News / Europe

    Ukraine's Poroshenko Urges Putin to Tighten Borders

    FILE - A Ukrainian soldier raises a Ukrainian flag on top of an armored personnel carrier at a checkpoint near the town of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine.
    FILE - A Ukrainian soldier raises a Ukrainian flag on top of an armored personnel carrier at a checkpoint near the town of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine.
    VOA News

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko urged President Vladimir Putin to strengthen Russian control over its borders to prevent militants and arms entering Ukraine after violence broke a truce there in a two-hour phone call on Sunday.

    The cease-fire, declared by Poroshenko on June 20 to allow for peace talks with the pro-Russian rebels, is due to expire at 1900 GMT on Monday, a deadline also set by EU leaders considering new sanctions against Russia.

    The cease-fire has been shaky since it started, with each side accusing the other of numerous violations.

    A statement issued by Poroshenko's office said he underlined Ukraine's willingness to maintain the cease-fire at least until Monday evening, but expressed concern about the situation, noting what he said were multiple violations of the truce by separatist fighters.

    He called on Putin to strengthen border controls from the Russian side to stop what Ukraine says is the flow of weapons, fighters and mercenaries.

    Cease-fire, sanctions

    The statement came after a four-way telephone conversation among the Ukrainian and Russian leaders, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    Merkel and Hollande encouraged the Ukrainian and Russian presidents to work on meeting the EU conditions, Hollande's office said in a statement.

    The EU's demands included the return of three border checkpoints to Ukrainian control, verification of the cease-fire by monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and talks to put Poroshenko's peace plan in place.

    The four leaders agreed to speak again on Monday, the statement added.

    The Kremlin's account of the conversation made no mention of the European conditions and stressed the joint call on Poroshenko not to resume his eastern campaign.

    It also once again urged Ukraine to accept "immediate" Russian humanitarian aid in the conflict zone. Kyiv suspects Moscow of planning to use such deliveries to smuggle arms to the rebel fighters.

    The four-way phone call was the latest in a series of discussions the four leaders have held in recent weeks in an effort to stop the fighting that has killed more than 400 people since April.

    The European Union has threatened more penalties on Moscow beyond existing asset freezes and visa bans unless pro-Russian rebels act to ease the crisis in eastern Ukraine by Monday.

    The United States has promised to move in lockstep with Europe on Russian sanctions in the Cold War-style confrontation over the future of the strategic ex-Soviet state.

    Russia's economy minister warned on Saturday that new sanctions could "seriously" impact growth that the International Monetary Fund believes may only reach 0.2 percent this year.

    But public statements in Moscow indicate it is busy preparing an economic counter-offensive that would put up prohibitive barriers to Ukrainian trade.

    Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday that Russia would treat Ukraine and the ex-Soviet states of Georgia of Moldova that signed their own EU deals on Friday "based on one criterium -- how (the agreements) might hurt Russian trade."

    Russian and EU ministers have tentatively agreed to meet on July 11 to discuss how Moscow's concerns might be best addressed.

    Violence near Slovyansk

    Ukraine's National Guard said on Sunday rebels had used tanks and mortar shells to fire on a checkpoint near the separatist stronghold of Slovyansk, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the border with Russia.

    “There were no casualties among the military personnel there,” its statement said. A spokesman for the operation told Channel 5 television that five soldiers had been killed in the past few days by rebel violence in violation of the truce.

    A woman points to a damaged building after shelling in the city of Slovyansk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, June 29, 2014.A woman points to a damaged building after shelling in the city of Slovyansk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, June 29, 2014.
    x
    A woman points to a damaged building after shelling in the city of Slovyansk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, June 29, 2014.
    A woman points to a damaged building after shelling in the city of Slovyansk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, June 29, 2014.


    Interfax news agency cited rebels as saying Ukrainian forces had shelled around Slovyansk, hitting a marketplace and an apartment building, causing injuries.

    Poroshenko, under pressure from the West to keep up the cease-fire during talks with the rebels, is facing rising anger over the truce, which some Ukrainians say is only giving the rebels time to regroup and rearm.

    Poroshenko, who accuses Moscow of fanning the violence in eastern Ukraine, on Friday extended the cease-fire until 10 p.m. (1900 gmt) on Monday, hours after returning from a summit in Brussels with EU leaders where he signed a landmark economic integration pact with Europe.

    The truce, his website said, was extended in line with a Monday deadline set by EU leaders for the rebels to agree to cease-fire verification arrangements, return border checkpoints to Kyiv authorities and free hostages including detained monitors of the OSCE rights and security watchdog.

    Pro-Russian separatists released four OSCE monitors late Saturday, the second of two groups detained last month.

    Moscow denies helping the insurgents and says it is the pro-Western Ukrainian government that is fanning the violence.

    Talks are meant to include separatists in Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, Ukrainian ex-president Leonid Kuchma as Kyiv's representative, Moscow's ambassador to Kyiv and members of the OSCE.

    But persisting violence has increased political pressure on Poroshenko, who promised to end the crisis in the east in a matter of weeks, to step up what he calls an anti-terrorism operation against the rebels.

    Hundreds of people rallied in central Kyiv on Sunday for Poroshenko to call an end to the cease-fire and boost operations in the two provinces, where separatists have seized state buildings and weapons arsenals.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Cayman
    June 30, 2014 3:17 PM
    There is not true, that Russia is sending troops or arms forms the border! This is the way how west make looks like that Russia is escalating crisis to acquit new sanctions!
    But the truce is that Ukrainian radicals are not disarmed! They are not following cease-fire plan and nobody punish them! More than that they were promised that they would not be prosecuted under the Penal Code!
    There is nor even the smell of peace that Poroshenko is talking about!

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    June 30, 2014 2:52 AM
    You tell them Putin! It is the pro-Western Unkraine fanning the violence! Those rebels, or pro-Russian seperatists, must be stealing all those RUSSIAN made weapons, tanks, missiles from your secured arsenals! Those pro-Russian seperatists are purposely making it look like RUSSIA is giving them weapons, tanks, missiles. You have nothing to do with it Putin, you are completely innocent. Right on Putin!!!

    This was caught on camera:

    Putin said, "Hey, stop it rebels, put those RUSSIAN weapons down!"

    the rebels said "no, Putee baby, we won't put these RUSSIAN weapons down, so nan-a-nan-a-boo-boo!"

    Putin said "Awe come on guys, it will look like I gave those RUSSIAN weapons to KILL UKRAINIANS. Plus I just put Pop-Tarts in the toaster, and I have to go to the store to get some milk or my mommy will slap me again!"

    rebels said "OK, Putee, now run along little doggie." (rebels snickering)

    by: sara from: Alaska
    June 30, 2014 2:28 AM
    Ukrainians love USA! Let them have a referendum where they vote to become a 51 USA state.

    by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
    June 29, 2014 9:46 PM
    I don’t believe that once Ukraine’s Poroshenko has strangled rebels in the East, all the woes for Ukraine will end by magic. Ukranians under Poroshenro should realistically weigh their prospects and become pragmatic. They will never again enjoy the best of TWO WORLDS – free trade with Russia as has been in the days gone-by and the generous and endless shower of hard currency from the EU. The EU countries don’t expect import of outdated Ukranian goods. So, how Ukraine will get its living? The EU isn’t going to shower for long and expects the Ukranians to fasten their belts, to moderate their appetites and start working hard, working very hard to modernize their country. I doubt that is in the Ukranian psyche.

    by: U_key from: home
    June 29, 2014 6:31 PM
    Russia can deliver humanitarian aid to Ukraine to distribute to the Ukrainian areas invaded by Russia. The Russians must be nuts to think that Ukrainians are going to allow any uninspected shipment to be supplied to Russian terrorists.

    by: Marat Durov
    June 29, 2014 5:46 PM
    Ukrainian hunta stop killing innocent people , US,GB EU stop assist in murdering young and old in East of Ukraine

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora