News / Europe

G7 Leaders to Hold Crisis Talks on Ukraine

Ukrainians Stage Mass Unity Rally in Kyivi
Steve Herman
March 23, 2014 7:44 PM
Thousands of Ukrainians held a unity rally in the heart of their capital, a day after elite Russian forces stormed and took control of the last major Ukrainian military bases in Crimea. VOA's Steve Herman reports from Kyiv's Independence Square.
Watch related video by Steve Herman on Sunday's Ukraine unity rally in Kyiv
VOA News
President Barack Obama and other leaders of G7 industrialized nations are set to hold emergency talks Monday in The Hague to sharpen their response to the Russian annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula.
Details of the emergency meeting, set for the sidelines of a nuclear security summit, were not clear Sunday.  But analysts say the session appears aimed at coordinating Western sanctions imposed on Moscow since Russian troops crossed into Crimea earlier this month.

The group also is expected to further evaluate the cost of possible retaliatory measures from Moscow.
Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are set to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
NATO expresses concern
In Brussels Sunday, NATO's top commander warned that Russia has deployed a "sizeable" military force on its borders with Ukraine, and says Moscow may be seeking to expand its territorial reach into new areas.
U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove told attendees at a German Marshall Fund event that Moscow may be eyeing a small Russian-speaking separatist region on Ukraine's southwestern border known as Transdniester.
Breedlove says the NATO command finds the potential for a Russian move into the Transdniester region, which declared independence from Moldova in the 1990s, "very worrisome."
For its part, Moscow insists it is complying with international troop limits near the Ukrainian border. Additionally, Russia's defense chief sought last week to assure U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Russian troops massed near Ukraine had no intention of crossing the border.
The NATO warning on Transdniester comes a day after heavily armed Russian troops fired shots and used armored vehicles to smash through the gates of Ukraine's Belbek air base. Ukrainian forces inside the Crimean base offered no resistance.  Russian forces also took control of a Ukrainian naval base at Novofedorovka.

Ukraine unity rally

Thousands of Ukrainians gathered on Sunday in Kyiv's Independence Square calling for unity, a day after Russian forces seized the last major Ukrainian military base in Crimea. 
The rally participants gathered to hear pro-Ukraine speeches, display flags, and place flowers at the site of a makeshift memorial to anti-government protesters killed last month in clashes with security forces of the now toppled regime of president Viktor Yanukovych.
But even the challenge of Russian aggression Ukrainians will overcome, Andriy Parubiy, one of the speakers at the rally, told the crowds.

”Against military power, tanks and weapons there is spiritual power and the civilized world has said 'stop' to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and we will prevail like we prevailed on Maidan,'' said Parubiy, who heads the National Security and Defense Council in the new government.

Maidan, as Kyiv’s Independence Square is referred to, has been the epicenter of protests since last November when Yanukovych spurned a EU trade deal in favor of closer ties with Moscow.
In the eastern city of Donetsk, pro-Russian protesters gathered around an administration building, calling for the resignation of the local governor, who is loyal to Kyiv.

  • Priests from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church offer prayers to kick off a national unity rally. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • A paramilitary officer shows off the large tent in which he has been living for the past four months in Kyiv's central square. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Two men sit atop an armored personnel carrier in downtown Kyiv. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • A man wearing a Ukranian flag listens to speakers at a unity rally in Maidan, central Kyiv. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Hundreds remain encamped in central Kyiv's Maidan (Independence Square) even after the old government was ousted. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • A large burnt-out office building sits adjacent to the Maidan, where violent protests led to the ouster of Ukraine's government. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Participants at a unity rally in central Kyiv unfurl a giant flag. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Visitors to Maidan look at a makeshift memorial for two of the more than 100 people killed in anti-government protests earlier this year. (Steve Herman/VOA)

Congressional delegation in Kyiv

Members of a bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation visiting Kyiv say they have been told by all the Ukrainians they met Sunday that they will not yield “another inch” of territory to Russia and that the Ukrainians are ready to fight. 

The lawmakers, headed by Senator Kelly Ayotte, told reporters late Sunday they are optimistic tougher sanctions, other punitive legislation under consideration by their colleagues and a united front by western European countries can deter Russia from further provocations.
“They’ve won the battle of Crimea for now. And they may be anticipating going into eastern Ukraine tomorrow. But this won’t be a short battle. This will be something long term and we’re sure that our neighbors in NATO and democracy-loving nations will stand together in the long run,” said Congressman Stephen Lynch, a member of the group.

The delegation also included  Senator Joe Donnelly.

Blackouts in Crimea

Parts of Crimea were hit by power outages late on Sunday and the regional power company blamed them on technical problems in a power line from the Ukrainian mainland to the Black Sea peninsula, which has been wrestled away from Kyiv by Moscow.

Local residents said there was no electricity in several cities in Crimea, including in some districts of the provincial capital of Simferopol, though the city center was not affected.

Crimea's power provider Krymenergo said in a statement on its website it introduced partial power cuts after a line operated by Ukraine's national electricity company, Ukrenergo, was hit by a technical fault and went down for repairs.

Crimea’s new pro-Moscow authorities seized the opportunity to blame Kyiv, accusing it of blackmail.

”Reducing [the power] supply - is an attempt by Kyiv to blackmail Russia because of [what happened in] Crimea in order to be able to bargain for something. It’s a cheap trick…,” said the region’s de facto prime minister, Sergei Aksyonov, in a tweet.

Some reporting by Reuters

You May Like

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs