You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

World

  • EU inches toward new sanctions on Russia
    BRUSSELS – The European Union on Saturday warned that the apparent incursion of Russian troops on Ukrainian soil pushes the conflict closer to a point of no return, with new economic sanctions being drawn up to make Moscow reconsider its
  • Pro-Russia rebels confident after making gains
    STAROBESHEVE, Ukraine – As the survivor of a tank attack on a Ukrainian army truck was being carried into an ambulance, he was showered with verbal abuse by a rebel fighter.
  • Gulf meeting ends without clear end to Qatar spat
    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – A meeting of Gulf foreign ministers ended on Saturday without a clear way out of a monthslong diplomatic spat with Qatar, although some envoys signaled that progress had been made.
Advertisement
Associated Press
Smoke rises from an explosion near a children’s hospital after shelling from Ukrainian government forces in Slovyansk on Thursday.

Russia massing near Ukraine border

– Russia is resuming its military buildup along the Ukrainian border in an apparent attempt to intimidate its neighbor, NATO’s chief said Thursday as Ukrainian government forces unleashed a major offensive against pro-Moscow insurgents.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, voicing strong concern about the Ukrainian military onslaught. Putin said he expects Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to immediately launch his plan to end the violence, the Kremlin said.

Putin and Poroshenko then discussed details of the peace plan in a phone call – their second conversation this week. Poroshenko’s office said he emphasized the need for introducing effective border controls and quickly releasing hostages.

Russia has denied Ukrainian and Western allegations that it is fomenting the rebellion by sending troops and weapons into Ukraine.

Last month, in an apparent attempt to ease tensions in Ukraine, Putin pulled back many of the estimated 40,000 Russian troops massed along the border. But Thursday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Russia had sent a few thousand additional troops to the border, calling it “a very regrettable step backward.”

“If they’re deployed to seal the border and stop the flow of weapons and fighters, that would be a positive step. But that’s not what we’re seeing,” Rasmussen said in London. The Russian Defense Ministry refused to comment.

The allegations came as heavy fighting raged near Krasnyi Liman in the Donetsk region, which has been the epicenter of violence over the past two months. Vladislav Seleznev, a spokesman for Ukrainian forces in the east, described the area as a strategic supply corridor for the rebels.

He said in a statement on Facebook that four government troops were killed and 20 wounded in the fighting Thursday, and that up to 200 rebels were killed and hundreds wounded. The claim could not be independently confirmed.

Rebel chief Igor Strelkov said in a statement on YouTube that his men were far outnumbered and outgunned and would probably be forced to retreat.

Clad in combat fatigues, he bitterly scolded the Kremlin for failing to help the rebellion and issued a desperate plea to send in troops.

“I hope that they have enough conscience left in Moscow to take some measures,” he said.

There was no immediate response from the Kremlin, which has ignored previous pleas for help from the insurgents.

Poroshenko on Wednesday promised to call a unilateral cease-fire to give the rebels a chance to lay down their weapons and leave the country. He is expected to outline details of the plan today.

Advertisement