Friday, February 27, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Rebels down helicopter; another big loss for Kiev

Ukraine

Barrels of an anti-aircraft gun and an APC are seen outside the administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Thursday, May 29, 2014. Pro-Russian militia in eastern Ukraine shot down a government military helicopter Thursday amid heavy fighting around Slovyansk, killing 14 soldiers including a general. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

By
From page A10 | May 30, 2014 |

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — In another devastating blow to Ukraine’s armed forces, rebels shot down a troop helicopter Thursday, killing at least 12 soldiers, including a general who had served in the Soviet army and was in charge of combat training.

The loss underscored the challenge Ukrainian forces face in fighting a guerrilla-style insurgency that has proven to be an agile foe.

Ukraine, meanwhile, announced that President-elect Petro Poroshenko will be sworn in June 7, less than two weeks after his overwhelming victory in special balloting that was hoped would ease tensions in the deeply divided country. Poroshenko has promised to negotiate with representatives in rebellious eastern Ukraine but also has vowed to uproot the pro-Moscow rebels who want the region to join Russia.

The Mi-8 helicopter was downed on the outskirts of Slovyansk by rebels using a portable air defense missile, according to Oleksandr Turchynov, Ukraine’s acting president, in remarks to parliament in Kiev. Slovyansk, a city of 120,000 people, has become a focal point for the insurgency and has for weeks been encircled by Ukrainian troops.

Turchynov said the helicopter was rotating troops into a checkpoint when it came under rebel fire. Among the dead was Gen. Serhiy Kulchytskiy, who the Interfax news agency said had once served in the Soviet army and was in charge of training Ukraine’s National Guard.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. hasn’t verified what happened in the incident, but he added that Washington is concerned because it indicates the separatists still have access to advanced weapons and are getting help from outside Ukraine, alluding to Russia.

While Ukrainian forces may be better equipped that their opponents, fears the fighting could degenerate into brutal urban warfare have so far held authorities back from ordering an all-out assault.

“It is extremely difficult to fight against guerrillas. You just cannot destroy them. They are not regular troops,” said Igor Sutyagin, a research fellow at the London-based Royal United Services Institute. “It’s the classic problem which Russia had in Chechnya and the United States had in Vietnam.”

The Ukrainian government has been waging a military campaign in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to try to put down the uprising by gunmen who have taken over public buildings and set up checkpoints. Dozens have been killed on both sides, including on Monday, when Ukrainian forces used fighter jets and helicopter gunships to dislodge rebels from the airport outside the city of Donetsk, the regional capital.

In recent days, Ukrainian troops have been using mortars to try to retake Slovyansk, causing civilian casualties and prompting some residents to flee. The tactic has produced few immediate results other than deepening distrust toward the government in the city and instilling general fear.

“They are shooting at us from grenade launchers. We hear explosions. The windows of our house are shaking,” said Olga Mikhailova, who said she was leaving Slovyansk for the safety of her family. “I have four children. It is terrifying being here, because I am afraid for their lives.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry denounced the use of aircraft and artillery against the rebels and demanded that Kiev end a “fratricidal war and launch a real political dialogue with all political forces and representatives of the regions.”

It would be impossible to restore peace without Kiev halting the military operation against the rebels and withdrawing its troops, the ministry said. It urged the West to use its influence with Kiev to “stop Ukraine from sliding into a national catastrophe.”

In an apparent bid to de-escalate tensions and avoid a new round of Western sanctions imposed after Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula in southern Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ignored the appeal by the separatists to join with Russia. His spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Moscow has agreed to send “humanitarian aid” to eastern Ukraine.

Kiev condemns the insurgents as “terrorists” bent on destroying Ukraine and accuses Russia of fomenting the unrest. Russia denies that, saying it has no influence over the rebels, who insist they are only protecting the interests of Russian-speakers in the east.

The Ukrainian offensive has been hindered by a lack of experience and poor communication among its troops — a mixture of soldiers, police, a newly formed National Guard and a number of often unaccountable volunteer battalions.

“As they have gained experience, they are becoming more efficient. But this has been limited by lack of cooperation, organization and coordination between divisions,” said Mykola Sungurovskiy, a defense analyst with the Kiev-based Razumkov Center.

Poor coordination was on display May 23 when an insurgent attack on a government checkpoint in the town of Volnovakha resulted in an airstrike that killed 16 soldiers in an apparent case of friendly fire.

Disorganization plagues the rebels, too. Dozens of fighters from the insurgents’ Vostok Battalion briefly surrounded the separatists’ headquarters in Donetsk on Thursday in the most serious instance of infighting seen among the militants.

The standoff apparently was provoked by anger in the battalion, which is understood to be heavily made up of men from Russia’s North Caucasus, at reports of their allies looting a supermarket near the Donetsk airport after Monday’s deadly battle. Several dozen Vostok Battalion militiamen, including 34 Russian citizens, were killed in the fight for the airport.

The confrontation ended with the militiamen seizing the looted goods and bulldozing away the barricades that have stood outside the administration building since early April, when the self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic announced its formation.

The morale among Ukrainian armed forces could also become an issue. In one episode reported this week by NTV, a pro-Kremlin Russian broadcaster, the parents of conscripts descended upon a Ukrainian Interior Ministry base in the Luhansk region to take their sons home.

An announcement Thursday by acting Defense Minister Mykhailo Koval that no troops involved in eastern Ukraine would be rotated out of the region could likely sour moods further. Koval blamed a lack of personnel.

Political analyst Vladimir Fesenko argues that Ukraine’s military leaders might have wanted to push for maximum results from the offensive in the Donbass, as the eastern region is called, before Poroshenko takes office.

“The Ukrainian generals wanted to show Poroshenko they could act more effectively,” said Fesenko, who is based in Kiev. “If operations in Donbass are ineffective, then Poroshenko will come to power and appoint new people. This is why the Ukrainian military leadership wanted to show Poroshenko that they could work effectively.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Fairfield mayor ready to share a whale of a tale

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1, 2 Comments

 
Nonagenarian recounts life as spy in World War II

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
 
2-day event will focus on bullying prevention

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Republican women to hear about immigration reform

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Wolk to chair committee on state’s wine industry

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Kaiser offers Capoot scholarships

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

 
Suisun City police log: Feb. 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Feb. 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Llamas on the loose trends on Twitter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Two inured in hazmat explosion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

No charges yet for train crash truck driver

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Not guilty plea for suspect in Hollywood exec murder

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
After 67 years of marriage, couple dies holding hands

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Missing 400-year-old Italian books found in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Sacramento man pressured to remove swastikas

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Feds: 3 accused in Islamic State plot vocal about beliefs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Saudi man convicted of conspiracy in ’98 US embassy bombings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Panel: Use new meningitis vaccines only for outbreaks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
House GOP weighs new approach on Homeland Security

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Vandalism in Arizona shows the Internet’s vulnerability

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Prosecutor: Mom craved attention, poisoned child with salt

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Ukraine, rebels start pulling back heavy weapons in the east

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
‘Jihadi John’ raised in UK, studied computers, reports say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Feb. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Feb. 27, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Feb. 27, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
I’m worried about how my wife’s erratic behavior is affecting our kids

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Feb. 27-March 5, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Conan O’Brien takes his show to Cuba for a special hour

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Review: Smith, Robbie pour on the charm in sharp ‘Focus’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Custom dress Lupita Nyong’o wore at Oscars reported stolen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

ABC’s Sawyer does prime-time prison special

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Q&A: Writer-director-actor Mark Duplass is a busy guy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Actor Will Patton charged with DUI in native South Carolina

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
AP Exclusive: Redmayne lends voice to “Thomas & Friends”

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment Calendar: Feb. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
Tea Leoni in a happy state as star of ‘Madam Secretary’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Graceland brings Elvis back to his Las Vegas home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Sports

LeBron scores 42, Cavs beat Warriors for 18th win in last 20

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
 
A’s begin baseball’s mandatory domestic violence training

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Earthquakes set to open new MLS stadium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
IOC member, once critical of Rio, now sees ‘great progress’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Judge rules for Peterson, opening door for reinstatement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Herman survives windy day; McIlroy stumbles at Honda Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Roberts, NBA writers open discussion over locker room access

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
IOC relaxes rule on athletes and sponsors during Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Nevada gambling regulators sign off on Olympic betting

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Video shows Hernandez dancing near gas pump before killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Kings’ Collison to have surgery, re-evaluated in 3-6 weeks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
AP source: 49ers to bid to host college football title game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Bulls say Rose to have surgery on Friday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

NASCAR back on track for extra day of testing in Atlanta

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
No word on possible MLB discipline for Angels star Hamilton

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Giants closer Casilla hit on shin during batting practice

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
LeBron not happy colleges recruiting 10-year-old son

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Business

Volkswagen Jetta is a pleasure to live with, not just to gawk at

By Washington Post | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
5 things to know about ‘net neutrality’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Regulators approve tougher rules for Internet providers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Strong reliability scores should help Buick brand’s rebirth

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Nissan executive known as ‘father of the Z’ dies at 105

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Walmart CEO wading through mounting issues

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Pew study: Americans still stressed despite improved economy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Facebook allows users to ‘fill in’ gender option

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment

Medical marijuana passes tough first hurdle in Utah

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Applications for US jobless aid rise to 313,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Google looks for more revenue from ads in Android app store

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Donald Grimm

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9