russia’s southern port city of Taganrog in 1974. He has two university degrees. He also worked his way up from a manager to the director at a meat factory. Before being elected as the head of the self-proclaimed republic, he was serving as the “people’s governor” of Lugansk region.

Deputies of the council who where elected earlier on Sunday on also adopted a temporary constitution of the Lugansk People’s Republic.

The newly elected prime minister already identified what his first steps in the office will be. “As the prime minister I will form a new government. I will announce the specific candidates later. The members of the new cabinet will be determined in the second part of the day [tomorrow],” Itar-Tass quoted Nikitin as saying.

Last weekend, Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions held referendums in which the majority of voters supported self-rule.

In Lugansk region 96.2 percent of voters supported the region’s self-rule, according to final figures announced by the local election commission. Almost 90 percent of voters in Donetsk region have endorsed political independence from Kiev.

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RF ambassador : NATO seeking to make maximum use of Ukrainian crisis to prove its worth

BRUSSELS, May 13. ITAR-TASS.

NATO seeks to make maximum use of the crisis in Ukraine to prove it is still in demand, Russia’s permanent representative at NATO Alexander Grushko said on Tuesday.

“These days, NATO representatives have said many words how important it is for the alliance to waken from sleep, and, judging by the enthusiasm of the rhetoric about the emergence of a new threat in Europe, NATO is seeking to make maximum use of the Ukrainian crisis to prove that it is still needed in the current security environment,” he said. “The aim of this deliberately heightened rhetoric is simple – to reanimate the bloc, to have more funds for military needs. And this requires an enemy.”

“The base of argument is being built up to prove that Russia has some expansion plans,” he noted, adding that for these ends new threats were being invented. “Thus, one of NATO’s military chief has worded a universal formula explaining any protest movements – everything gives away the hand of Moscow.”

“At the same time, they prefer not to see the contribution our country has made to do away with the heritage of the Cold War and put an end to the arms race. If truth be said, Europe should be thankful to Russia that it can spend only one to two percent of its GDP on defence. Now, amid this campaign, taxpayers will be tapped for additional money on defence,” Grushko said.

“The alliance denies the fact that the crisis in Ukraine is an internal one and, despite all the tragic instances, keeps on speaking about a foreign interference in Ukraine’s eastern regions,” the Russian ambassador said. “I hope that now that they have seen longest queues to polling stations in Donetsk and Lugansk NATO would admit that this is civil society but not mythical ‘agent provocateurs.’ If the alliance is really interested in deescalating of the situation, as its representatives are claiming, it can also make its contribution by urging the Kiev regime to stop the punitive operation, to pull back its troops and by stopping any aid to it.

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Moscow in no rush to respond to Donetsk People’s Republic plea for accession

Russia is taking its time before reacting to Donetsk People’s Republic’s plea to consider its accession into Russia while calling for dialogue between Kiev and the eastern regions.

The Russian president’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told Kommersant newspaper Russia does not yet have a response to the plea.

Earlier on Monday the Kremlin’s press service issued a statement, saying: “Moscow respects the will of the people in Donetsk and Lugansk and hopes that the practical realization of the outcome of the referendums will be carried out in a civilized manner.”

It stressed the necessity of a “dialogue between representatives of Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk.”

On Monday, Donetsk People’s Republic proclaimed itself a sovereign state and asked Moscow to consider its accession into Russia, the Republic’s council said.

Earlier in the day, the results of referendums were announced in Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, showing the majority of voters support self-rule, amid an intensified military operation by Kiev which resulted in several deaths.

Experts on the issue have weighed in with their view on Russia’s response.

International legal expert Alexander Mercouris told RT that Moscow’s reaction was consistent with its previous policy on Ukraine.

“Moscow is following what has been its consistent policy right from the start, right from the moment when the coup took place in Kiev in February, which has been pressing for negotiations between Kiev and the actual true democratic representatives of the eastern regions in order to achieve constitutional change,” Mercouris told RT. “I do not think Moscow’s position has changed. But I think Moscow’s position may change in the future.”

International relations expert and senior lecturer at Moscow State University Mark Sleboda also told to RT that he does not view Moscow’s reaction as contradicting its previous stance.

“Moscow’s reaction to the referendum – they of course recommended that it be postponed, and they had a somewhat tepid reaction to it. But at the same time they did not completely disown it either,” Sleboda said.

People cast their ballots in a polling station during a so-called referendum in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on May 11, 2014.

“The first statement out of Moscow this morning that it looked forward to a dialogue between Donetsk, Lugansk and Kiev to resolve the situation and implement the people’s will was a very strong indication that Russia is still really trying for dialogue with Kiev,” Sleboda added.

Professor of History and Politics in Berlin Ronald Suni noted that Russia’s slow response will indeed provide room for international dialogue, which may help the situation.

Vladimir Putin and his advisors decided a few days ago that we’ve got to pull back, that we’ve got to slow things down. That all these people acting in their own interest, out of their own emotions and passions could lead to some very dangerous situations – civil war or international war,” Suni told RT.

“So, why not postpone the referendum, which of course the locals did not want to do, recognize the May 25 elections, which part of Ukraine probably won’t do, and pull troops back from the frontier, which Putin did. Even so, these actions have not led to a response, on both sides it would allow for some kind of international negotiation,” he added.

Mercouris also explained the referendum results are valid statement of opinion. “Yes, they were organized in great haste, in civil war, revolutionary conditions, but even people who are present, who are hostile to these referendums, from the Western media now accept that these are in fact representative of the powerful mass movement,” he said.

Sleboda stated that when examining Donetsk and Lugansk referendums, one must pay attention to three things. “One, the extremely large turnout, which is nearly impossible to deny. The overwhelming landslide victory – since the vote was essentially public with the glass ballot boxes and the Western journalists who served in place of international monitors, we could say, who clearly informally polled on the ground the strength of support for the independence vote.”

“And three, we have to remember that this did indeed happen under the barrel of a gun – but not the barrel of the gun of the self-defense forces, but under the barrel of the gun of this Kiev regime who was actually killing voters as they tried to vote against it on the referendum day,” he argued.

via Moscow in no rush to respond to Donetsk People’s Republic plea for accession — RT Op-Edge.

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In Lugansk, federalization supporters proclaim creation of a “people’s republic”

They demand “an amnesty for all participants in the protest movent in Ukraine’s east, recognition of the Russian language as a state one, and the holding of a referendum on matters concerning self-determination of the region”

DONETSK, April 28. ITAR-TASS.

In Lugansk, federalization supporters at a meeting on Sunday proclaimed the establishment of a “Lugansk People’s Republic”, Ukraine’s radio “Freedom” reports.

In that city, where a joint headquarters of the country’s South-East was established several days ago to coordinate the work of other headquarters in other districts, federalism supporters delivered an ultimatum to the Kiev authorities on Sunday.

In particular, the protesters demand “an amnesty for all participants in the protest movent in Ukraine’s east, recognition of the Russian language as a state one, and the holding of a referendum on matters concerning self-determination of the region”.

If their demands are not met by April 29, they promise “to move on to energetic actions”.

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Kiev military take positions in eastern Ukraine as operation starts

Members of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry walk past a MI-8 military helicopter and armored personnel carriers at a checkpoint near the town of Izium, eastern Ukraine, April 15, 2014.

The coup-imposed Ukrainian government has amassed military hardware near the eastern Ukrainian towns refusing to recognize Kiev’s rule, and rallying for the country’s federalization. Videos from the area show tanks, APCs and army helicopters.

Following the Tuesday announcement of an “anti-terrorist operation” by the coup-imposed acting president Aleksandr Turchinov, armored vehicles have been spotted moving and taking positions kilometers away from the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk, where activists seized several administration buildings with the assistance of armed self-defense volunteers.

While Slavyansk is in the Donetsk region, sightings of groups of military vehicles have been reported in the neighboring Kharkov and Lugansk regions, where pro-Russian and anti-Kiev sentiment is high.

Some 40 kilometers from Slavyansk in the Kharkov region town of Izyum, hundreds of troops with armored vehicles, including tanks and a helicopter, have been filmed by media and amateur reporters.

The force is being described as a mix of army troops, Ukrainian special forces and the so-called National Guard troops loyal to Kiev, with some reports claiming armed radical Right Sector members have also been transferred to the area. The unusual mix is explained by the fact that Ukrainian army divisions have previously refused to act on orders from Kiev to crack down on eastern Ukrainian protesters.

Late on Monday, dozens of armed Ukrainian vehicles moving in the direction of Slavyansk were filmed by locals in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Near the town of Volodarsk, a massive force was spotted on the move.

Locals opposing Kiev’s military operation have repeatedly tried to block the movement of the military, in one instance halting a tank in Rodninskoye town on Monday. The vehicle was manned by young conscripts who eventually chose to shut down the engine and negotiate with the people.

Kiev has ordered military vehicles transferred to Ukraine by Russia from Crimea, to move to eastern Ukraine to cover up for the lack of hardware, a source in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry told RIA Novosti.

 RT News

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Those who seized Donetsk prosecutor’s office may be jailed for 5-8 years

DONETSK, April 12, 13:55 UTC+4, ITAR-TASS.
Earlier a group of unknown masked young men with batons in hands broke into the building of the prosecutor’s office

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The Donetsk regional prosecutor’s office confirmed the information that its building was seized overnight.

A group of unknown masked young men with batons in hands broke into the building of the prosecutor’s office. About 40 people began to barricade entrances with furniture. After negotiations, the people left the administrative building.

A criminal case is opened on charges of mass disorders. The Criminal Code prescribes five to eight years’ imprisonment for such actions.

As was earlier reported, unknown people got into the Donetsk regional prosecutor’s office overnight, but shortly after that, law enforcers arrived on the scene and removed all from the building, local media reported.

Meanwhile, a group of unidentified people seized a district police station in Slavyansk, the Donetsk region, on Saturday, an official at the Donetsk regional police department told Itar-Tass on Saturday. “Unknown people have seized a district police station today. They were in camouflage uniform. They remain there now,” he said.

Ukrainian parliament-appointed Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has warned about “tough response actions” against those who have seized the police station.

“Armed people in camouflage uniform have seized a district police station in Slavyansk. Response will be very tough here,” Avakov said. A special police group was sent to Slavyansk, he said.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry would respond toughly to attempts to destabilize the situation, especially in the southeast of the country, the ministry said in a statement on its website on Saturday.

“The Interior Ministry will toughly respond to attempts to intentionally destabilize the situation, violation of public order and mass disorders all over Ukraine’s territory, particularly in regions, where special operations are conducted to settle the situation the Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov regions. All who will violate the law, irrespective of declared slogans and party affiliation, will be detained,” the statement reads.

The ministry warned that a “serious” article of the Ukrainian Criminal Code would be applied to organizers of protests.

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Armed men seize police department in east Ukraine: minister

(Reuters) – Armed men have seized a police department in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Saturday, the latest public building to be taken over in the east as Pro-Russian protesters stand off against Kiev.

“Armed men in camouflage uniforms seized the police department in Slaviansk. The response will be very tough because there is a difference between protesters and terrorists,” Avakov wrote on his page on Facebook.

A local police spokesman told Reuters the men had not made any demands, but did not give any details on their identity. Slaviansk is in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, about 150 km from the border with Russia.

In eastern Ukraine, government buildings in the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk have been occupied by pro-Russian protesters who want their regions to split from Kiev.

On Friday, a deadline set by the Kiev authorities for the protesters to end their occupation expired, but there was no sign of action from the Ukrainian police to force them out.

“I will say it again: those who want dialogue… will have dialogue and the search for solutions. Those who are up in arms, set fire to buildings, shoot at people, police, terrorize with bats and masks, these people will face an appropriate response,” Avakov said in his Facebook post.

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Kiev backpedals on referendums after deadline to stop protest expires

Ukraine federalization supporters carrying sand sacks for building barricades around the building of the regional administration in Donetsk on April 10, 2014.

Ukraine federalization supporters carrying sand sacks for building barricades around the building of the regional administration in Donetsk on April 10, 2014.

Just after a deadline set by Kiev for protesters in eastern Ukraine to vacate seized buildings expired, Parliament-appointed PM Arseny Yatsenyuk pledged to push through a law allowing regional referendums in the country.

Holding referendums on the status of their respective regions was among the main demands posed by anti-Maidan activists, who have taken over a number of governmental buildings in eastern Ukraine this week.

Ukrainian law currently does not allow regions to hold referendums separately from the rest of the country. It was one of the main arguments Kiev voiced in declaring illegal last month’s referendum in Crimea, which ended with the peninsula’s seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia.

Speaking in Donetsk, one of the regions engulfed by the anti-Kiev protests, Yatsenyuk said his government wants greater autonomy for Ukrainian regions, including the abolition of the offices of capital-appointed governors.

He was speaking just as a 48-hour deadline, which Kiev gave to protesters to liberate the seized buildings, expired. Previously the central authorities threatened to use force, including that of the military and even threatened their opponents as terrorists, unless they withdrew from the buildings.

Arseny Yatsenyuk

The U-turn comes after Ukraine’s elite Alpha unit reportedly refused to obey an order to besiege protester-held buildings. At a session of law enforcement officials in Donetsk, one of the Alpha commanders said that he and his men are a force intended for rescuing hostages and fighting terrorism and will only act in accordance with the law, local media reported.

The unconfirmed act of defiance comes days after the siege by police of a protesters-seized building in Kharkov, which ended with dozens of activists being arrested. On Thursday, a local police lieutenant-colonel spoke to the media, claiming that he and other officers had been deceived by the Kiev authorities. He claimed that they were sent to take over the building under the pretext that it was held by dangerous armed bandits. In fact the protesters had only improvised clubs and offered no resistance to the storming troops.

The officer, Andrey Chuikov, said he would no longer take “criminal” orders and announced his resignation from the police, adding that he would be sacked anyway by his superiors for speaking to the press.

Discontent with the new authorities in Kiev, which has been brewing in eastern and southern Ukraine for weeks, escalated on Monday, as protesters in several cities started to take over governmental buildings. Protests took place in the cities of Donetsk, Kharkov and Lugansk, while smaller protest actions and some clashes were reported in Odessa and Nikolayev.

Pro-Russian protesters hold placards during their rally outside the regional state administration building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on April 10, 2014.

Donetsk activists remain in control of the regional administration building and have built three lines of barricades to defend themselves from a possible siege. They have declared the Donetsk region, which is home to about one-tenth of the population of Ukraine, a “people’s republic” and have demanded a referendum on its future status. They also declared forming a “people’s army” in response to threats from violence form Kiev.

Negotiations between the activists and the Kiev-appointed authorities of the region were held on Thursday and into Friday morning. They are trying to hammer out a deal to deescalate the tension, which includes some sort of joint patrols formed by police and the activists of Donetsk and a possible relocation of the protesters to a nearby building.

In Lugansk, activists are maintaining their hold on a Ukrainian Security Service office. They also cordoned off a base of the Interior Ministry’s troops on Thursday night, saying this would prevent their deployment for a crackdown on the protest, although later the blockade was lifted.

Meanwhile, in Kharkov, where police on Tuesday captured a regional administration building and took more than 50 activists into custody, the protests do not seem to be calming down. On Thursday evening several hundred people picketed the building, despite a court ban on doing so. A mass protest rally is scheduled for Sunday.

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