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  • Russia will remain reliable energy supplier to Europe -Kremlin spokesman:

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Russia is and will be a reliable supplier of natural gas to Europe, in response to warnings from Kiev that Moscow could cut off fuel to the continent this winter.

    "Russia was, is and will be a reliable supplier of energy resources to Europe," Peskov told journalists.

    "We hope that Ukraine in turn will guarantee unhindered transit."

    [Reuters]

  • Polish soldiers prepare packs with bread to be loaded onto trucks as humanitarian aid for Ukrainian soldiers:

    [EPA] 


  • Some tweets from the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Twitter account:



  • An English transcript is available of PM Yatsenyuk's opening address to Ukraine's cabinet ministers:

    “Ukraine now faces three key challenges. The most basic is
    war.
    The second is an issue connected with war: foreign exchange rate and
    energy.

    “The only country that isn’t aware that the war was
    unleashed directly by the Russian Federation, is Russia itself.”


     Yatseniuk reacts during a session of the parliament in Kiev August 14 [Reuters] 





  • Russian paratroopers 'didn't realise they were in Ukraine':

    A group of Russian paratroopers captured by Ukrainian forces said on Wednesday they had embarked on what they believed was a routine training patrol and had not realised they were on Ukrainian territory until their detention.

    Kiev has accused the servicemen of conducting a "special mission" in support of a separatist pro-Russian insurgency in its eastern regions. 

    Moscow denies the charge, saying the troops had strayed across the border by mistake. 

    [Reuters]
  • Russian energy minister Novak has said he is bewildered by claims from Ukraine that Russia plans to block gas transit to Europe.

    [Reuters]
  • Kiev says Russia army convoy in east Ukraine:

    A statement published by the military on Wednesday said a convoy of "up to 100" tanks, armoured vehicles and rocket launchers was seen travelling on a road toward Telmanove, a town about 80km south of rebel stronghold Donetsk and 20 km from the Russian border.

    For the full story click here



  • Lavrov - Russia not interested in breaking up Ukraine:

    "We expressed full respect for the results [of the May referendums] and said the political implementation of what the citizens of southeast Ukraine voted for must be realised through negotiations. We are not interested in breaking up [Ukraine]."


    [AFP]


  • The Ukrainian military said on Wednesday that more Russian soldiers had crossed the border into eastern Ukraine, entering the small town of Amvrosiyivka in five armoured infantry carriers and a truck.


    A Pro-Russian rebel walks in a passage at the local market damaged by shelling in Petrovskiy district in the town of Donetsk [AP] 



  • Arseny Yatseniuk says Ukraine knows of Russian plans to halt gas flows this winter to Europe:

    "The situation in [Ukraine's] energy sector is difficult. We know of Russia's plans to block [gas] transit even to European Union countries this winter, and that's why their [EU's] companies were given an order to pump gas into storage in Europe as fully as possible."

  • Russia: Next aid convoy will be followed by others despite  Kiev's fears

    "And I am sure that it will not be the last because assistance there is needed in huge amounts."


    Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov 
  • In the past 24 hours, Russian soldiers have crossed Ukriane border in armoured infantry carriers and entered Ukrainian town of Amvrosiyivka, Ukrainian military spokesman has said. [Reuters]


  • Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on Wednesday that Kiev expected NATO to act to help Ukraine at a summit next week.

    Yatsenyuk said at a government meeting: 
    We expect our Western partners and the alliance to provide practical help and take crucial decisions at the summit in September. We need help.
    [AFP]

  • Ukrainian soldiers instruct local residents to seek refuge as shelling comes closer to the city of Mariupol in the village of Bezimenne, eastern Ukraine, on Tuesday [AP]
    A villager walks past an Ukrainian flat and a bilboard and despicting Russian president Vladimir Putin bearing a Hitler moustache and haircut, on Tuesday [Getty]
    Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives to speaks to the media after his talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Minsk, Belarus, on Wednesday [AP] 
    A Pro-Russian rebel walks in a passage at the local market damaged by shelling in Petrovskiy district in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine on Tuesday [AP]
     
     

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  • A town in east Ukraine came under shellfire by pro-Russian rebels on Wednesday, amid fears that they are launching a counter-offensive on government-held parts of the region.

    In response to outgoing fire early on Wednesday, rebel forces lobbed at least 10 shells at the government-held town of Novoazovsk. 

    Plumes of black smoke rose above the town, which was hit repeatedly shelled on Tuesday, injuring four residents in a local hospital, according to the town's mayor, Oleg Sidorkin. [AP]
  • Here is our latest video report from Minsk discussing Ukraine-Russia talks.

    by Tamila Varshalomidze via YouTube


  • Ukraine cites Russia support for peace plan

    President Petro Poroshenko says he has support for peace plan from all leaders who attended a summit meeting in Minsk.
  • The one-on-one meeting between Russia's Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko has now ended in Minsk, a Kremlin spokesman said.

    The meeting was held after multi-party talks where leaders were seeking a solution for the crisis in Ukraine.

    Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who hosted the talks, said they were "difficult". 

    [Reuters]
  • EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says in Tuesday's talks she called for a ceasefire in Ukraine, proper border control the delivery of aid in compliance with international law, and a political process to resolve Ukraine's internal differences.

    "It was cordial but positive. There was a sense in which the onus was on everyone to see if they could do their best to try to resolve this," Ashton told reporters.

    [Reuters]
  • The presidents of Russia and Ukraine have met face to face for the first time since June as fighting continues to rage in Ukraine's east with Kiev stating it had captured 10 Russian soldiers on its territory.

    Russia says the men strayed into Ukraine by mistake while on patrol near the border. Ukraine's defence minister says they were involved in military aggression.

    Al Jazeera's Neave Barker reports from eastern Ukraine.

  • Belarus president says Putin and Poroshenko agree a need for de-escalation in Ukraine.

    A face-to-face meeting between the two leaders, at loggerheads over the crisis in Ukraine, has started in Minsk, the Ukrainian presidential administration said on Tuesday in Twitter post.

    A Kremlin spokesman confirmed the bilateral meeting had started.
  • UN says pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine murder, kidnap and torture

    Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine are guilty of a wide array of human rights abuses, including murder, abductions and torture, and are receiving a "steady supply" of sophisticated weapons and ammunition, according to a UN report obtained by Reuters.

    The report by the 34-member UN monitoring mission, prepared by the UN human rights office in Geneva, also cited reports of human rights violations by Ukraine's military forces and special battalions run by the country's Interior Ministry.

    The report said the death toll has risen to at least 2,200 since the fighting began in mid-April, with an average of at least 36 people killed daily. 

    That is up from at least 2,086 on August 10 and 1,129 on July 26.

    "Armed groups continue to commit killings, abductions, physical and psychological torture, ill treatment, executions, murder and other serious human rights abuses," the report said, adding that violations were "disproportionately targeting civilians."

    At least 468 people are believed to be held captive by rebels, according to the report, which covers the period from July 16 to August 17.

    "The Ukraine military has reported shelling from (Russian) territory ... and of the illegal use of landmines in Ukraine territory," the monitors said.

    [Reuters]



  • Secret US-Russia talks on Ukraine held in Finland

    The Finnish Foreign Ministry says that the United States and Russia held secret talks over Ukraine in Finland in June. 

    Ministry spokesman Vesa Hakkinen said that the ministry helped organise the meeting on the island of Boisto off the southern Finnish coast but he declined to give more information.

    Earlier this month, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto visited President Vladimir Putin - the first EU leader to meet the Russian leader since the Ukraine crisis - and travelled to Ukraine for talks with President Petro Poroshenko.

    Niinisto's office said Tuesday that he was not involved in the June US-Russia talks.

    [AP]
  • Ukraine captures Russians as presidents meet

    Talks held in Belarus to negotiate an end to the war in east Ukraine, as Kiev announces capture of 10 Russian soldiers.
  • Speaking from Minsk, Al Jazeera's Rory Challands said:

    "Poroshenko has brought his 15 point peace plan to these talks which involves militias disarming and getting out of eastern Ukraine, establishing a buffer zone along the border and restarting local governments in the region.

    "He proposed an Autumn peace conference and defended the EU association agreement.

    "Putin had a more combative stance, and has threatened more sanctions unless Ukraine changes its tone.

    "It is in Ukraine's interests to wrap this war up. At the moment it is making gains against the separatists in the east but the longer the conflict goes on the more powerful Moscow becomes.

    "Firstly Russia can continue to resupply separatists with weapons, and secondly as winter approaches and the weather gets colder there will be a serious problem as Ukraine currently gets no gas from Russia.

    "Moscow will become a much more powerful actor in negotiations if this is not sorted out."
  • Poroshenko says the only effective instrument for ending bloodshed in eastern Ukraine is effective border controls with Russia, and halting arms supplies to the rebels and releasing prisoners of war.

    He said he wants all actors involved to emerge with dignity from the crisis and that he would listen to all options in a bid to bring peace.
  • Ukraine's Poroshenko says the goal of his visit to meet Putin in Minsk is to do everything possible to stop bloodshed and begin process of finding a political compromise.

    He said he saw the talks as playing a crucial role in the future of Europe.

    "In Minsk at this meeting the fate of the world and Europe is being decided. That is how I see it," Poroshenko said after shaking hands with Putin. 

    [Reuters and AFP]


  • Speaking of Ukraine's EU association deal - a treaty between the EU and Ukraine that established political association between the two parties - Putin says Russia "always respected and respects"  the choice of nations, but it should not be at other nations' expense.

    Russia's president said that the Ukraine crisis cannot be resolved through further escalation of use of force, or without launching peace dialogue with Ukraine's eastern regions.

    He also said the Russian economy could suffer a loss of some 100 billion roubles ($2.77bn) if European goods reach the Russian market via Ukraine after Kiev signed a trade pact with European Union.

    He said that Moscow would retaliate with trade measures if that were to happen, and that Belarus and Kazakhstan, Moscow's partners in a customs union, would also be affected.

    [Reuters]

  • Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko welcomes Putin, Poroshenko and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton [AP] 

    Putin sits down with Ukrainian president for talks

    The presidents of Russia and Ukraine have sat down for talks, meeting face-to-face for the first time since June on the fighting that has engulfed eastern Ukraine.

    Russia's Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko were joined by the presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan and three senior officials from the European Union.

    In opening Tuesday's meeting in Minsk, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko urged both sides to "discard political ambitions and not to seek political dividend."

    The Ukrainian president was expected to face pressure to find a negotiated settlement - not a military victory - to the fighting that began in April.

    That was the option called for by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a visit to Kiev last weekend.

    [AP]
  • Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko have said that Russian Mi-24 helicopters had attacked a border post in Luhansk region the previous day, killing four border guards.

    "Yesterday, during the day, at the border post of Krasnatalovka, Russian Mi-24 helicopters attacked Ukrainian border guards. As a result of the attack, four guards were killed, three were injured," Lysenko told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday. 

    [Reuters]

  • Ukraine says seized 10 Russian soldiers


  • A group of Russian servicemen who were captured by Ukrainian troops had crossed the border into eastern Ukraine accidentally, a source from Russia's Defence Ministry was quoted by Russian news agency RIA Novosti as saying.

    "The soldiers really did participate in a patrol of a section of the Russian-Ukrainian border, crossed it by accident on an unmarked section, and as far as we understand showed no resistance to the armed forces of Ukraine when they were detained," the source said on Tuesday.

    Ukraine said its forces have captured 10 Russian soldiers in an eastern region where the Ukrainian troops are fighting pro-Russia separatists.

    The Facebook page for the anti-rebel operation, which includes the military, the national guard and Interior Ministry forces said the soldiers are from a Russian paratrooper division and were captured on Monday in the area of Amvrosiivka, near the Russian border in the Donetsk region on Tuesday.


    [Agencies]


  • White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Monday that Russia's growing military presence in Ukraine marked a "significant escalation" of the conflict.

    "Repeated Russian incursions into Ukraine unacceptable. Dangerous and inflammatory," Rice said on Twitter. "Russia's military incursions into Ukraine- artillery, air def systems, dozens of tanks & military personnel-represent significant escalation."

    [AFP]
  • Ukraine's president dissolves parliament

    Poroshenko says many deputies are "direct sponsors or accomplices" of pro-Russia separatists as he calls early vote.
  • Ukraine dissolves parliament ahead of election 

    Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, has signed a decree to dissolve parliament, paving the way for a new election.

    "I have decided to prematurely end the authority of parliament," he wrote in a Twitter post on Monday. 

    A presidential spokesman told the Reuters news agency, parliamentary elections would be held on October 26.

    Under the law, the election must be held within 60 days of the decree being published, which could mean an election being held at the end of October.
    [Reuters]
  • Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday expressed his "extreme concern" about Moscow's plan to send a second aid convoy to the east and the alleged crossing of Ukraine's border by Russian armoured vehicles.

    "Ukraine's head of state expressed his extreme concern about the breaching of Ukraine's border by Russian armoured vehicles and Russia's intention to send a so-called 'humanitarian' convoy again to Ukraine," Poroshenko's office said after a telephone conversation with EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy. [AFP]

    [AFP/DIMITAR DILKOFF

  • The Kremlin announced plans on Monday for a second aid convoy into Ukraine, heightening tensions on the eve of crunch talks, while fresh clashes raged along the border and around the main rebel-held city. 

    A Ukrainian military spokesman said troops were battling a contingent of "10 tanks and two armoured personal carriers" flying rebel flags that had crossed a southern part of the border with Russia and was heading towards the government-held city of Mariupol.

    Some 120 kilometres to the north, AFP journalists also witnessed heavy fighting raging to the south of Donetsk, the main rebel bastion, a day after separatist leaders said they had deployed tanks and artillery to the area. [AFP]


  • A top rebel commander on Sunday taunted the Ukrainian government after pro-Russian separatists paraded captured Ukrainian troops along the streets of the eastern city of Donetsk, just as independence day celebrations took place in the capital, Kiev.

    "Kiev said that on the 24th, on the Independence Day of Ukraine, they would have a parade.

    Indeed, they did march in Donetsk, although it wasn't a parade," said Alexander Zakharchenko, the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.

    "Soldiers of the armed forces of Kiev walked along the main streets of Donetsk. What Poroshenko planned has taken place," he said.

    The rival demonstrations on Ukraine's 23rd anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union underscored the bitter divisions in the country after five months of fighting.

    [AP]
  • Ukrainian government forces killed fighting rebels rises to 722

    The number of Ukrainian government forces who have been killed fighting separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine has reached 722, the national defence and security council said on Sunday.

    This marked a jump from August 11 when the figure was at 568 meaning that more than 150 troops, interior forces and border guards have been killed in less than two weeks.
    [Reuters]
  • Pro-Russian rebels humiliate Ukrainian captives in Donetsk 

    Pro-Russian separatist rebels force-marched dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war along a main street of the rebel-held Ukrainian town of Donetsk on Sunday.

    People shouted "fascists" at the group, who walked with heads bowed. They were largely unshaven and disheveled and dressed either in combat fatigues or civilian clothes.

    A voice over a loudspeaker announced their arrival saying, "we are now able to watch passing people who were sent to kill us."

    "We are Russians," the voice said.

    A Reuters correspondent on the scene said that some people threw projectiles including bottles, while some shouted "Fascists!" and "Get on your knees!"

    In a gesture intended to show that the captives were sullied, street cleaning vehicles moved behind them to cleanse where they had walked.
    [Reuters]
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