News / Europe

Germany, US: Russia Contribution to Ukraine Peace Insufficient

A pro-Russian separatist poses for a picture atop a T-64 tank in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, July 16, 2014.
A pro-Russian separatist poses for a picture atop a T-64 tank in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, July 16, 2014.
VOA News

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Russia has not done enough to bring peace to eastern Ukraine, as EU leaders prepare to meet in Brussels to decide whether to toughen sanctions against Moscow.

Also Wednesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Russia has not taken the necessary steps to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine.

The United States and its European allies accuse Russia of arming pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.  They have demanded the Kremlin stop the cross-border flow of fighters and military hardware, threatening broader sanctions if it fails to do so.

The Pentagon says it is increasingly concerned about Russian military forces massed on the border with Ukraine.  It confirmed NATO estimates that 10,000 to 12,000 Russian troops are deployed there, adding the force "certainly has the capability to conduct operations on either side of the border."

Tensions between Moscow and Kyiv escalated Tuesday after a top Ukrainian defense official warned the country faced an imminent Russian military attack and Ukraine's security chief said he had "absolute proof" Russia was involved in the downing of a Ukrainian military transport plane a day earlier.

  • Rescuers remove damaged materials from a shattered five-story building that was damaged by a recent shelling, near the eastern Ukrainian town of Slovyansk, July 16, 2014.
  • Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk inspects positions held by Ukrainian servicemen, Slovyansk, July 16, 2014.
  • Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk inspects weapons seized from pro-Russian separatists as he meets with Ukrainian servicemen in the eastern town of Slovyansk, July 16, 2014.
  • Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk inspects weapons seized from pro-Russian separatists as he meets with Ukrainian servicemen, Slovyansk, July 16, 2014.
  • Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk (left) speaks to residents during a meeting, in Slovyansk, July 16, 2014.
  • A new volunteer of the Ukrainian self-defense battalion "Azov" holds a sunflower during a ceremony. He will take an oath of allegiance to his country during the ceremony, in Kyiv, July 16, 2014.
  • New volunteers of the Ukrainian self-defence battalion "Azov" walk in front of Saint Sophia Cathedral before taking their oath of allegiance to their country, in Kyiv, July 16, 2014.

Later Tuesday, 11 people were killed in an airstrike that destroyed an apartment building in the eastern Ukrainian town of Sniznhe.  Pro-Russian separatists blamed Ukraine's air force for the attack, while a Ukrainian military spokesman, in a thinly veiled accusation against Russia, called the airstrike a "cynical provocation."

Chancellor Merkel discussed the situation in Ukraine with U.S. President Barack Obama in a telephone call late Tuesday.  According to the White House, the two leaders "reaffirmed their commitment to work together with other allies to ensure Europe and the United States remain closely coordinated on measures to impose costs on Russia, as necessary, as well as to continue to support Ukraine’s long-term stability and prosperity."

Merkel and Obama had separate telephone calls Tuesday with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Suspending investments

The 28-nation EU has been under strong pressure from the U.S. and Ukraine to take a hard line against Russia.

The EU leaders will ask the bloc's bank, the European Investment Bank (EIB), to suspend financing of new public sector projects in Russia, the draft statement said.

EU countries will work together within the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to suspend EBRD financing of new projects in Russia, it said.

EU diplomats say taking action at the EBRD will be complicated as Russia is one of 64 countries that are shareholders of the bank.

Russia has traditionally been the biggest recipient of the London-based EBRD's funds - the bank lent 1.8 billion euros ($2.44 billion) there last year. The EIB pledged to lend more than one billion euros to Russia last year.

The EU will broaden the scope of asset freezes to target companies and other organizations “that are supporting materially or financially actions undermining or threatening Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence,” according to the draft statement.

If broadly interpreted, that change could have wide ramifications, potentially allowing the EU to target a range of Ukrainian or Russian companies.

The EU has so far imposed asset freezes on 72 people and two energy companies in Ukraine's Crimea region, which was annexed by Moscow earlier this year.

It has drawn up a list of hard-hitting sanctions on sectors of the Russian economy, but has held back from imposing them because some EU governments are wary of potential retaliation from Russia, the bloc's biggest energy supplier.

The White House's willingness to punish Russia without European backing comes as the Obama administration faces criticism that its repeated warnings about tougher sanctions are little more than empty threats.

"Sometimes I'm embarrassed for you, as you constantly talk about sanctions and yet, candidly, we never see them put in place," Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said during a Senate hearing on Ukraine with administration officials last week.

Obama administration officials argue that the sanctions that have been levied have had an impact on Russia's economy, citing International Monetary Fund statistics showing a downgrade in Russia's growth this year.

However, officials have acknowledged that the sanctions have not had an impact on Putin's decision-making in Ukraine.

State Department spokesman Jen Psaki said Tuesday that if Putin "cares deeply about his people, about the economy, his own country" the sanctions would shift his calculus

Regional cooperation programs

The EU leaders will also ask the EU's executive Commission to look into suspending EU bilateral and regional cooperation programs that benefit Russia. Projects dealing exclusively with civil society will be excluded, the draft said.

Some 450 million euros of EU funding are set to flow to Russia between 2014 and 2020 under various cooperation programs, according to the EU Commission.

The EU leaders will also ask officials to draw up proposals for further measure to restrict investment in Crimea, whose annexation by Russia is not recognized by the EU.

The leaders will say they expect international financial institutions not to finance any project that recognizes the annexation of Crimea, according to the draft, which could still be changed following leaders' discussions.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

You May Like

Arab League Delays Forming Joint Force

Delay grows out of one of original obstacles facing pan-Arab force, analysts say: 'They may agree on the principle, but they continue to argue about how to implement the project' More

Pakistan Demands Afghanistan Protect Its Kabul Mission, Staff

Officials in Islamabad say Afghan agents are harassing Pakistani embassy personnel, particularly those living outside of mission’s compound More

US Survey: Trump Lead Grows in Republican Presidential Contest

Quinnipiac University poll shows brash billionaire real estate mogul with 28 percent support among Republican voters More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Babeouf from: Republic of Ireland
July 16, 2014 8:28 AM
Yesterday the BRICS ,of which Russia a member, set up their own development bank.So the Russian government isn't likely to care about the loans. Western leaders are unable to admit that global economic power isn't any longer a Western monopoly. And their inability to adapt to the new global dispensation will have the same long run consequences as it had for the Dodo. The Russian regime acts as a lighting rod for spasmodic flashes of Western political bad temper. Meanwhile the real challengers to US hegemony continue their rise to pre-eminence unhindered . A clever use by the Chines regime of the Western presses anti Russian fetishism.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs