Russian rebels take control of Novoazovsk

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, August 29, 2014
Posted in category Eurasia, Eurasia News
Comments Off on Russian rebels take control of Novoazovsk

imgUkraine’s president called an emergency meeting of the nation’s security council and canceled a foreign trip on Thursday, declaring that “Russian forces have entered Ukraine,” as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.

President Petro Poroshenko summoned the council as the strategic southeastern Ukraine town of Novoazovsk appeared firmly under the control of Russia-backed separatists.

“Today the president’s place is in Kiev,” Mr. Poroshenko said.

Russian markets dived as fears grew that the country was escalating its role in the conflict, a move that could provoke the U.S. and European Union to impose further sanctions on Russian businesses and individuals. Russia’s MICEX index dropped nearly 2 percent on Thursday, and major Russian banks VTB and Sberbank dropped more than 4 percent.

On Thursday morning, an Associated Press journalist saw rebel checkpoints at the outskirts of Novoazovsk and was told he could not enter. One of the rebels said there was no fighting in the town.

Mr. Novoazovsk, which lies along the road connecting Russia to the Russia—annexed Crimean peninsula, had come under shelling for three days, with the rebels entering on Wednesday. The southeastern portion of Ukraine along the Azov Sea previously had escaped the fighting engulfing areas to the north.

Mr. Poroshenko cancelled a visit to Turkey for the inauguration of newly elected president Recep Tayyip Mr. Erdogan and called a snap session of Ukraine’s security council.

“I have decided to cancel my visit to Turkey because of the sharp escalation of the situation in the Donetsk region… as Russian forces have entered Ukraine,” he said.

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