Ukrainian forces, rebels clash near Russian border

KIEV Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:23am EDT

A pro-Russian separatist looks on from an amphibious vehicle near a road check point outside the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk June 8, 2014.  REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

A pro-Russian separatist looks on from an amphibious vehicle near a road check point outside the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk June 8, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov

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KIEV (Reuters) - About 30 Ukrainian servicemen were wounded in fighting with pro-Russian separatists near Ukraine's eastern border with Russia early on Tuesday, the border guard service said.

It said separatist fighters had fired mortar bombs on government forces and border guards during the night near the city of Luhansk. It gave no details of any casualties among the rebels, who oppose central rule by Kiev's pro-Western leaders.

The separatists say government forces have been shelling their positions this week, including around the city of Slaviansk, scene of some of the heaviest fighting since the uprising began in the Russian-speaking east in April.

President Petro Poroshenko has ordered government forces to retake control of the border from the rebels after Kiev and the United States accused Russia of sending fighters and weapons, including tanks, across the frontier. Moscow denies this.

Poroshenko said on Monday that government forces had already re-established control of a more than 250-km (156-mile) stretch of the almost 2,000-km (1,240-mile) land border with Russia.

Kiev says 125 Ukrainian serviceman have been killed since the start of a military operation to defeat the separatists in May. Scores of separatist fighters have also been killed in fighting, as well as an unknown number of civilians.

The crisis in Ukraine erupted late last year when protesters took to the streets against a president sympathetic to Moscow. He was overthrown in February, Russia annexed the Crimea region in March and the uprising in the east began in April.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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Comments (16)
ADVOCATUS wrote:
If only the American people come to realize what their government has done in Ukraine and Syria in their name, they would be livid. The Sunni Jihadist (ISIL) now in Iraq are the very terrorists the U.S. financed, heavily armed and militarily supported. The U.K. government, Al Jazeera, BBC, Sky News, ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC are all equally guilty of conspiratorially distorting and blacking out news and covering up Ukrainian militants and anti Assad terrorists brutal slaughter of civilians in Eastern Ukraine, Syria and Iraq.

Jun 17, 2014 7:51am EDT  --  Report as abuse
JackHerer wrote:
The comments section are still awash with ignorance I see.

For those woefully ignorant of the facts:

The moderate rebels in Syria are actively fighting ISIS, and have been for some time.

Meanwhile Assad has been releasing the worst extremists in amnesties, whilst keeping the moderates locked up to torture and murder. Assad’s regime has also being buying oil from ISIS, from the oil fields they control in Eastern Syria. Assad’s forces, mysteriously, don’t bother engaging ISIS either. They instead target the moderates (and civilians of course). ISIS, equally mysterious, would rather engage with the moderates rather than Assad’s forces. Assad also funded the extremists when they were fighting the US and UK forces when they were in Iraq.

None of this is a secret.

The reason is simple of course; extremism suits Assad. It is his constant excuse for the sick and brutal actions of his forces. Putin uses the same excuse on a world stage to protect and arm Assad.

The West has never funded ISIS. They have instead helped the only people who actively fight ISIS – which is the moderates in Syria.

Those who suggest that the West have actively helped ISIS are either laughably ignorant or shamefully corrupt.

Unsurprisingly, it is the same people who claim black is white in Ukraine too. The claim that no Russian troops were in Crimea for instance, when the truth was very clearly the opposite.

Jun 17, 2014 8:55am EDT  --  Report as abuse
CanRus wrote:
It’s interesting that nearly all of these “rebel” attacks on Ukrainian forces are on or near the Russian border. Now why would they want to keep the border with Russia open, since the Kremlin (including Putin personally) has many times denied that they’re supporting the separatists in any way? I don’t get it – just doesn’t make sense.

Jun 17, 2014 9:19am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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