News / Europe

G7 Leaders to Hold Crisis Talks on Ukraine

Ukrainians Stage Mass Unity Rally in Kyivi
X
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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Head: Breach Won't Happen Again

Julia Pierson tells a House panel investigating a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid