KIEV, July 22 Ukraine's parliament approved a
presidential decree on Tuesday to call up more military reserves
and men under 50 to fight rebels in eastern Ukraine and defend
the border against a concentration of troops in Russia.
Some 45 days after the latest call-up of additional
reserves, which has now expired, Kiev repeated the decree to
"declare and conduct partial mobilisation" to ensure the ranks
of what Ukraine calls its "anti-terrorist operation" are filled.
After the vote, brief scuffles broke out between
nationalist politicians and members of the party that was led by
the former president, Viktor Yanukovich, who was overthrown in
Ukrainian troops have forced pro-Russian rebels back to
their two main strongholds, the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk,
slowly taking villages and city suburbs around them.
The army is under orders not to use air strikes and
artillery in the cities, complicating operations to restore
control despite Kiev's accusations that the rebels were
responsible for the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner. The
separatists deny the accusations.
"Russia continues its policy of escalating its armed
confrontation," Ukraine's top security official, Andriy Paruby,
told parliament before 232 deputies in the 450-seat parliament
voted in favour of the decree.
Reiterating accusations levelled by Ukrainian officials
against Moscow, he said: "Over the last week, close to the
Ukrainian border, there has been a regrouping and build-up of
forces of the Russian Federation."
Paruby put the numbers close to the border at 41,000 and
said they were equipped with 150 tanks, 400 armoured vehicles
and 500 other weapon systems.
He said some of the new Ukrainian recruits would join or
support combat units and some of the others would support units
to help defend the border.
Russia withdrew most of the 40,000 troops it had close to
the border earlier this year, reducing them to fewer than 1,000
by mid-June. But since then, it has been building up its forces
again, a NATO military officer said this month.
Paruby accused Russia of continuing to supply the rebels,
who say they are fighting to win independence from Kiev for the
Donbass coal mining region.
"Such actions are classified as aggression against our
state," he said, adding that the .
Moscow denies supplying the rebels.
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets, writing by Elizabeth Piper)