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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs