Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Russian troops attacking Mariupol, Ukrainian militia leader says

MARIUPOL, Ukraine — Hopes for a rumored truce were shattered Thursday in this strategic eastern port as Russian troops attacked Ukrainian positions near the city with heavy artillery and missile fire, a Ukrainian militia leader said.

"It is a totally new game," said Oleg Odnorozhenko, deputy commander of the volunteer Azov Battalion, adding that the city's fighters are being attacked by regular Russian army troops, not just mercenaries and homegrown separatists.

The barrage on the outskirts of Mariupol coincided with declarations by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and leaders of the separatist militants in the country's east that a cease-fire was in the offing at negotiations today in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.

But both sides made it clear that a halt in the conflict was contingent on the other side in effect capitulating.

Although authorities in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, have refused to negotiate with the separatists, the meeting in Minsk brings together representatives of the government and the separatists, Russia's ambassador to Ukraine and veteran diplomats of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The OSCE is the only international security forum to which both Russia and Ukraine belong.

"Tomorrow in Minsk a document will be signed providing for the gradual introduction of the Ukrainian peace plan," Poroshenko told reporters on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Wales, where leaders of the Western military alliance expressed solidarity with his fight to keep Ukraine intact.

Poroshenko's own formula for ending the conflict requires that the separatists lay down their arms and relinquish seized territory in exchange for negotiations on more autonomy for their regions within Ukraine.

Putin has denied that Russian troops or armor are engaged in the conflict, an assertion undermined by satellite images last week showing columns of Russian tanks and guns crossing the border.

Odnorozhenko said the columns that pushed across the border began striking at Mariupol's perimeter on Thursday.

"At first they tried our defenses with a tank raid, and when our firing positions revealed themselves they threw all their artillery at us," the militia commander said, describing the opposing forces as "very thorough and very professional."

Russian troops attacking Mariupol, Ukrainian militia leader says 09/04/14 [Last modified: Thursday, September 4, 2014 10:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Whatever USF has to say about Temple waits till Thursday


    "The holes were wide open. Anyone could have run through them."

    South Florida Bulls cornerback Mazzi Wilkins (23) intercepts a pass during the second half of the home opener for the South Florida Bulls against the Stony Brook Seawolves at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. 'Rick and Morty' Rickmobile is coming to Tampa next week


    We now have details on when and where Rick and Morty's belching Rickmobile will be when the rolling promo for the cult hit Adult Swim show swings through Tampa on Sept. 27.

    Ricky and Morty fans will head to the Lowry Parcade and Tavern in Tampa on Sept. 27 where a pop-up merch store that will operate out of a Rick Sanchez-shaped truck.
  3. Joe Henderson: Other good works can't balance theft from vulnerable victims


    What price can you put on your good name?

    This renovated group home once was operated by HARC. The group's former CEO Richard Lilliston was credited with raising millions for the agency but has been sentenced to prison for stealing Social Security from clients with developmental disabilities. [Times file]
  4. Clean Bandit postpones Oct. 3 concert at the State Theatre until 2018


    Believe it or not, here's a concert postponement that DOESN'T have anything to do with Hurricane Irma.

    Clean Bandit
  5. Five reasons why Kentucky can beat Florida for the first time since 1986


    By Matt Baker

    GAINESVILLE — Florida's 30-game winning streak over Kentucky is one of the most impressive feats in the country.

    Florida Gators offensive lineman Martez Ivey (73) celebrates Florida Gators running back Mark Thompson's  (24) touch down in the first quarter, putting Florida on the board 6-0 during the game between the University of Florida and the University of Kentucky in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Gainesville, Fla. Florida defeated Kentucky 45-7. ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times