News / Europe

    Ashton: Ukraine 'Intends to Sign' Agreement with EU

    Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, left,  greets EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013.
    Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, left, greets EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013.
    VOA News
    European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych "intends to sign" a trade and cooperation agreement with the EU that he rejected last month, setting off massive anti-government protests.

    Ashton spoke to reporters in Brussels Thursday after holding talks with Yanukovych in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. She said it is clear that the short-term economic and financial issues Ukraine faces can be alleviated by signing the association agreement, bringing in fresh investment from EU nations.

    "Look, Yanukovych made it clear to me that he intends to sign the association agreement. What he talked about were the short-term economic issues that the country faces," she said. "And it is my view that those challenges, which are real, can be addressed by the support that not only comes from the European Union institutions, but actually by showing that he has a serious economic plan in signing the association agreement also will help to bring in the kind of investment that he needs."

    Meanwhile, anti-government protests continue, with demonstrators calling for closer ties with the European Union.

    After riot police converged on thousands of protesters in Kyiv's Independence Square Wednesday, the United States denounced the police actions and said it is considering its response, including possible sanctions.

    Opposition leaders in Kyiv have rejected a call by Yanukovych for talks aimed at ending the protests against his recent move to step back from the EU trade deal, in favor of boosting ties with Russia.

    Yanukovych issued an invitation late Wednesday for a national dialogue with religious, civic and opposition leaders, while urging protesters encamped in central Kyiv to avoid "confrontation and ultimatums."

    In rejecting the president's call, opposition leaders, including Punch Party head Vitaly Klitschko, have called for the release of prisoners detained since the protests began, as well as the resignation of  Yanukovych and his government.

    "On the one hand the president says he wants to sit at the roundtable, but on the other hand he sends out the police to disperse the people, and it is contrary to all proposals," Klitschkko said. "Our demands have not changed, I want to say it again."

    Klitschko spoke at a briefing with opposition leaders Thursday, a day after police retreated from a huge protest encampment in Kyiv's Independence Square after trying to dismantle a makeshift tent city erected by swarms of demonstrators.

    Ukraine's Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said they are requesting $27.5 billion in financial assistance from the European Union before it will sign an association agreement with the 28-nation bloc.

    For its part, Russia is seeking to form a trade bloc of former Soviet republics and satellite countries to rival the European Union, and has in recent months exerted strong economic pressure on its impoverished neighbor to scuttle the EU deal.

    In his annual address to parliament Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was hopeful that an agreement on Ukraine's political crisis would soon be reached, adding that Russia was not forcing Ukraine to join their customs union.

    "We are not imposing anything on anyone, but if our friends are willing to work jointly with us, we are prepared to continue this work at the level of experts," he said.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.