Ukraine leader vows to punish rebels

2014-05-30 07:26
Ukrainian presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko gestures, during a press conference, in Kiev, Ukraine. (File, AP)

Ukrainian presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko gestures, during a press conference, in Kiev, Ukraine. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Kiev - Ukraine's president-elect Petro Poroshenko vowed to punish pro-Russian rebels who downed an army helicopter in the east of the country, killing 12 troops in one of the deadliest attacks of the insurgency.

The militants shot the Mi-8 helicopter gunship out of the sky with a sophisticated surface-to-air missile on Thursday, prompting the White House to say the incident raised concerns about the rebels being supplied "from the outside".

"We have to do everything we can to ensure no more Ukrainians die at the hands of terrorists and bandits. These criminal acts by the enemies of the Ukrainian people will not go unpunished," said Poroshenko, according to Ukrainian news agencies.

Defence Minister Mykhailo Koval was to give details on the attack near the industrial town of Slavyansk at a press briefing early on Friday.

One of the separatists' leaders made a surprise admission on Thursday that 33 out of more than 40 rebels killed during a raid on Donetsk airport this week were Russian nationals from Muslim regions such as Chechnya.

‘A national disaster’

The revelation challenged President Vladimir Putin's rejection of Russian links to the separatist drive and supports Kiev's claims that the rebels do not represent the true will of the miners and steel workers who have turned the east into the economic engine of Ukraine.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said late on Thursday there was "evidence of Russians crossing over, trained personnel from Chechnya trained in Russia, who've come across to stir things up, to engage in fighting".

Kerry urged Russia to take advantage of Sunday's presidential election and "build a road forward where Ukraine becomes a bridge between the West and the East".

Russian troops massed on Ukraine's borders are also moving back toward Moscow, but there are still "danger signs", he told PBS television.

Moscow meanwhile called on Kiev to impose an immediate ceasefire and urged the West to use its influence to prevent "a national disaster" in Ukraine.

"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," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Western-backed Poroshenko - winner of 54.7% of Sunday's vote and due to be inaugurated on 7 June - needs to avert another showdown with Russia that could see his economically teetering nation cut off from gas supplies by the start of next week.

But cash-strapped Ukraine appeared to avert the immediate threat of a gas cut-off when the European Union announced that a new round of talks between the EU, Russia and Ukraine will be held in Berlin on Friday.

EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, who will attend the meeting, said earlier this week Russia and Ukraine had a "good chance" of striking a deal by Sunday.

Rebels use Russian-made system

Yet the Kiev government's attention on Thursday was fixed on Slavyansk - an industrial city of 120 000 mostly ethnic Russians that was the first of a dozen towns and cities seized by the rebels in response to the February ouster in Kiev of a pro-Kremlin president.

"I just received information that near Slavyansk, the terrorists - using a Russian man-portable air defence system - shot down our helicopter," acting President Oleksandr Turchynov told parliament.

Those killed included General Volodymyr Kulchytskiy, six members of the National Guard force made up of volunteers and interior ministry troops.

It was the highest death toll since Ukraine lost 18 soldiers during hours of heavy fighting in the same Donetsk region on 22 May.

A separatist spokesperson had earlier told Russian news agencies that the helicopter was downed in a fierce battle that was still raging on the southern outskirts of Slavyansk.

Suspected as spies

The city's self-proclaimed "people's mayor" announced that four civilian monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) had been detained on suspicion that they were spies.

"No one arrested them. We detained them. Now we will work out who they are, where they were going and why, and we will let them go," Vyacheslav Ponomaryov told Russia's Interfax news agency.

He later told Russia's RIA Novosti agency that they were being held in the town of Makiivka on the eastern outskirts of Donetsk.

But the pro-Russian "prime minister" of the self-declared Republic of Donetsk added confusion over their fate, raising uncertainty about their whereabouts.

"We do not know where they are and we are looking for them," said Alexander Borodai, adding that the Slavyansk mayor had a tendency "to exaggerate things".

A source at the OSCE told AFP that the missing team - a Dane, an Estonian, a Swiss national and a Turk - included one woman and that negotiations for their release had been going on for some time.

Gas deadline

With the Berlin talks set for Friday Kiev has been relieved from a deadline to pay Russia $2bn under an EU-brokered agreement or face a halt in gas supplies next week that would also hit parts of Europe.

Russia and Ukraine launched their third gas war in less than a decade after Moscow decided to cancel its previous rebates and nearly double the price it charges Kiev for gas after Kremlin-backed president Viktor Yanukovych's fall in February.

About 15% of all gas consumed in Europe is pumped in from Russia through Ukraine and analysts say it is in both sides' interest to find a compromise.

Read more on:    osce  |  petro poroshenko  |  john kerry  |  viktor yanukovych  |  vladimir putin  |  russia  |  ukraine
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
35 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Cape Town - 16:15 PM
    Road name: Wet Weather
    RAIN across the greater Cape Town area - drive with care and use headlights - Allow Extra Tavel Time
  • Friday Kuils River - 09:28 AM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2775.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The day may have a fluctuating sensitive energy to begin with, but later when the Moon moves into dramatic and creative Leo you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.