Friday

23rd Aug 2019

Russian forces try to capture Ukrainian town

  • Ukrainian artillery gun-sight, poised to fire on Russian positions (Photo: Christopher Bobyn)

International monitors say pro-Russian forces launched a major attack in east Ukraine on the eve of the G7 summit in Germany.

The monitors, from the Vienna-based OSCE, said fighting erupted near the town of Marinka in the small hours of Wednesday morning (3 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

They say it was preceded by “movement of a large amount of heavy weapons in ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’-controlled [Russia-occupied] areas generally in a westerly direction towards the contact line”.

The columns included Russian T64 tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

Monitors later reported hundreds of salvos of rockets, heavy artillery, and mortar fire from Russian-occupied positions.

Ukraine returned artillery fire, with reports indicating that dozens of fighters died on both sides before “calm” returned on Wednesday afternoon.

For its part, Ukraine says the attempt to capture Marinka involved more than 1,000 pro-Russian ground troops.

It informed the OSCE “heavy weapons would be placed on the contact line in order to deal with the ‘real threat’,” the town could fall.

The OSCE said pro-Russian rebel commanders “were unavailable or did not wish to speak”.

The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, and a pro-Russian rebel commander, Vladimir Kononov, later told Russian state media the fighting was prompted by Ukrainian “provocations”.

They said Ukrainian shelling injured 60 civilians in Donetsk, some of whom are “without arms and legs”. But OSCE monitors aren’t being let in to verify the claims.

The flare-up saw Ukrainian leaders and the US State Department renew talk of Russia sanctions.

Ukrainian PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk said: “The international community must come up with a correct and appropriate response to Russian aggression”.

Marie Harf, a US spokeswoman, said: “Russia bears direct responsibility for preventing these attacks … any attempts to seize additional Ukrainian territory will be met with increased costs”.

She noted the Marinka assault was launched by “combined Russian-separatist forces”.

She said Ukraine is also guilty of a “very small minority” of ceasefire violations.

But she added: “The Ukrainians have a right to defend themselves when Russia sends into their territory heavy weapons, tanks, fighters … [also] across the ceasefire line”.

The Marinka attack came ahead of a meeting of G7 leaders in Germany at the weekend.

It also came two weeks before an EU summit which will decide whether to cancel, extend, or expand Russia economic sanctions.

The EU foreign service was unavailable to comment on Thursday morning.

The G7 nations - Canada, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, the UK, and the US - used to meet in a G8 format with Russia.

But Russia was excluded after its annexation of Crimea last year.

Opinion

Ukraine: holding its ground

Ukraine needs money and arms to hold its ground against Russian aggression. But EU or no EU, it will come out of the war stronger.

News in Brief

  1. Ocean Viking to disembark in Malta after ordeal
  2. Germany joins France in world outcry on Brazil fires
  3. British people lose faith in Brexit deal
  4. Brexit hardliners want further changes to EU deal
  5. German manufacturers confirm fear of recession
  6. Belgian socialists and liberals scrap over EU post
  7. Fall in EU migration leading to UK skills shortages
  8. Switzerland makes post-Brexit flight preparations

Opinion

Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Spain heading for yet another general election
  2. EU to discuss Brazil beef ban over Amazon fires
  3. 'Our house is burning,' Macron says on Amazon fires
  4. What happens when trafficking survivors get home
  5. EU states and Russia clash on truth of WW2 pact
  6. EU considers new rules on facial recognition
  7. EU to pledge Africa security funds at G7 summit
  8. Letter from the EESC on per diem article

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us