Kiev attacks on 2 fronts; Poroshenko preps to meet Merkel, Putin
DONETSK, Ukraine — Government troops pressed attacks Tuesday in the two largest cities held by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, even as Kiev pursued diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict that has killed more than 2,000 and displaced 300,000.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko prepared to host German Chancellor Angela Merkel this weekend before heading to a meeting next week with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The next two weeks “will be crucial for finding the way to move from war to peace,” said Valery Chaly, the deputy head of Poroshenko's administration.
He said in a televised briefing that Kiev sees “clear diplomatic roadmap” ahead and expressed hope that a new approach could be found to end the war.
Poroshenko's efforts to quell the insurgency have been focused on encircling Donetsk, the largest rebel-controlled city and a regional capital. Fighting began in mid-April after Russia annexed Crimea, a peninsula on the Black Sea, while Kiev's forces have recaptured significant amounts of territory from the separatists.
Moscow has denied allegations by Kiev and the West that it has fomented the rebellion in the Russian-speaking parts of eastern Ukraine. It says the Ukrainian government has discriminated against residents of the region who seek closer ties to Russia.
In fighting Tuesday, one soldier was killed and four were wounded when a pro-Kiev battalion of volunteers came under mortar fire before entering the town of Ilovaysk, 18 kilometers (11 miles) east of Donetsk, Ukrainian officials said.
Among the wounded in Ilovaysk was the commander of the Donbass battalion, Semyon Semenchenko, who said his forces had destroyed three rebel checkpoints and four firing positions and that fighting continued. Semenchenko, who appears in public in his trademark balaclava, has cult hero status in Ukraine for his battlefield exploits.
Ukrainian troops also captured a neighborhood in the regional capital of Luhansk, battling rebels on the city's streets.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.