The Asian Age

Putin ac­cuses Europe of ig­nor­ing Ukraine Army

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Moscow/ Rome/ Syd­ney, Sept. 1: Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin ac­cused Europe on Mon­day of ig­nor­ing the Ukrainian army “di­rectly tar­get­ing” civil­ians in the east of the coun­try.

The Ukrainian mil­i­tary “is di­rectly tar­get­ing its fire on res­i­den­tial ar­eas” and “un­for­tu­nately many coun­tries, in­clud­ing in Europe, pre­fer not to no­tice that,” he said from the east­ern Siberian city of Yakutsk in com­ments broad­cast on Rus­sian tele­vi­sion. Mr Putin char­ac­terised the goal of rebel op­er­a­tions as pro­tect­ing civil­ians. “The goal of the rebel forces is to push back ( Ukrainian) armed forces and ar­tillery so they can­not fire on res­i­den­tial ar­eas,” he said.

EU’s newly nom­i­nated for­eign pol­icy chief Fed­er­ica Mogherini said Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine pol­icy had re­sulted in eco­nomic sanc­tions that were hurt­ing his own peo­ple. Speak­ing in her first news­pa­per in­ter­view since be­ing tapped for the job on Satur­day, Ms Mogherini told Italy’s Cor­riere della Sera on Mon­day that sanc­tions re­mained “a tool” in bro­ker­ing what had to be a diplo­matic res­o­lu­tion to the Ukraine fight­ing.

“The point is whether the im­pact that the sanc­tions are hav­ing on the Rus­sian econ­omy will change the ra­tio­nal be­hav­iour of the lead­er­ship,” she said. Aus­tralia will toughen its sanc­tions against Rus­sia so they match those of the Euro­pean Union, Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott said on Mon­day.

Aus­tralia al­ready has some sanc­tions against Rus­sia, but Mr Ab­bott said th­ese would be tight­ened as a re­sult of Moscow’s per­sis­tent and de­lib­er­ate vi­o­la­tion of its neigh­bour’s sovereignt­y. by a Rus­sian ar­moured col­umn, took the town of Novoa­zovsk in the south­east last week and are now threat­en­ing the strate­gic port city of Mar­i­upol 40 km ( 25 miles) to the west.

Their seizure of part of the coast­line pro­vided them with a van­tage point from which to shell a coast guard pa­trol boat in the Sea of Azov on Sun­day, sink­ing it — the first ac­tion at sea in the con­flict.

Two mem­bers of the crew are miss­ing while eight were res­cued and are be­ing treated for in­juries.

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