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Follow the latest developments as Ukraine attempts to deal with pro-Russian separatists in the country's east.

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  • Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in a tweet on Friday that the United States had promised $1bn in financial guarantees for Kiev to raise funds on the capital markets.

    "Agreed with @BarackObama that Ukraine will receive $1 billion in financial guarantees," he said after visiting Washington where he secured $53bn in assistance but failed to win the argument for the United States to provide Ukraine weapons to fight pro-Russian separatists in its east. 

    In the first half of this year, Ukraine borrowed $1bn on capital markets under a similar US guarantee. [Reuters]

  • Anti-Russia demonstrators gathered outside the White House while President Poroshenko met Obama [Reuters]
  • Ukraine leader appeals to US for lethal aid

    President Petro Poroshenko tells US congress he needs lethal military aid as "war cannot be won with blankets."


  • The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over war-torn eastern Ukraine will be discussed by the UN Security Council on Friday after Russia requested a meeting on a Dutch finding that a large number of fragments hit the plane and tore it apart.

    Several foreign ministers are expected to attend the meeting to take place in the morning, diplomats said, since they were already scheduled to attend a Security Council debate on Iraq on Friday afternoon, chaired by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

    The jetliner crashed in Ukraine in pro-Russian rebel-held territory on July 17, killing 298 people, two-thirds of them from the Netherlands. Ukraine and Western countries accuse the rebels of shooting it down with an advanced, Russian-made missile.

    Russia has rejected accusations that it supplied the rebels with SA-11 Buk anti-aircraft missile systems.

    [Reuters]
  • Fierce gunbattles erupted around the Ukrainian rebel stronghold of Donetsk with two civilians 
    killed just a day after lawmakers in Kiev held out an offer of self-rule to the pro-Russian separatists.

    Heavy shelling has been reported on Wednesday around the flashpoint eastern industrial hub almost daily despite the warring sides signing up to a ceasefire deal almost two weeks ago.

    Donetsk city hall said two civilians were killed near a market that lies just a few kilometres away from the battleground at the airport and was left in ruins by shelling earlier this week.

    [AFP]






  • Separatists in eastern Ukraine should fully observe provisions of the Minsk ceasefire agreement, US Vice President Joe Biden and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk have agreed.

    In a telephone conversation late on Tuesday, Joe Biden and Arseniy Yatsenyuk agreed that Russia and Ukrainian separatists should do their part in immediately implementing all the provisions of the Minsk agreement, including "the removal of all Russian troops from Ukraine and the creation of a security area in the border regions" of Ukraine and Russia, according to a statement released by Biden's office.

    The US and Ukraine continue accusing Russia of escalating the conflict in Ukraine and of supporting the independence fighters. Moscow denies these accusations.

    [Russian media]
  • Ukrainian activists have thrown a member of parliament, Vitaliy Zhuravskyi, into a rubbish bin, near Kiev's parliamentary building.

    According to the Russian ITAR-Tass news agency, Zhuravskyi was an adviser to the country's pro-Russian former president Viktor Yanukovych who was overthrown earlier this year after months of anti-government protests.

    Activists blamed Zhuravskyi of authorising a controversial defamation law, which journalists said was restricting the country's media freedom.

    [AP]

  • Ukraine ratifies key EU association deal

    Ukrainian and European parliaments pass the political and economic association agreement, despite Russia's objections.
  • Clashes in Ukraine protest over corruption bill

    Ukrainian riot police fired tear gas on a group of about 200 demonstrators protesting outside parliament to demand the adoption of a so-called lustration law.

    At least one activist from the Right Sector nationalist group was injured in the brief clashes, which saw protesters - some masked - set tyres ablaze in Kiev.

    Lawmakers agreed - after several failed attempts - to adopt a law aimed at purging government officials accused of corruption or links to the old pro-Kremlin regime.
    [AFP]

    [EPA] 


  • Members of the Ukrainian parliament has ratified a landmark agreement with the EU, pivoting their country towards the West over half a year after its pro-Russian leader was overthrown from power as a result of mass anti-government protests.

    The development comes as a ceasefire agreement with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, signed earlier this month in the Belarusian capital Minsk, has been riddled with violations from the start.

    [Agencies]
  • Three civilians has been killed in renewed shelling in the Ukrainian rebel-held city of Donetsk on Monday despite a ceasefire, the local authority has said.

    Another five people were injured, city hall said in a statement, without giving further details. Another six civilians were killed in heavy fighting in Donetsk on Sunday.

    [AFP]
  • President Petro Poroshenko has offered parts of the ex-Soviet country's separatist east limited self-rule for three years under the terms of a peace plan reached with Russia.

    Poroshenko's official website said the pro-Western leader told top lawmakers the proposal would be part of a broader deal with pro-Russian rebels signed on September 5. He intended to formally submit it to parliament on Tuesday.

    The bill also extends the right of people in the rebel-held Lugansk and Donetsk regions to use Russian in state institutions and conduct local elections on November 9, according to media reports.

    The bill further permits the regions to "strengthen good neighbourly relations" between local authorities and their counterparts in Russia.

    It protects from criminal prosecution "participants of events in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions" -- appearing to apply to both the insurgents and Ukrainian government troops -- and allows regional councils to appoint local judges and prosecutors.

    The bill also promises to help restore damaged infrastructure and to provide social an economic assistance to particularly hard-hit areas.Poroshenko had promised to offer parts of the war-torn industrial east broader autonomy under the terms of the truce agreed earlier this month with the Kremlin and two separatist leaders.

    He urged parliamentary faction leaders Monday to quickly back his efforts to end five months of fighting that have killed more than 2,700 people and forced more than half a million from their homes.

    Poroshenko said his proposals guaranteed "the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of our state".

    The presidential website said the three years of limited self-rule would give his government a chance to implement "deep-rooted decentralisation, which will be the subject of corresponding constitutional changes".

    [AFP]
  • Six people were killed in shelling in the rebel-held city of Donetsk on Sunday, municipal authorities said on Monday, putting further strain on a 10-day ceasefire between government forces and Russian-backed separatists.

    A monitoring team from the OSCE said it was also shelled twice in the city on Sunday despite the ceasefire.

    Separately, military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said in Kiev there had been some deaths among Ukrainian troops over the weekend, although he did not provide details, and said 73 soldiers had been freed in an exchange with the rebels.

    The truce started on Sept. 5 and has been broadly holding despite sporadic violations which both sides blame on the other.

    [Reuters]

  • Pro-Russian rebels ride on an armored personnel carrier during a parade in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine 

    [Reuters]



  • Luhansk civilian airport is completely destroyed in fighting between Ukrainian
    army and pro-Russian separatists.

    [Reuters] 


  • Heavy fighting erupted around the rebel stronghold of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on Sunday.

    Donetsk council said there had been civilian casualties and described the situation in the city as "critical" but gave no further information.

    [AFP]
  • The pro-Russian party that ruled Ukraine under ousted president Viktor Yanukovych said Sunday it would boycott next month's parliamentary polls and form an "opposition government" to fight for regional powers and against Kiev's westward course.

    The decision by the once-dominant Regions Party came as top politicians formed leadership lists for the October 26 election that was called early to regain people's trust after two decades of post-Soviet corruption and economic malaise.

    [AFP]
  • Black smoke ascends around the Donetsk's International Airport as shelling continues between pro-Russian forces and the Ukrainian army.

    [Getty Images]

  • Ukrainian Defense Minister Valery Heletey says that NATO weapons are on the way to Ukraine after agreements about weapons delivery were reached at the NATO summit in Wales. 

    [Reuters]
  • Reports of shelling of neighborhoods near in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Sunday , jeopardizing the cease fire agreement.

    The city council of Donetsk said Sunday that two neighborhoods in the north
    of the city had been repeatedly hit by shelling.

    That part of the city is closest to the government-held airport, which has become the site of
    increasingly intense fighting between the pro-Russian 
    separatists and Kiev's
    forces. 

    Volodymyr Polyovyi, a spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and
    Defense Council, told journalists Sunday that Ukrainian 
    troops had repelled
    an attack at the airport by about 200 fighters during the 
    night. He said
    there were no military casualties.

    [AP]



  • The Ukrainian government accused pro-Russian separatists on Sunday of threatening a tenuous push for peace as booming rounds of heavy artillery fire echoed across the insurgent stronghold of Donetsk.

    It said the rebels had been intensifying their attacks on government positions in eastern Ukraine despite a ceasefire backed by Kiev and Moscow nine days ago.

    [AFP]
  • Eckard Cordes, chairman of Germany's Committee on Eastern European Economic relations, said his group, which represents the interests of about 200 companies with investments in Russia, had wanted sanctions to be delayed to help bolster the ceasefire.

    "The European Union's new economic sanctions against Russia are a "mistake" because they
    were imposed just as a week-old ceasefire was bringing calm to the embattled east of Ukraine"

    [Reuters]
  • Fresh US and EU sanctions imposed on Moscow will bring an abrupt halt to exploration of
    Russia's huge Arctic and shale oil reserves and complicate financing of existing Russian projects from the Caspian Sea to Iraq and Ghana.

    On Friday, the United States imposed sanctions on Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil Surgutneftegas and Rosneft, banning Western firms from supporting their
    activities in exploration or production from deep water, Arctic offshore or
    shale projects.

    [Reuters]
  • A convoy of more than 200 white trucks returned to Russia on Saturday after delivering humanitarian aid to the battered Ukrainian city of Luhansk, a move made without Kiev's consent yet met with silence by Ukraine's top leaders.

    [AP]
  • Ukraine PM: Putin wants to restore the USSR. Read more here:


  • Russia committed to ceasefire

    Russia is committed to help 
    enforce a peace initiative in Ukraine despite a new set of economic sanctions imposed by the EU against Moscow, Interfax news agency said.


    "Despite the EU position being non-constructive, Russia will continue to do its utmost to help enforce the existing peace plan, as well as to stabilise the situation in the south-east of Ukraine overall," Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying.

  • EU approves new sanctions against Russia

    New EU sanctions target Russian oil and defence firms but could be reversed if Ukraine's ceasefire holds.
  • President Barack Obama said on Thursday the United States will join the European Union in imposing tougher sanctions on Russia's financial, energy and defence sectors after Moscow sent troops into eastern Ukraine last month, and will provide details on the new steps on Friday.

    "These measures will increase Russia's political isolation as well as the economic costs to Russia, especially in areas of importance to President (Vladimir) Putin and those close to him," Obama said in a statement.

    [Reuters]

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered snap checks of troops' combat readiness in Russia's far east, the latest in a series of military drills this year as tensions have mounted over the crisis in Ukraine.

    Russian news agencies quoted Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu as telling the armed forces' leadership on Thursday that troops in the eastern military district, which includes Russia's maritime border with Japan and its land frontier with China, had been ordered to be on full combat readiness at 10:00 a.m. Moscow time (0600 GMT).

    A number of military checks and snap war drills, which Putin has implemented to test and display the armed forces' capabilities, have raised tensions as ties between Moscow and the West fray over Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis.

    [Reuters]
  • Former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko has called for a referendum in the country on joining the NATO.

    Batkivshchyna Party leader presented documents to the Central Electoral Commission in Kiev asking for a nationwide referendum on NATO membership.

    Tymoshenko said that despite some obstacles, her team managed to fulfill all the legal requirements for starting the referendum process. 

    She called for the referendum on NATO to be held at the same time as Ukraine's upcoming parliamentary elections in October. 

    [AP]

  • Ukraine leader pledges more autonomy for east

    President Poroshenko insists Ukraine will remain united but eastern parts under rebel control will get special status.
  • President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday accused Western countries of creating the Ukrainian crisis and using it to revive NATO.

    "The crisis in Ukraine, which was basically provoked and created by some of our Western partners, is now being used to revive this military bloc (NATO)." 

    Putin said at a government meeting, quoted by the state RIA Novosti news agency.


  • Russia has said it did not want Ukraine to become a NATO member, describing such a possibility as an "unprecedented challenge to European security".

    "Ukraine in NATO would be an unprecedented challenge to European security, the biggest since the collapse of the Berlin Wall," said Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's envoy to the EU.

    Kiev announced its intentions to relaunch negotiations to join the Western military alliance in August, effectively restarting a process which was suspended in 2010 by pro-Kremlin president Viktor Yanukovych.

    NATO has left the door open to membership for Ukraine on condition that it meets certain criteria.

    [AFP]

  • Railway stations and airports in Donetsk all stopped operation as Ukraine's eastern situation began to go south, leaving only one way for travelers to get in and out of the city -- by long-distance bus.

    At one major station in Donetsk, several hundred buses can be seen arriving and departing each day, with some even driving to Russian cities.

    Since a ceasefire between government forces and independence-seeking insurgents was signed on April 5, more and more people have been returning to Donetsk. However, some people are still planing on leaving, even if just for a while.

    "We went to Krasnodar in Russia. We stayed at my brother's house, because it's unsafe here," said Iwan, a Donetsk resident.

    Although it has been difficult for people to travel, many are still trying to temporarily relocate until the situation settles down.

    [AP]
  • The United States is putting the finishing touches on possible new sanctions on Russia's defence, energy and financial sectors over its intervention in Ukraine, the US State Department said on Tuesday.

    "The United States is finalising measures to both deepen and broaden our sanctions across Russia's financial, energy and defence sectors," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said at her daily briefing. 

    "We have tools at the ready. We are finalising these packages, but we are going to make decisions based on what's happening on the ground in the next few days."

    [Reuters]
  • President Vladimir Putin told his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, that Moscow remained committed to "further assist" the Ukraine peace process, the Kremlin said in a statement on Tuesday.

    "V.V. Putin confirmed commitment of the Russian Federation to further assist the peace resolution of the (Ukraine) crisis," the Kremlin said in a report on a phone conversation.

    In the course of the conversation, "the importance of maintaining steady a ceasefire regime in the south-east of Ukraine was stressed", according to the statement, but it was not immediately clear whether this was the position of the two leaders.

    [Reuters]
  • Pro-Russian rebels do not have the military equipment that could bring down a passenger aircraft, Alexander Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, was quoted as saying.

    "I can say only one thing: we just don't have the [military] equipment which could bring down a passenger Boeing, including this Malaysian plane," he was quoted as saying by Ukraine's Interfax news agency on Tuesday.

    Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 broke apart over Ukraine due to the impact from a large number of fragments, a report by Dutch experts said on Tuesday.

    [Reuters]

  • Pro-Russian separatists have released 648 Ukrainian prisoners of war so far under the terms of a ceasefire struck with government forces that came into effect last Friday, a Ukrainian military spokesman has said.

    Andriy Lysenko told a daily briefing the Ukrainian side was working to secure the release of about 500 more prisoners. He did not comment immediately on how many rebel prisoners of war the government side would hand over under the ceasefire deal.

    President Petro Poroshenko said on Monday the rebels had handed over about 1,200 prisoners. Lysenko said the president's figure had referred to the total number of prisoners and others believed to be held by the separatists.

    Lysenko also said five Ukrainian servicemen had been killed and 33 had been wounded since the ceasefire began. Earlier, a defence ministry official had put the death toll among Ukrainian servicemen during the ceasefire at four.

    [Reuters]

  • Read our latest story on Ukraine here.  

  • First MH17 crash report suggests no evidence of technical fault or pilot error, Dutch investigators say.

    Dutch investigators also say that large number of high-energy objects caused plane to break apart in mid-air.
  • Four Ukrainian servicemen have been killed since the start of a ceasefire between government forces and pro-Russian separatists last Friday, Ukraine's Interfax news agency has reported, quoting a defence ministry official.

    The head of the ministry's military-medical department, Vitaly Andronaty, also said 29 servicemen had been injured during the ceasefire. 

    [Reuters]


    Ukrainian President Proshenko meets with Ukrainian servicemen during his visit to the coastal town of Mariupol, September 8, 2014 [Reuters]

  • The airport near the main rebel-held city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine came under rocket fire overnight, the Ukrainian military has said.

    The transport hub, heavily damaged in fierce fighting in May, was hit by mortar and rocket fire four times during the night, the press service for the military's operation in the east said on Tuesday, but added that there were no victims.

    There have been a number of reported violations of the shaky ceasefire signed on Friday between the Kiev government and pro-Russian rebels after five months of conflict, but overall it appears to be holding.

    [AFP]

  • Experts from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington DC-based think-tank, go in-depth on what the ceasefire in Ukraine is about:


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