Ukraine orders humanitarian corridors for civilians in east

Ukrainian forces guard at a check-point near the eastern city of Amvrosievka. The president has ordered the creation of humanitarian corridors in the east. AFP Photo

Ukraine’s new president June 10 ordered the creation of humanitarian corridors in the separatist east that could save civilians and advance his plan to end nearly two months of fighting by the end of the week.

Tycoon Petro Poroshenko’s initiative meets a major demand put forward by Moscow and helps address growing concern among rights groups about Kiev’s use of tanks and air power in heavily populated areas to suppress the pro-Russian insurgency.

But the 48-year-old chocolatier and political veteran stopped well short of accepting the Kremlin’s request to allow Russian aid into the eastern rustbelt, a move Kiev fears could be used to help arm the rebels.

NATO in fresh war games

“In order to avoid new victims in the zone of the anti-terrorist operation, the president has ordered the responsible ministers to bring about all necessary conditions for civilians who want to leave,” Poroshenko’s office said in a statement. Meanwhile, NATO launched one of its largest military maneuvers on June 9 in the Baltic states.

Around 4,700 troops and 800 military vehicles from 10 countries including Britain, Canada and the United States are participating in the Sabre Strike exercises near the Latvian capital Riga.    

Russia has voiced its objections to the maneuvers, which moved to neighboring Lithuania June 10. The exercises are being held in the Baltic states from June 9 to 20. Denmark, Finland and Poland are among the other NATO members involved.

Separately, the U.S. Air Force has deployed two nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers to a British air base for exercises with NATO allies. The Pentagon said it was pre-planned and short-term move. The two B-2 bombers arrived June 8 at RAF...

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