Ukraine, rebels and Russia

This item appears on page 18 of the August 2014 issue.
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In eastern Ukraine, violent clashes between government forces and mostly ethnic Russian separatists escalated in June.

Ukraine’s interior minister reported that on June 12, three Russian tanks and a number of armored vehicles entered eastern Ukraine through a checkpoint in Luhansk controlled by the rebels. Ukrainian tanks reportedly clashed with two of the tanks in the town of Horlivka. The Russian foreign ministry said reports of the tanks were “inventive” and a “fake piece of information.”

Ukrainian forces retook the southeastern port city of Mariupol from separatists on June 13. On June 14, a Ukrainian military transport plane was shot down by antiaircraft fire on its approach to Luhansk. All 49 people on board were killed.

Rebels in eastern Ukraine agreed to a 10-day cease-fire called by Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko but refused to disarm. Before the cease-fire ended on June 30, rebels shot down a helicopter near the rebel-held city of Sloviansk, killing all nine on board.

The Russian parliament, on June 26, complied with president Vladimir Putin’s request to cancel a resolution he had requested that would have authorized military intervention in Ukraine.

Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova signed EU trade pacts on June 27. It was former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign such a pact that inspired protests in Kiev in November 2013, which eventually led to his impeachment by the Ukrainian parliament on Feb. 23, 2014. Within days of the impeachment, Russian armed forces, stating that they wanted to protect Russian nationals, entered the Crimean Peninsula, effectively annexing it for Russia. 

On July 5, Ukrainian miliary retook Sloviansk, a key rebel stronghold. Armed separatist groups continue to control areas in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. They have established illegal checkpoints and have threatened, detained or kidnapped individuals, including US citizens, for hours or days. Widespread disorder and looting has been reported.

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In eastern Ukraine, violent clashes between government forces and mostly ethnic Russian separatists escalated in June.

Ukraine’s interior minister reported that on June 12, three Russian tanks and a number of armored vehicles entered eastern Ukraine through a checkpoint in Luhansk controlled by the rebels. Ukrainian tanks reportedly clashed with two of the tanks in the town of Horlivka. The Russian foreign ministry said reports of the tanks were “inventive” and a “fake piece of information.”

Ukrainian forces retook the southeastern port city of Mariupol from separatists on June 13. On June 14, a Ukrainian military transport plane was shot down by antiaircraft fire on its approach to Luhansk. All 49 people on board were killed.

Rebels in eastern Ukraine agreed to a 10-day cease-fire called by Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko but refused to disarm. Before the cease-fire ended on June 30, rebels shot down a helicopter near the rebel-held city of Sloviansk, killing all nine on board.

The Russian parliament, on June 26, complied with president Vladimir Putin’s request to cancel a resolution he had requested that would have authorized military intervention in Ukraine.

Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova signed EU trade pacts on June 27. It was former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign such a pact that inspired protests in Kiev in November 2013, which eventually led to his impeachment by the Ukrainian parliament on Feb. 23, 2014. Within days of the impeachment, Russian armed forces, stating that they wanted to protect Russian nationals, entered the Crimean Peninsula, effectively annexing it for Russia. 

On July 5, Ukrainian miliary retook Sloviansk, a key rebel stronghold. Armed separatist groups continue to control areas in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. They have established illegal checkpoints and have threatened, detained or kidnapped individuals, including US citizens, for hours or days. Widespread disorder and looting has been reported.