#AceNewsServices – UKRAINE – FRIDAY – May 30 – SNAPSHOT NEWS – Kiev’s Bloody Campaign Continues.
Ammunition was seen still lying on the ground after fighting in Aleksandrovka, Lugansk region, on Thursday.
The UN will publish its next human rights report on June 17. The paper will highlight the Odessa Trade Unions House fire, in which 48 anti-Kiev protestors died on May 2, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said during a briefing. The deadly fire in Odessa will also be the subject of another report that will be presented by Ivan Shimonovich, assistant to the UN’s secretary general, at the end of June. Dujarric stressed that the UN is staying in contact with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) because “if a chemical weapon was used, this is the main business for OPCW.”
A criminal case, on the use of prohibited means and methods of warfare in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions by the Ukrainian military, has been opened by Russia’s Investigative Committee.
The proceedings have been launched against as “yet unidentified servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as well as members of the National Guard and Right Sector movement with regard to the shelling of Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, Donetsk, Mariupol and other settlements in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics,” Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Committee, told ITAR-TASS news agency.
Markin says the investigation believes Kiev violated the convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, signed in Geneva in 1949, by intentionally using weapons, artillery and aviation to kill civilians.
Russia has withdrawn the bulk of its troops from the Ukrainian border, though seven battalions, numbering in the thousands, remain in position, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Friday.
“The majority have gone,” Reuters cites him as telling reporters on the eve of a security conference in Singapore. “But seven battalions remain.” The official said he had no figure for the number of troops that had withdrawn. “But … thousands still remain,” he said.
Hagel called the withdrawal a promising sign, but said all troops positioned near the Ukrainian border earlier this year need to be pulled back.
The Interior Ministry of Ukraine has asked the self-declared People’s Republic of Lugansk to enter into negotiations, “the people’s governor” Valery Bolotov said on Friday, Ria Novosti reports. Bolotov replied he was only prepared to enter talks on condition that all Ukrainian military forces leave the Luhansk region. He added that in the event of talks, a third party should be invited to the negotiating table.
“Most likely, it will be Russia,” he said.
— Bystrova Natali (@BystrovaNatali) May 30, 2014
Seven children were hurt as the Ukrainian military shelled the city of Slavyansk, a stronghold of the protesters, in the country’s South East on Friday night, Pavel Astakhov, Russia’s ombudsman for children’s rights, said.
A local children’s hospital came under fire as Kiev’s troops renewed the shelling of Slavyansk on Friday morning
Ukraine claimed it had regained control of swathes of the separatist east on Friday even as Washington expressed concern over the appearance of fighters from Russia’s war-ravaged region of Chechnya among the insurgents.
The rebels for their part dismissed speculation of a rift in their ranks after a dozen local militants were evicted from their seat of power in Donetsk by a military brigade comprised largely of Chechens and other Russians from the volatile North Caucasus.
Both Kiev and its Western allies have long accused the Kremlin of choreographing a seven-week insurgency that has shaken Ukraine’s foundations — a charge that Russian President Vladimir Putin denies.
But the recent appearance among the separatists of trained gunmen from Chechnya — a mostly Muslim region that fell under Kremlin control following two post-Soviet wars for independence — has fuelled fears of the conflict being transformed into a proxy war involving elements from other unstable regions of the former Soviet Union.
Ukraine’s acting defence minister said his forces were in high spirits despite the downing of a military helicopter on Thursday by the rebels that killed 11 soldiers and a general.
Ukraine’s President-elect Petro Poroshenko has vowed to punish the “bandits” who shot down a military helicopter as the government’s efforts to rein in pro-Russia separatists continue.
“The deaths of the military troops in Slovyansk are pain our whole nation is feeling,” Poroshenko posted on his Facebook page late Thursday.While mourning with rest of the Ukraine, I give my condolences to the families and loved ones of the fallen heroes. Crimes of the bandits will not be left unpunished.”
Militants in the rebel stronghold of Slovyansk, in the Donetsk region, claimed responsibility for downing the helicopter, a spokesman for the separatists said. A dozen servicemen died, authorities said, including a general.
One more group of members of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) has been detained in the city of Severodonetsk, 100km from Lugansk in eastern Ukraine, the OSCE mission reports on its Facebook page. The group, which included 4 international members plus an interpreter, was stopped by armed personnel, says OSCE. Contact was lost with the group on Thursday.
The OSCE said that it still has no contact with the previous team in Donetsk, another eastern city in the Donetsk region. The last news from the group, which also included four international observers, was on Monday.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Donetsk’s self-appointed mayor, Vyacheslav Ponomarev, said that anti-government militias in Slavyansk are holding the four observers in Donetsk.
He added that the observers are fine and will be released soon after the protesters sort out who they are and why they arrived in Donetsk. He implied that the OSCE people could have been gathering intelligence on the militia.
The military operation in eastern Ukraine will continue until the region “can live and function normally and the people are calm,” acting Defence Minister Mikhail Koval stated on Friday.
The Federal Security Service (FSB) has arrested a four-member cell of the Right Sector nationalist movement, which was preparing terrorist acts in Crimea, the FSB said in a statement.
The members of the cell planned to set fire to offices of local pro-Russian organizations in Crimea’s capital, Simferopol, in mid-April and then to use IEDs to damage a World War II memorial and a Vladimir Lenin monument on the eve of Victory Day on May 9, the FSB stated.
The four activists will be charged with terrorism and illegal possession of firearms and explosives, the statement said.
The Ukrainian military is taking over train stations around Dnepropetrovsk region, Segodnya.ua quoted officials as saying. The decision was made in light of self-defence forces taking over the rail-roads. The military will have the authority to stop and search passenger trains.
Thursday May 29:
Russia on Thursday called on the West to prevent ‘a national disaster’ in Ukraine and urged Kiev to order a ceasefire as further deadly violence erupted in the country’s east, killing 12 soldiers.
“We once again call on our Western partners to use all their influence on Kiev to stop Ukraine from descending into a national disaster,” the ministry said in a statement.
“The international community awaits from Kiev an immediate ceasing of military activities in the east of the country and the withdrawal of troops. Without that, achieving peace in Ukraine is impossible.”
Russia expressed its “deep concern over the further escalation of the situation in eastern Ukraine”.
It accused the Kiev authorities of bombarding cities and civilian targets using aircraft and artillery in a military operation that “brings pain and suffering to peaceful citizens”.
“Among those injured are elderly people and young children,” it said.
RT News – RIA Novosti – Moscow Times – UNIAN