Ukraine crisis: Military claims 'Russian tanks have destroyed virtually every house' in Novosvitlivka

EU leaders are considering fresh sanctions against Russia

Russian tanks have "destroyed virtually every house" in the town of Novosvitlivka near Luhansk, Ukraine's military has said, as the EU considers fresh sanctions against Russia. 

Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the national security council, told journalists in Kiev that Russian tanks had entered the small Ukrainian town of Novosvitlivka on the border with Russia and fired on every house.

"We have information that virtually every house has been destroyed," Mr Lysenko added, without giving details on when the reported attack took place.

On Saturday, government troops said forces had pulled out of areas to the east of the border-area city of Luhansk because of pressure from rebels.

Mr Lysenko said Ukrainian forces had been surrounded by rebels in the town of Ilovaysk, about 12 miles east of the largest rebel-held city of Donetsk, for days.

"We are surrendering this city," Mr Lysenko told reporters. "Our task now is to evacuate our military with the least possible losses in order to regroup."

Earlier, the EU foreign policy chief called on Russia to “withdraw its forces from Ukraine” and to stop the flow of arms and personnel into the country.

Catherine Ashton expressed “deep concern” over "direct aggression by Russian forces" after a ministerial meeting in Milan.

Her comments came as Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko said his country is subject to "military aggression and terror" with thousands of Russian troops and hundreds of tanks in eastern Ukraine.

Kiev and the West have accused Russia of assisting the rebels throughout the conflict, a claim Moscow has consistently denied.

At a news conference in Brussels ahead of a European Union summit, Mr Poroshenko called for a strong EU response to counter increasingly fierce resistance from separatist rebels.

He told the conference: "There is a very high risk not only for peace and stability for Ukraine but for the whole peace and stability of Europe."

Speaking after talks with Mr Poroshenko, the EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso warned "Russia should not underestimate the European Union's will and resolve to stand by its principles and values",  as the 28-nation bloc prepares to consider new sanctions against Moscow.

The conflict has so far claimed over 2,600 lives in Donetsk and Luhansk.

"The opening of new fronts and the use of Russian regular forces (on Ukrainian soil) is not acceptable and represents a grave transgression," Mr Barroso added.

The United States and the EU have already imposed sanctions against Russian officials, several companies and the country's financial industry. 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk