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AP Exclusive: Test finds Chornobyl residue in Belarus milk

GUBAREVICHI, Belarus—On the edge of Belarus’ Chornobyl exclusion zone, down the road from the signs warning “Stop! Radiation,” a dairy farmer offers his visitors a glass of freshly drawn milk. Associated Press reporters politely decline the drink but pass on a bottled sample to a laboratory, which confirms it contains levels of a radioactive isotope …

Ukraine’s embattled prime minister resigns

MINSK, Belarus—Ukraine’s embattled prime minister announced Sunday that he is resigning, opening the way for the formation of a new government to end a drawn-out political crisis. In his weekly televised address, Arseniy Yatsenyuk said his resignation would be formally submitted to parliament on Tuesday. The same day, parliament was expected to vote to elect …

Ukraine: Phone calls prove rebels attacked city, killed 30

KIEV, Ukraine — Intercepted radio and telephone conversations prove that Russian-backed separatists were responsible for firing the rockets that pounded Ukraine’s southeastern city of Mariupol and killed at least 30 people, President Petro Poroshenko said Sunday during an emergency meeting of his Security Council. U.S. President Barack Obama also put the blame on Moscow, warning …

Shelling in rebel-held Ukraine kills 4

DONETSK, Ukraine — Sustained shelling in the main rebel stronghold in eastern Ukraine struck residential buildings and a hospital, killing at least four people and wounding 10 others, officials said, as government forces pressed forward in their campaign to rout the separatists. Mortar fire struck the Vishnevskiy Hospital in Donetsk on Thursday morning, killing one …

Rebels to give MH17 black box to aviation group

DONETSK, Ukraine — Rebels have recovered the black boxes from downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and will hand them over to the International Civil Aviation Organization, a rebel leader said Sunday. Alexander Borodai also said the bodies recovered from the crash site in eastern Ukraine would remain in refrigerated train cars at a station in …

Ukraine begins peace talks without separatists

KIEV, UKRAINE — European-backed peace talks on ending Ukraine’s crisis began with little promise Wednesday when pro-Russian insurgents – who weren’t even invited to the session – demanded that the Kiev government recognize their sovereignty. The “road map” put forth by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe calls for national dialogue as a first …

2 Pro-Russia insurgents killed by Ukrainian forces

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — Ukrainian forces moved in and killed at least two pro-Russia insurgents in the country’s tumultuous east Thursday, an escalation that prompted new threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin. In an immediate reaction, Russia’s defense minister said troops massed near Ukraine’s border were starting new military exercises. The statements by Putin and Defense …

Mayor held hostage by militant men in eastern Ukraine

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — When armed men seized the police station in this eastern Ukrainian city, mayor Nelya Shtepa declared she was on their side. She changed her story a few days later. Then she disappeared – the victim of an apparent abduction by the man who now lays claim to her job. On Tuesday, she …

Ukraine, Russia point fingers for eastern shootout

BYLBASIVKA, Ukraine — Within hours of an Easter morning shootout at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement blaming militant Ukrainian nationalists and Russian state television stations aired pictures of supposed proof of their involvement in the attack that left at least three people dead. The Ukrainian …

Pro-Russian insurgents seize armored vehicles

  SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — Pro-Russian insurgents commandeered six Ukrainian armored vehicles along with their crews and hoisted Russian flags over them Wednesday, dampening the central government’s hopes of re-establishing control over restive eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian soldiers manning the vehicles offered no armed resistance, and masked pro-Russian militias in combat fatigues sat on top as …

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