Putin Praises Rebels, Urges Them to Free Trapped Troops
Pro-Russian separatists say they will comply
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2014 7:24 AM CDT
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media after his talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

(Newser) – Moscow continues to insist it's got nothing to do with the Russian soldiers and tanks that have entered Ukraine to bolster pro-Russian separatists, but Vladimir Putin today made a point to praise the separatists' military moves. They have "achieved serious successes in stopping the armed operation by Kiev," said the Russian president in a message on the Kremlin website, reports Reuters. He also urged the rebels to let trapped Ukrainian soldiers retreat safely, reports the AP: "I call on the militia groups to open a humanitarian corridor for Ukrainian service members who have been surrounded, so as to avoid any needless loss of life, giving them the opportunity to leave the combat area unimpeded and reunite with their families, to return them to their mothers, wives, and children, and to quickly provide medical assistance to those who were injured in the course of the military operation."

The rebels appear ready to comply with what the New York Times calls a "rare direct address" from Putin. "With all respect to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the president of the country, which has helped us very much with moral support, we are ready to grant humanitarian corridors to the Ukrainian divisions surrounded in these pockets," said one leader. NATO, meanwhile, accused Russia of a "blatant violation" of its neighbor's sovereignty, reports the BBC, much as President Obama did yesterday. Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen dismissed Moscow's "hollow denials" that it hadn't deliberately sent troops over the border. Further sanctions will be on the table at an EU summit this weekend.

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Aug 30, 2014 9:54 AM CDT
"Further sanctions will be on the table at an EU summit this weekend." On the list, no more Kellogg's rice krispies. The President is actually causing John Deer to loose millions by not allowing them to export to Russia. Sounds like it's hurting us more than it does them since he's cut off all our exports. The Russians did pay money for this stuff don't you know and these companies will end up laying people off because of the down turn. Nothing like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Do you need anymore proof that the President does not think is decisions out and knee jerks at everything.
Aug 29, 2014 1:44 PM CDT
Putin continues to lie to the world much the same as Hitler did..... "I'm going into the Sudetenland (Poland, Czech., etc) to free the oppressed Germans who live there" Yeah, right
Aug 29, 2014 12:13 PM CDT
Russian Federation "Legal President," the Lag-Not, Act-Now Honorable Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin simply doesn't seem to fear obama's "so-called" sanctions, does he, who looks kind of like a rather muscular, young Russian-born Yul Brynner? Und, py kolly! I'm nut efen Vussian.