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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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  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Washington should use its influence in Kiev to push for peace in eastern Ukraine.

    "The most important thing is the need to talk sense into the party of war in Kiev, and in large part only the United States can do this," Lavrov told reporters in Moscow in Tuesday.

    "It is very important for it to use its influence as far as possible to send the necessary signals in favour of switching from trying to resolve the situation by military means, in favor of a political process." 

  • Latest photos from the fighting in Eastern Ukraine:


    1 of 7

     [Photos by Reuters, AFP and EPA]
  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Western powers that "there is no military solution" to the Ukraine crisis as NATO prepares to upgrade its combat readiness in Eastern Europe.

    Ban said he was greatly concerned at developments in Ukraine and wanted to avoid further deterioration in a crisis "that has been developing into a very chaotic and dangerous situation".

    "It has regional and even global implications," he told reporters during a visit to New Zealand.

    "That is why I have been reaching out to Ukrainian and Russian authorities, the highest authorities, to address this issue and sit down together and resolve it peacefully through dialogue."

  • Ukraine's troops retreat from vital airport

    Soldiers abandon defence of an airport in Luhansk after heavy clashes with what Kiev says are Russian tanks.
  • The presence of Russian troops on Ukrainian soil is "unjustified and unacceptable", British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday.

    "Russia appears to be trying to force Ukraine to abandon its democratic choices at the barrel of a gun," Cameron told parliament, warning Moscow its relationship with the rest of the world would be "radically different" in future if it continued with its current policy on Ukraine.


  • Ukraine's defence minister warned on Monday that a "great war" has broken out with Russia over his country's future that could claim tens of thousands of lives.

    "A great war has arrived at our doorstep - the likes of which Europe has not seen since World War II. 

    "Unfortunately, the losses in such a war will be measured not in the hundreds but thousands and tens of thousands," Valeriy Geletey wrote in a Facebook post.

  • Ukraine's military said on Monday its forces were battling a Russian tank battalion for control of a vital airport in the east of the country as President Petro Poroshenko accused Moscow of "direct and open aggression" against his country.

    Poroshenko, speaking at a military academy in Kiev, said Russia's direct involvement in the war against the separatists in eastern Ukraine had tipped the balance on the battlefield and was the main reason for recent reversals.

    "Direct and open aggression has been launched against Ukraine from a neighbouring state. This has changed the situation in the zone of conflict in a radical way," he said.

    Fighting continued to rage near Luhansk, the region's other main city, for control of the main civilian airport just to its south, the military said in a statement.

    "Ukrainian paratroopers are fighting a tank battalion of the Russian armed forces to hold the airport," it said.


  • Read our latest story on Ukraine here

  • Russia's Foreign Minister Lavrov says there will be no military intervention in Ukraine from Russia. 

    More soon...


  • Australia will toughen its sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine so they match those of the EU, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.

    Australia already has some sanctions against Russia, but Abbott said on Monday that these would be tightened as a result of Moscow's persistent and deliberate violation of its neighbour's sovereignty.

    "Australia will lift its sanctions against Russia to the level of the EU," Abbott told parliament in the capital, Canberra.

    "There will be no new arms exports, there will be no new access by Russian state-owned banks to the Australian capital market, there will be no new exports for use in the oil and gas industry, there will be no new trade or investment in the Crimea."


  • Russian and Ukrainian representatives will meet in Minsk on Monday after Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the stakes in the Ukraine conflict by calling for "statehood" to be discussed for the restive east of the former Soviet state.

    Putin's remarks on Sunday came just hours after the EU gave Moscow a week to change course or face new sanctions.

  • US Democratic and Republican lawmakers urged Washington to arm the Ukrainian government, saying it needed help to repel what they called Russia's invasion of the country.

    Senator Robert Menendez, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN the United States, European Union and NATO should work together to arm Kiev, which has been fighting Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine for months.

    "We ... should be providing the Ukrainians with the types of defensive weapons that will impose a cost upon (Russian President Vladimir) Putin for further aggression," the New Jersey Democrat told the "State of the Union" program from Kiev.

    Asked whether the Obama administration is considering such a move, Menendez said: "I think that may very well be on the table right now. These are changed circumstances."

    President Barack Obama last week ruled out US military action over Ukraine and called for a diplomatic solution.

  • Separatists hit Ukrainian vessel in first naval attack of war

    Separatist rebels attacked a Ukrainian naval vessel in the Azov Sea on Sunday by firing artillery from the shore, and a Ukrainian military spokesman said a rescue operation was under way.

    Spokesman Andriy Lysenko said the vessel was a naval cutter.

    There was no information on the number of people on board.

    The pro-Russian rebels claimed responsibility for the attack.

    The separatists have been fighting government forces since April in a conflict that has killed some 2,600 people, but this was the first naval attack of the war.

    It came after rebel forces opened a new front in the fighting last week, breaking through to the Azov Sea in Ukraine's southeast.

    "The militia have dealt the enemy their first naval defeat," Igor Strelkov, a former separatist military commander, said on the social media network VKontakte.

  • Putin spokesman says Ukraine's east should remain part of the country 

    President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said on Sunday that areas of eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists are fighting Kiev government forces should remain part of the country and he called the conflict a domestic one.

    Dmitry Peskov was speaking after Putin was quoted by Russian media as calling for meaningful talks between the separatists and Kiev on issues including "society's political organisation and statehood in southeastern Ukraine to protect legitimate interests of people living there".

    "This is not a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, this is a domestic Ukrainian conflict," Peskov told reporters. 

    Asked if "Novorossiya" - the name the rebels give to the region in dispute - should remain part of Ukraine, he said: "Of course." 

  • Ukraine has handed over a group of captured Russian paratroops and Russia has returned 63 Ukrainian soldiers who crossed into its territory last week, Russian news agencies quoted a paratroop commander as saying.

    RIA news agency quoted Russian Major-General Alexei Ragozin as saying the paratroops had been handed back after "very difficult" negotiations and after what he called an unacceptable

    Ukraine said last week it had captured 10 paratroops and presented them to the press as evidence that the Russian military is fighting alongside pro-Moscow separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. Russia said the men had crossed an unmarked section of the border by accident.


  • The White House has applauded the European Council's readiness to consider further sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine.

    "We welcome the European Council's consensus today to show strong support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and to prepare further sanctions for consideration in coming days," the White House National Security spokeswoman, Caitlin Hayden, said in a statement.

  • Ukraine military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told journalists in Kiev that Russian tanks had entered the small Ukrainian town of Novosvitlivka on the border with Russia and fired on every house.

    "We have information that virtually every house has been destroyed," Lysenko added, without giving details on when the reported attack took place. Ukraine's daily military briefings typically cover the previous 24 hours. 

    Lysenko said the rebels had made new gains just east of the border city of Luhansk, one of the rebels' main strongholds, after opening up a new front in another area last week.

  • Ukraine announced it was abandoning Ilovaisk, a city 25 kilometers north of Starobesheve on Saturday. Surrounded on all sides over several days, they sustained fire so intense that the government was compelled to plead for a corridor out.

    "We are surrendering this city,'' said Ukrainian Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the 
    national security council. "Our task now is to evacuate our military with the least possible losses in order to regroup.''

    Lysenko said that regular units of the military had also been ordered to retreat from Novosvitlivka and Khryashchuvate, two towns on the main road between the Russian border and Luhansk, the second-largest rebel-held city.

  • The so-called Contact Group on Ukraine will meet Monday in Minsk, Belarussian officials said, as the Kremlin emphasised the importance of having separatists participate.

    The Belarussian foreign ministry said representatives of Kiev, Moscow and the OSCE would attend the talks but did not provide details.

    A Kremlin statement said that President Vladimir Putin and his Belarussian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko "emphasised the importance of organising" the meeting gathering representatives of "the Kiev authorities, the southeastern regions, the OSCE and Russia" during a phone call.

  • French President Francois Hollande says that EU leaders will be obliged to react by increasing sanctions if situation in Ukraine remains as it is - Reuters.
  • EU leaders are expected to discuss Ukrainian requests for military assistance in Brussels today. 

    Pro-Russian separatists are in control of large parts of Eastern Ukraine, including areas around the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk. They've also recently taken the coastal town of Novoazosk.

    Al Jazeera's Paul Brennan, in Mariupol, sent us this update:

    The military maneauvering by both sides here in the SE corner of Ukraine has
    continued, defenders of Mariupol have been digging trenches, we haven't seen
    Russian armour or vehicles ourselves, but we know there have been movements out
    of that town, further along the border, one is presumed to engage in combat with Ukrainian  forces.

    As far as action in the air, the Ukrainian military says a jet has been shot
    down, but didn't give a location.
    They said it happened on Friday, but what's interesting
    is Ukraine says it was a Russian anti-aircraft system.
    .pointing the finger at
    Russia, and separatists, being Russian backed.

  • Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko says on Twitter:

  • Ukraine's defence spokesman says that Russia is continuing to send military equipment and "mercenaries" into eastern Ukraine, says Russian tanks have attacked the town of Novosvitlivka near Luhansk and "destroyed virtually every house". [Reuters]

  • A burned trolleybus is seen near Donetsk train station after shelling on Saturday [AP] 

  • European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso warned Russia on Saturday that the EU was ready to defend its principles in the confrontation over Ukraine and called for a political solution before the crisis reached a "point of no-return".

    "Russia should not underestimate the European Union's will and resolve to stand by its principles and values," Barroso told a joint news conference in Brussels with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

    He said it was not too late for a political solution.

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, condemning Russian intervention in his country, said on Saturday that there were now thousands of foreign troops and hundreds of foreign tanks in Ukraine.

    He was speaking at a news conference in Brussels ahead of a summit meeting with European Union leaders. [Reuters]

  • According to Russia's Itar-Tass news agency:

    - A group of pro-government Ukrainian fighters has escaped the town encircled by the rebels in Ilovayska region in Eastern Ukraine after the separatists opened a passage

    The agency cited Arseniy Avakov, Ukraine's interior minister, who posted the information on his Facebook page:
    Our first fighters from Ilovayska group have left encirclement - 28 people from battalions of Mirotvortsy (14), Kherson (3) and Dnepr-1 (11).

    - More than 130,000 Ukrainian civilians have requested a temporary asylum in Russia since the start of a conflict in their country five months ago 

    Russia's Federal Migration Service told Itar-Tass on Saturday: 
    Since April 1, 2014 about 820,000 Ukrainian citizens have arrived to stay in Russia. Since the beginning of the conflict, about 130,000 of them have applied to the migration service with requests for granting temporary asylum or the refugee status.

  • A Ukrainian fighter jet has been shot down by a Russian anti-aircraft system in the east of the country, where Kiev is fighting pro-Moscow rebels, Ukraine's military said on Saturday.

    A Russian anti-aircraft system shot down an Su-25 fighter. The pilot managed to eject.

    - the military said in a statement, which did not give the location of the incident that it said occurred on Friday morning.

    The statement denied rebel claims that four planes had been taken down by the separatists. [AFP]

  • Seven NATO allies plan to create a new rapid reaction force of at least 10,000 soldiers as part of plans to boost NATO defences in response to Russia's intervention in Ukraine, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Friday. 

    The aim is to create a division-sized joint expeditionary force for rapid deployment and regular exercises. The British-led force would include air and naval units as well as ground troops, the newspaper said. 

    Countries involved include Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway and the Netherlands. Canada has also expressed an interest in taking part, it said.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to announce the creation of the force next week, coinciding with the September 4-5 NATO summit in Wales.

  • In an interview with a French broadcaster, France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that he has seen evidence of "unacceptable intervention" by Russian troops in Eastern Ukraine. 

    He also said that EU sanctions will probably be reinforced if Russia does not quickly change it's behaviour.

    via Reuters.
  • Who is Alexander Zakharchenko?

    The 38-year-old hails from Donetsk where he worked as an electrical engineer, but it was as Head of the Donetsk branch of the rebel group Oplot that he rose to prominence.

    In April he joined other rebel leaders to declare independence for Donetsk. By May he held the top spot as the rebel military commandant of Donetsk.

    And just over three weeks ago Zakharchenko became the Prime Minister of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic. 

    Coming as a surprise to many, Zakharchenko, in taking the job from Russian Alexander Borodai, reportedly dampened down accusations that the rebellion in the east was being run by Moscow. 

    Zakharchenko reportedly brought hundreds of fighters and captured military hardware with him. But he and his Donetsk rebels know that they are unlikely to win this on their own.

    In the last two days Zakharchenko blew the debate wide open, by confirming up to 4,000 Russians have been fighting alongside the rebels on Ukrainian soil.

    And pressure is being heaped onto Russia to explain its actions in Ukraine.

  • There was a call from the Russian president to provide the encircled units of the Ukrainian army with humanitarian corridors to avoid unnecessary bloodshed. With all due respect to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin - the president of the country that gives us a lot of moral help - we are ready to give them these corridors, if they don’t take heavy weapons and ammunition, so that these weapons and ammunition in the future could not be used against us.

    -- Alexander Zakharchenko, eastern Ukraine separatist leader.

  • Ukraine has given its "agreement in principle" to sending a second humanitarian convoy into conflict-torn eastern Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.

    "The day before yesterday we received a note in response from the Ukrainian foreign ministry expressing agreement in principle with the proposal to send Russian humanitarian aid to the east," Lavrov said at a news conference in Moscow.

    He said representatives of Ukrainian authorities, the rebels, Russia and the OSCE should agree on the details of sending in the convoy "in the next few days".

    Russia intends to "agree all the procedures with the Ukrainian side, with the involvement of the International Red Cross," he added Russia sent a first convoy of more than 200 trucks, containing according to Moscow 1,800 tonnes of food aid, into Ukraine a week ago without agreeing it with Kiev and without Red Cross monitors.

    Kiev condemned the move as a "direct invasion".

  • Anders von Rasmussen, the NATO chief, says:

    "Despite Moscow's hollow denials, it is now clear that Russian troops and equipment have illegally crossed the border into eastern and southeastern Ukraine. This is not an isolated action, but part of a dangerous pattern over many months to destabilise Ukraine as a sovereign nation. Russian forces are engaged in direct military operations inside Ukraine. Russia continues to supply the separatists with tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery and rocket launchers. 

    Russia has fired on Ukraine from both Russian territory and within Ukraine itself. 

    Moreover, Russia continues to maintain thousands of combat-ready troops close to Ukraine's borders. This is a blatant violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It defies all diplomatic efforts for a peaceful solution. 

    Today we expressed strong solidarity with Ukraine. At the Wales summit next week we will meet President Poroshenko to make clear NATO's unwaivering support for Ukraine.

    We condemn in the strongest terms Russia's continuous disregard of its international obligations. We urge Russia  to seize its illegal military actions, stop its support for armed separatists and take immediate and verifiable steps towards de-escalation of this grave crisis. "

    We fully respect Ukraine's decisions as regards to Ukraine's security policy and alliance affiliations. This is a fundamental principle that every nation has an inherent right to decide itself on security policies and its alliance affiliations. 

    I am not going to interfere with political discussions in Ukraine, but let me remind you of NATO's decision taken at the Bucharest summit in 2008 according to which Ukraine will become a member of NATO, provided, of course, that Ukraine so wishes and provided that Ukraine fulfils the necessary criteria. 

    In the meantime, Ukraine has decided to persue a so-called no-allience policy. We fully respect that. We fully respect if Ukrainian parliament decides to change that policy, because we adhere to the principle that each and every country has a right to decide itself without interference from outside. And we hope that other nations adhere to the same principle."
  • Around three dozen people a day are being killed in eastern Ukraine where both sides target civilians in violation of international law and the death toll has risen to at least 2,220, the UN human rights office said on Friday.

    The latest findings from the Geneva office, based on reports from a 34-member UN monitoring mission in Ukraine, show both sides committing a range of abuses targeting civilians trapped in urban areas or trying to flee through so-called safe corridors.

    The head of the Geneva office, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, raised alarm over the killings in Ukraine.

    Deliberate targeting of civilians is a violation of international humanitarian law and more must be done to protect them.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that allegations Russia's military is fighting in eastern Ukraine are "conjecture".

    "We're hearing various conjectures, not for the first time, but not once have any facts been presented to us," he said at a news conference. [Reuters]

  • The Ukrainian military said on Friday that a call by Russian President Vladimir Putin for a 'humanitarian corridor' to be set up to allow Ukrainian troops to withdraw showed that the separatists were under the direct control of the Kremlin.

    Putin's call, the Kiev military said in a statement, testified to only one thing - "these people (the separatists) are led and controlled directly from the Kremlin." [Reuters]

  • A leader of pro-Moscow rebel forces in eastern Ukraine, Alexander Zakharchenko, said on Friday he had agreed to open a humanitarian corridor for encircled Ukraine troops after Russian President Vladimir Putin's statement.

    Putin called on the rebels to provide the corridor in east Ukraine for Ukrainian government troops to leave the battlefield earlier on Friday. 

    "We are ready to give a humanitarian corridor," Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, told Rossiya 24 TV, adding that troops would have to leave their heavy armoured vehicles and ammunition. [Reuters]

    Putin said in a statement issued overnight on Thursday:

    I call on the rebel forces to open a humanitarian corridor for the Ukrainian troops who are surrounded, so as to avoid unnecessary casualties and to give them the opportunity to withdraw from the zone of operations.
  • Here are pictures Nato released yesterday showing what it said was Russian armour, artillery and troops inside Ukraine.


    1 of 2

  • NATO says it has evidence of direct Russian intervention in Ukraine. Satellite images revealed by the alliance are alleged to show troops taking part in military operations inside the country.

    Al Jazeera's Paul Brennan reports.
  • You can read Al Jazeera's latest story on Ukraine here.

  • US President Barack Obama said it was plain for the world to see that Russian forces were fighting in Ukraine.

    Obama said he planned to host Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at the White House in September to discuss the escalating crisis.
  • Vitaly Churkin, #Russia's ambassador to the UN is addressing the UNSC's emergency meeting on #Ukraine | Watch live: aje.me/live
  • Some members of the UN Security Council expressed outrage over the growing crisis in Ukraine in an emergency session held Thursday. 

    UN Undersecretary-General of Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman told council members, as the meeting began, that the latest developments mark a "dangerous escalation in the conflict," but that the international body had no way of verifying the latest "deeply alarming reports".

    Statements from NATO, Poroshenko ,the separatists, the United States and the president of the Security Council left no doubt that Russia had invaded Ukraine. 

    A top NATO official said at least 1,000 Russian troops have entered Ukraine with sophisticated equipment and have been in direct "contact" with Ukrainian soldiers, resulting in casualties.

    The new southeastern front raised fears that the separatists are seeking to create a land link between Russia and Crimea, which Russia annexed in March.

    US Ambassador Samantha Power told the council: "Every single one has sent a straightforward, unified message: 'Russia, stop this conflict. Russia is not listening.'" 

    "Russia has come before the council to say everything but the truth," Power said.

    "We will continue working with G-7 partners to rachet up consequences on Russia," Power said, and France also threatened that sanctions will be increased if the escalation continues.


  • US state department says that it is seeing a "pattern of escalating aggression" by Russia in Ukraine, Reuters is reporting. 
  • Fifteen civilians have been killed in shelling in Ukraine's Donetsk - Reuters through city administration.
  • Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson has said that the UN Secretary General is alarmed by reports that the Ukraine fighting has spread southward. "If true," he says "it's a dangerous escalation".
  • Russian troops entering Ukraine is "an intolerable escalation" of the crisis there, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi told Russian President Vladimir Putin by telephone on Thursday.

    "Referring to the very serious news of Russian troops entering Ukraine today, Prime Minister Renzi reiterated that this is an intolerable escalation and would have very grave consequences," Renzi's office said in a statement.

    Renzi, who is also the current president of the EU, called on Putin to "rapidly return to the negotiating table". 
  • More than 100 Russian soldiers were killed in eastern Ukraine in a battle this month while helping pro-Russian separatists fight Ukrainian troops, two members of the Russian presidential human rights council said on Thursday, citing accounts of eye-witness and relatives of the dead.

    Ella Polyakova and Sergei Krivenko, both members of the council, said around 300 people were also injured in the violence on August 13 near the town of Snizhnye in Donetsk Province, when a column of trucks full of ammunition they were driving was hit by a sustained volley of Grad missiles.

    "A column of Russian soldiers was attacked by Grad rockets and more 100 people died. It all happened in the city of Snizhnye in Donetsk Province," said Krivenko speaking by telephone. 

    Polyakova said she had also been given the same figure, of more than 100, for the number of Russian soldiers killed in the attack.

  • Ambassadors from the 28 NATO countries and Ukraine will hold an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the situation in Ukraine, a NATO official told Reuters news agency on Thursday.

    The meeting is being held at Ukraine's request. Ukraine is not a NATO member but meets regularly with NATO in a body called the NATO-Ukraine Commission.

  • A handout photo provided by NATO allegedly shows Russian military units moving in a convoy formation with self-propelled artillery in the area of Krasnodon in Ukraine. A senior NATO official said on August 28, 2014 that "well over a thousand" Russian troops were operating inside Ukraine. [AP Photo]

  • Russia calls Switzerland sanctions unfounded and unfriendly 

    Sanctions imposed by Switzerland on Russia are unfounded and are copying unfriendly steps by the United States and European Union, Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued on Thursday.

    "We view these decisions.... as unfounded and as showing that the Swiss people, to the detriment of their own interests, are continuing to repeat the unfriendly steps by the United States and European Union towards Russia. " [Reuters]
  • Ukraine's ambassador to the OSCE accused Russia on Thursday of a "direct invasion" following reports that Russian troops were active in the conflict-torn east of the country. 

    "We registered a direct invasion by the Russian military into the eastern regions of Ukraine," Ihor Prokopchuk told journalists following a special meeting of the European security body to discuss the latest developments in Ukraine. 

    "The situation has significantly aggravated," he said in English, citing the capture "by regular Russian forces" of the key southeastern town of Novoazovsk and several other surrounding towns. 

    Ukraine views the latest developments as active aggression against Ukraine. 
  • Ukraine's PM tweeting:

    1 of 3

  • Here is our latest story:

    Ukraine rebels say Russia troops among forces

    Pro-Moscow separatist leader claims Russian troops on leave are fighting alongside his men against Ukrainian forces.
  • French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday that it would be "intolerable and unacceptable" if it was proved true that Russian troops had entered Ukrainian territory.

    "Europe will maintain (sanctions), even increase them if the escalation increases. I don't want it because it is neither in Russia's nor our interest," Hollande told an annual conference of French diplomats in Paris. 

    Russia cannot hope to be a 21st century power yet not respect the rules.

  • East Ukrainian pro-Russian separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko said serving Russian soldiers, on leave from their posts, are fighting Ukrainian troops alongside the rebels, Russian state television reported.

    Zakharchenko said in an interview posted on Vesti.ru:

    Among us are fighting serving soldiers, who would rather take their vacation not on a beach but with us, among brothers, who are fighting for their freedom.
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