The browser or device you are using is out of date. It has known security flaws and a limited feature set. You will not see all the features of some websites. Please update your browser. A list of the most popular browsers can be found below.
At least 11 Ukrainian troops were killed and about 30 others were wounded Thursday when pro-Russian insurgents attacked a military checkpoint, the deadliest raid in the weeks of fighting in eastern Ukraine.
AP journalists saw 11 bodies scattered around the checkpoint on the edge of the village of Blahodatne, near the town of Volnovakha in the Donetsk region. Witnesses said that more than 30 Ukrainian troops were wounded when the insurgents attacked the checkpoint, and some of them were in grave condition.
Three charred Ukrainian armored infantry vehicles, their turrets blown away by powerful explosions, and several burned trucks stood at the site of the combat.
In the town of Horlivka, a group of rebels claimed responsibility for the raid and produced an array of weapons they said they had seized. Their claims couldn't be independently confirmed.
A military helicopter landed on the site, carrying officials who inspected the area. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry confirmed the attack, but wouldn't comment on casualties.
Scores have been killed in fighting between pro-Russian insurgents, who have seized government buildings and engaged in clashes with government troops in eastern Ukraine.
Thursday's carnage cast a shadow over Ukraine's presidential vote on Sunday, which insurgents in the east have pledged to derail. The authorities in Kiev see the vote as a chance to defuse tensions and stabilize the country, although they admitted that it will be impossible to stage the vote in some areas in the east, where election officials and voters have faced intimidation and threats from the rebels.
Many in the east resent the government in Kiev, which came to power after the ouster of a pro-Russian president in February following mass of protests, seeing it as a bunch of nationalists bent on repressing Russian speakers. But many local residents have grown increasingly exasperated with the rebels, whom they blamed for putting civilians in the crossfire.
In the village of Semenovka on the outskirts of Slovyansk, artillery shelling that appeared to come from government positions badly damaged several houses Thursday.
Seventeen law enforcement officers were killed from gunshot wounds on Feb. 18-21 amid the violence of the EuroMaidan Revolution, a committee led by lawmaker Hennadiy Moskal said on May 21. The committee examined events from Nov. 30 to Feb. 22, when Viktor Yanukovych fled the presidency and the country, ending up in Russia as a fugitive.
“During this period, 1,127 militia officers received injuries of various severity,” Moska, the former deputy head of the Interior Ministry and Security Service of Ukraine said, accourding to Ukrainska Pravda.
Aside from the 17 law enforcement deaths, more than 100 civilian protesters were also killed from Feb. 18-21.
The deaths weren’t properly investigated at the time, the Batkivshchyna lawmaker said, with the bullets extracted from the bodies were left in hospitals. The ad hoc committee also concluded that the three opposition parties during that time -- Batkivshchyna, Svoboda and Vitali Klitscho's Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform -- didn’t have armed forces on EuroMaidan.
Pro-Russia separatists have been doing it for weeks already: arresting journalists they deem unsympathetic to their cause and locking them up to stop them from doing their jobs.
Several Ukrainian and foreign journalists — including VICE News' own Simon Ostrovsky — have been detained or beaten by the separatist militias that have taken over many cities in eastern Ukraine.
But on Sunday, it was the Ukrainian military doing the detaining, as it arrested two reporters with Russian TV channel LifeNews at a checkpoint near the city of Kramatorsk. On Tuesday, Graham Phillips, a British freelancer who had been stringing from Ukraine for the Russian government's RT network was also held.
Ahead of Phillips' arrest, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) condemned the detention of journalists by both parties in the escalating conflict.
“Journalists covering the Ukraine crisis are convenient targets of the conflicting sides. I reiterate my call to all sides to stop intimidating and threatening members of the media and to let them do their jobs,” OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic said in a statement on Monday. “Journalists must be free to do their job without fear for their safety. In times of conflict the plurality of voices and opinions are needed more than ever in order for the citizens to be informed.”
Vladislav Seleznyov, a Ukrainian military spokesman, didn't confirm or deny Phillips' detention to VICE News.
Two associates of President Vladimir Putin profited from a state scheme to buy expensive medical equipment - and sent money to Swiss bank accounts linked to a property known as “Putin’s palace”
MOSCOW - In 2005, President Vladimir Putin personally ordered up a vast programme to improve Russia’s poor healthcare facilities. Five years later, authorities found that suppliers were charging some hospitals two or even three times too much for vital gear such as high-tech medical scanners.
Dmitry Medvedev, serving as Putin’s hand-picked successor at the time, went on national television to denounce the alleged scam. The perpetrators, he said, had engaged in “absolutely cynical, loutish theft of state money.” Medvedev instructed Russia’s top law enforcement agencies to make sure that “everyone who participated in this is seriously and sternly punished.”
Suspects were rounded up in far-flung places, and in 2012 the police ministry said 104 people had been charged in connection with overpriced scanners. Several local officials and business executives were convicted of fraud and sent to prison.
But a Reuters investigation has found that two wealthy associates of Putin engaged in the same profiteering and suffered no penalty.
They sold medical equipment for at least $195 million to Russia and sent a total of $84 million in proceeds to Swiss bank accounts, according to bank records reviewed by Reuters. The records also indicate that at least 35 million euros ($48 million) from those accounts were funnelled to a company that then helped construct a luxury property near the Black Sea known as “Putin’s palace” - a nickname earned after abusinessman alleged that the estate was built for Putin. The Russian leader has denied any connection to the property.
These findings are part of a Reuters investigation into how associates of the Kremlin profit from state contracts in the Putin era. This and a later article examine what became of the president’s grand hospital undertaking. Another story, drawing on a confidential database of Russian bank records, will explore billions of dollars in spending on state railway contracts.
The wealth of Putin’s comrades has come under global scrutiny amid sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe on the president’s associates over the crisis in Ukraine.
Russia has been renowned for graft since the Soviet Union fell a generation ago. Under the first post-Soviet leader, Boris Yeltsin, “oligarchs” gained control of state-owned industries and grew fabulously wealthy. Those wild days are long over.
FACT SHEET: Overview of NATO and Bilateral Reassurance Measures in Romania
As a result of Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of Ukrainian territory, the United States has taken several immediate steps to demonstrate our continued commitment to Article 5 collective defense and reassure our NATO allies, including Romania, who are closest to the crisis. The United States and NATO are committed to maintaining an augmented, persistent forward presence in Central and Eastern Europe through at least the end of 2014.
New U.S. Measures:
· Maritime Deployments to the Black Sea: In early April, the United States deployed the USS Donald Cook to the Black Sea where the Cook conducted operations to improve interoperability, increase readiness, and develop professional relationships with Allies. The Cook conducted presence operations and a port visit in Constanta, Romania, as well as a passing exercise (PASSEX) with the Romanian Navy.
· In late April, the USS Taylor, a frigate and our contribution to the Standing NATO Maritime Group, was deployed to the Black Sea where Taylor conducted bilateral operations with Romania and Georgia, including port visits to both countries.
· The USS Vella Gulf will soon enter the Black Sea to conduct port visits and combined maritime training with Allied naval forces.
· Air-to-Air Refueling Missions: Since mid-March, the United States has been flying refueling missions in support of NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS) flights over Poland and Romania.
·NATO Response Force (NRF): The Department of Defense is exploring options for increasing the readiness of its U.S.-based, NRF-committed Brigade Combat Team.
Enhancements to Previously Planned U.S. Operations:
·USS Truxtun: The USS Truxtun entered the Black Sea through the Turkish Straits on March 7 to conduct a port call in Constanta, Romania and a PASSEX with Romanian and Bulgarian naval forces. Truxtun extended its stay in the Black Sea until March 21 to conduct a port visit in Varna, Bulgaria, hold an onboard maritime planning conference with Bulgarian and Romanian officers, and conduct a second PASSEX.
U.S. Ongoing/Steady State Measures:
· There are approximately 1,000 U.S. troops in Romania, including Marines, sailors, airmen and soldiers.
oBlack Sea Rotational Forces (BSRF): This force, based out of Mihail Kogalniceanu (MK) Air Base, Romania, includes 250 Marines and sailors tasked with maintaining positive relations with partner nations; enhancing regional stability; and increasing interoperability while providing the capability for rapid crisis response in the Black Sea, Balkan, and Caucasus regions. In May, BSRF personnel are participating in exercise PLATINUM LYNX; infantry field training with the Romanian military to enhance familiarity and interoperability between U.S. and Romanian forces.
oNearly 500 of these U.S. troops are permanently stationed at MK Air Base conducting transit center operations.
o175 U.S. Marines will be temporarily based out of MK Air Base as part of the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF). The SPMAGTF is postured to respond to a broad range of military operations in the EUCOM/AFRICOM region, including: fixed-site security, non-combatant evacuation operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, theater security cooperation, and other missions as directed.
o Currently, more than 80 U.S. Airmen are currently participating in Exercise Carpathian Spring in Romania. The exercise runs from April 12th to 21st and is designed for aircrew to receive upgrade training and build partnership capacity with the Romanians.
·European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA): The United States’ contribution to European missile defense includes plans for four Aegis destroyers to be home ported in Rota, Spain (USS Cook recently arrived) and two planned Aegis Ashore sites; one in Romania (2015) and one Poland (2018). The Romania Aegis Ashore site is critical to NATO missile defense and is the fundamental infrastructure for Phase 2 of the EPAA. It will consist of a radar with 360-degree coverage, vertical launch tubes with SM-3 Block IB missile defense interceptors, and the associated command and control systems to integrate the radar and the interceptors. The interceptors could be launched from the site in Romania to defend NATO in the case of a missile attack from the Middle East. The groundbreaking at the Romania site was completed in 2013, and the site is firmly on budget and on schedule to be operational by the end of 2015.
·U.S. Force Presence in Europe: There are approximately 67,000 service members in Europe. Approximately 57,000 active duty service members are assigned to U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and approximately 10,000 support other organizations, such as U.S. Africa Command.
·NATO Response Force (NRF) Commitment: The United States previously pledged several thousand service members to the NATO Response Force including a brigade combat team from the Texas-based 1st Cavalry Division, a hospital ship, air-to-air refueling tankers, and escort ships.
· Army Rotational Forces: The United States will send a battalion-sized unit from the United States to Europe twice a year for up to two months per rotation. In May, the unit will participate in a USEUCOM-hosted multinational exercise, COMBINED RESOLVE II. The exercise, which includes Romanian participation, will take place in Germany.
Today the State Department, in concert with the Treasury Department, submitted to Congress a list of persons who have been sanctioned under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act. The Act allows for the designation of individuals responsible for Magnitsky’s detention, abuse, and death. It also allows for the designation of those who profited from Magnitsky’s detention, abuse and death, who helped cover up the legal liability for it, or who were involved in the criminal conspiracy that Magnitsky sought to bring to light. Additionally, the Act allows us to designate those responsible for gross human rights violations against individuals seeking to expose illegal activity by Russian officials, or seeking to obtain, exercise, defend, or promote internationally recognized human rights and freedoms in Russia.
Persons on this list are ineligible to receive visas and to be admitted into the United States. Their property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and transactions in such property or interests in property are prohibited. The names may be found at the following link: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20140520.aspx
ALISOV, Igor Borisovich; DOB 11 Mar 1968 (individual) [MAGNIT].
GAUS, Alexandra Viktorovna (a.k.a. GAUSS, Alexandra); DOB 29 Mar 1975 (individual) [MAGNIT].
KHLEBNIKOV, Vyacheslav Georgievich (a.k.a. KHLEBNIKOV, Viacheslav); DOB 09 Jul 1967 (individual) [MAGNIT].
KLYUEV, Dmitry Vladislavovich (a.k.a. KLYUYEV, Dmitriy); DOB 10 Aug 1967 (individual) [MAGNIT].
KRATOV, Dmitry Borisovich; DOB 16 Jul 1964 (individual) [MAGNIT].
KRECHETOV, Andrei Alexandrovich; DOB 22 Sep 1981 (individual) [MAGNIT].
LITVINOVA, Larisa Anatolievna; DOB 18 Nov 1963 (individual) [MAGNIT].
MARKELOV, Viktor Aleksandrovich; DOB 15 Dec 1967; POB Leninskoye village, Uzgenskiy District, Oshkaya region of the Kirghiz SSR (individual) [MAGNIT].
STEPANOV, Vladlen Yurievich; DOB 17 Jul 1962 (individual) [MAGNIT].
SUGAIPOV, Umar; DOB 17 Apr 1966; POB Chechen Republic, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].
TAGIYEV, Fikret (a.k.a. TAGIEV, Fikhret Gabdulla Ogly; a.k.a. TAGIYEV, Fikhret); DOB 03 Apr 1962 (individual) [MAGNIT].
VAKHAYEV, Musa; DOB 1964; POB Urus-Martan, Chechen Republic, Russia (individual) [MAGNIT].
Readout of the Secretary-General's meeting with H.E. Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation
Shanghai, China, 20 May 2014
The Secretary-General met today in Shanghai with H.E. Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, on the margins of the Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia. They exchanged views on how to address current challenges to international peace and security, in particular the situations in Ukraine and Syria.
On Ukraine, the Secretary-General and President Putin agreed that the crisis can only be resolved politically and through an inclusive political dialogue. The Secretary-General noted that the forthcoming presidential elections are an opportunity to move forward towards long-term peace and stability in the country.
On Syria, the Secretary-General and President Putin discussed opportunities for a long-overdue political solution and the urgent need to alleviate the dire humanitarian situation of millions of refugees and internally displaced persons.
Noting the imperative for a legal agreement on climate change by the end of next year, the Secretary-General reiterated his invitation to world leaders to attend the September 2014 Climate Summit in New York.
The Secretary-General offered condolences for today’s train accident in Russia and wished those injured a speedy recovery.
China and Russia failed to sign a $400 billion gas supply agreement on Tuesday, despite growing urgency for the Kremlin to seal a deal as it faces economic and political isolation in the West over the crisis in Ukraine.
Negotiators from both countries have been unable to bridge differences on price, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Shanghai, meaning that the contract was not signed on Tuesday as many in the industry had predicted.
But there is still a chance that the two sides could agree before Putin leaves China on Wednesday, or, more likely, in time for an economic forum in the Russian city of St. Petersburg later this week.
Despite disappointment so far over an energy deal seen as vital to both countries' long-term economic interests, Putin did receive a rare nod of support from Chinese President Xi Jinping over the Ukraine crisis.
In a statement issued after the two leaders met, Russia and China called for the de-escalation of tensions in Ukraine and for "peaceful, political ways to resolve existing problems." The countries also referred to the crisis as "domestic".
Across much of the rest of the world, Putin stands accused of fomenting pro-Russian sentiment in neighboring Ukraine, which has already lost the peninsula of Crimea after it was annexed by Moscow.
In more recent conciliatory steps, Putin ordered Russian forces massed on the Ukraine border to return to bases and welcomed what the Kremlin called initial contacts between the Ukraine government and those calling for more power for largely Russian-speaking regions in the east.
China's Xi has underscored the importance of ties with Russia, and Moscow was the first capital he visited after assuming the presidency last year. Xi also attended the Winter Olympics in Sochi at Putin's invitation.
While observing a joint naval exercise conducted outside of Shanghai, Xi and Putin said the two neighbors would cooperate to maintain stability in the region.
But, while the two see eye-to-eye on many diplomatic issues including the conflict in Syria, and generally vote as one on the United Nations Security Council, China has been less willing to support Russia openly on Ukraine.