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 Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs