News / Europe

Foreign Ministers to Visit Kyiv Before EU Meeting

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.
Scott StearnsLisa Bryant
Foreign Ministers from France, Germany, and Poland will travel to Kyiv Thursday before an emergency European Union meeting to consider sanctions against Ukrainian leaders for violence authorities say has killed at least 26 people.  

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says he will travel with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.

"We shall meet tomorrow morning the different elements, the different actors in Kiev," he told a news conference. "And stemming from that we shall encourage them to find a way of dialogue. And stemming from that we will be back in Brussels to take decisions that are necessary."



Fabius spoke to reporters in Paris before meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who said Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych has a choice.

"The choice is between protecting the people that he serves, all of the people, and a choice for compromise and dialogue versus violence and mayhem," Kerry said.

He said Washington is also considering sanctions against Ukrainian leaders "in order to create the environment for compromise."

"Our desire is for Mr. Yanukovych to bring people together, dialog with the opposition, find a measure of compromise, and put the broad interests of the people of Ukraine out front," Kerry said. "We are convinced there is still space for that to happen.  The violence can be avoided, and in the end the aspirations of the people of Ukraine can be met."

Aides say President Barack Obama is being kept informed about the Kyiv situation while in Mexico for a meeting late Wednesday with the Mexican and Canadian leaders.

According to deputy U.S. National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, Washington believes the threat of sanctions could induce better behavior from Ukrainian leaders.

He said Wednesday's violent crackdown on protestors clearly impacts U.S. decision making.  If on the other hand, the government pulls back, releases prisoners and pursues dialogue with the opposition, he said, that would obviously factor into the Obama administration's calculus as well.

Hollande, Merkel back sanctions

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and French president François Hollande give a press conference on Feb. 19, 2014 at the Elysee Palace in Paris.German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and French president François Hollande give a press conference on Feb. 19, 2014 at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
x
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and French president François Hollande give a press conference on Feb. 19, 2014 at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and French president François Hollande give a press conference on Feb. 19, 2014 at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
Earlier Wednesday, during a joint news conference in Paris,  French and German leaders announced their backing for targeted sanctions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said both countries agree the European Union should slap sanctions against those behind Ukraine's worst violence to date.  Merkel would not say whether Ukraine's leader Victor Yanukovych should count among those targeted by possible EU sanctions.

"The political process must be relaunched, because only the political process can contribute to reestablishing peace," Merkel told reporters, "and we are searching all the contacts possible, including in the direction of Russia."

French President Francois Hollande said the bloc can't remain passive in the face of the bloodshed in Kyiv.

"Ukraine is not in Europe [as in the European union], but Ukraine is in Europe [geographically],"  Hollande said.

Anti-Yanukovych protests began in late November after the Ukrainian president backed away from closer political and economic ties to the European Union in favor of a $15 billion bailout from Russia.

Russia has repeatedly warned European powers to stay out of the affairs of the former Soviet republic.  EU sanctions to be considered Thursday in Brussels include a freeze on assets and a travel ban within the 28-member bloc.

Photo Gallery: Protesters, Police Clash in Kyiv

  • Anti-government protesters sing the national anthem as they gather at a barricade, central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • An anti-government protester throws a Molotov cocktail during clashes with riot police, Independence Square, Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • A woman carries sandwiches as anti-government protesters gather in Independence Square, central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • An anti-government protester stands behind a barricade during clashes with riot police in Independence Square, Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters gather in Independence Square in central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • A man who was injured during clashes between anti-government protesters, Interior Ministry members and riot police receives medical treatment inside Mikhailovsky Zlatoverkhy Cathedral (St. Michael's golden-domed cathedral), Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • Riot police officers spray anti-government protesters with water in Independence Square in central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters throw stones towards Interior Ministry officers during a rally, near Parliament, in Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters throw stones at the office of the pro-presidential Party of the Regions, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters escort an unidentified man after attacking an office of the pro-presidential Party of the Regions, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • A woman carries stones during clashes between anti-government protesters and Interior Ministry members, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters burn the Party of the Regions flags, calendars and booklets during a rally, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs