News / Europe

    Yanukovych Insists He's Still Ukraine's Leader

    Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych makes a statement during a news conference in the Russian southern city of Rostov-on-Don, March 11, 2014.
    Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych makes a statement during a news conference in the Russian southern city of Rostov-on-Don, March 11, 2014.
    Michael Eckels
    Referring to the forces that ousted him from office as "ultra-nationalists and neo-fascists", deposed president Viktor Yanukovych insists he remains Ukraine's sole legitimate leader and vowed to return to Kyiv soon.

    In his second public appearance since fleeing to Russia in late February, Yanukovych accused his opponents of working to put the country's army "under the banner of Bandera and start a civil war," a reference to a controversial World War II-era Ukrainian nationalist leader with ties to the Nazis.

    The massive click-clack sound from press photographers forced a smile on Yanukovych's face as he entered the conference hall. Eight minutes later, he turned and left, without taking questions.
     
    Yanukovych also criticized the United States for promising monetary aid to Ukraine's new government, and said he would appeal to the U.S. Congress, Senate, and Supreme Court to assess the legality of giving such aid, insisting U.S. laws prohibit giving money to "bandits."

    Yanukovych has been dismissed as a "political corpse" by Russian President Vladimir Putin and, in Ukraine, there is a warrant for his arrest on charges of mass murder.

    Referendum

    Crimea is moving ahead with plans to hold a referendum on unification with Russia. However, Ukraine's parliament warned Tuesday that the Crimean Assembly faces dissolution unless the March 16 referendum is called off by Wednesday.

    Crimea has closed its airspace to commercial flights but allowed several planes from Moscow to land, Reuters reported, five days ahead of  the referendum which the government in Kyiv and its Western backers say is illegal.

    • An armed man, believed to be a Russian serviceman, stands guard outside an Ukrainian military base in Perevalnoye, near the Crimean city of Simferopol, March 13, 2014.
    • A Ukrainian serviceman closes a gate as an armed man, believed to be a Russian serviceman, stands guard outside an Ukrainian military base in Perevalnoye, near the Crimean city of Simferopol March 13, 2014.
    • A woman walks past a barricade as a Ukrainian flag flutters in the wind in Kyiv's Independence Square, March 13, 2014.
    • People talk about developments in Ukraine at a central square next to a statue of Soviet revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin in Donetsk, Ukraine, March 12, 2014.
    • A woman passes by posters in support of Ukraine during the International poster campaign, Kyiv, March, 12, 2014.
    • People talk in Independence Square, Kyiv, March, 12, 2014.
    • A woman holds a dog sporting shoes and a ribbon in the colors of the Russian flag outside the regional parliament building in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine, March 12, 2014.
    • A member of a self-defense volunteer group, with makeshift shin guards bearing a picture of a wolf, polishes his boots in Kyiv's Independence Square, March 11, 2014. 
    • Members of a Crimean self-defense unit check the passport of a passenger at the railway station in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine, March 11, 2014. 

    Germany's foreign minister said the European Union will act if the Crimea vote goes forward as planned but didn't specify what possible measures the EU would take.

    Russia's foreign ministry said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry exchanged opinions on Tuesday "about concrete proposals by Russia and the United States to ensure civil peace and concord''. The ministry's statement said the two would continue to talk.

    The State Department said Kerry told Lavrov it is unacceptable for Russian forces to continue to take matters into their own hands in Ukraine.

    Meantime, after repeatedly being denied entry to Crimea, an unarmed OSCE military observer mission is scheduled to visit other parts of Ukraine, including Kyiv, soon.

    France warns Russia about sanctions

    French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius leaves after the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Feb. 19, 2014.French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius leaves after the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Feb. 19, 2014.
    x
    French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius leaves after the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Feb. 19, 2014.
    French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius leaves after the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Feb. 19, 2014.
    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France Inter radio Tuesday the West could impose sanctions against Russia as early as this week if Moscow does not respond positively to proposals to calm the crisis in Crimea.

    Russia and the West are locked in a tense standoff over pro-Russian forces' seizure of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula. The crisis in Crimea began late last month after former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kyiv following months of anti-government protests.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has complained that the U.S. proposals amount to "moving forward on the basis of a situation born out of a state coup."

    The situation is further complicated by the Crimea region's plans to hold a March 16 referendum on joining Russia -- a vote Fabius and other Western leaders have called "illegal."

    US stance

    U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine in the press briefing room at the White House in Washington, March 6, 2014.U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine in the press briefing room at the White House in Washington, March 6, 2014.
    x
    U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine in the press briefing room at the White House in Washington, March 6, 2014.
    U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine in the press briefing room at the White House in Washington, March 6, 2014.
    U.S. President Barack Obama will meet Ukraine's interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, at the White House on Wednesday. A White House statement said the visit will highlight the United States' strong support for the people of Ukraine, and will include talks on economic aid and preparations for May elections in Ukraine.

    In Kyiv Monday, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt reiterated that Washington will not recognize the results of the Crimean referendum.

    NATO said Monday it is deploying reconnaissance aircraft along the borders of member states Poland and Romania to monitor the crisis in Ukraine. It said the deployment is designed "to enhance the alliance's situational awareness." The U.S. has also initiated a new deployment of fighter jets to the region.

    Moscow has officially denied that its troops are participating in the occupation of Crimea, but witnesses say military personnel in unmarked uniforms arrived in Russian-registered vehicles earlier this month and freely admit to being Russian.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Aline from: Koenigsberg
    March 12, 2014 1:43 AM
    Yanukovych is the legal president, unlike the so-called new government in Kiev. But it's ok for the US to negotiate with it and give it money since the US made all possible to put it there. Check out the leaked conversation between Victoria Nuland and Pyatt to know the truth if you want. Western media keeps silent about it.

    by: Albert from: Spain
    March 11, 2014 1:31 PM
    Yanukovich,Putin, Lukashenko,Nazarbaev are evils of our time. There are tyrants who wanna rule by their countries forever. Ukraine wants to be part of EU. We must help them to do it. They are our friends...
    In Response

    by: Elena from: Russia
    March 12, 2014 2:21 PM
    Putin, Lukashenko,Nazarbaev are patriots of their countries. USA and EU easier to reach agreement with betrayer like Yatseniuk. EU speaks about luxurious life for new participants of EU but actually it is lie. EU destroyed local economy and agriculture in Bulgaria Romania Serbia Latvia Lithuania. Population these countries turn into poor. USA and EU are liars and hypocrites. You think Spain is democratic country. Then why Spain keep down Basque and Basque language? Why Spain doesn't give independence? They want to have own homeland.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora