News / Europe

    Ukrainian, Russian FMs Agree to Discuss Resuming Cease-fire

    Pro-Russian fighters stand in their positions as they patrol the airspace near Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, July 2, 2014.
    Pro-Russian fighters stand in their positions as they patrol the airspace near Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, July 2, 2014.
    VOA News

    The foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany have agreed that talks aimed at resuming a cease-fire between Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatist forces should begin no later than Saturday.

    The four top diplomats said in a statement after meeting in Berlin on Wednesday that the goal of the talks among representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the separatists would be "reaching an unconditional and mutually agreed sustainable cease-fire" to be monitored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

    No venue or other details of the talks had been announced by early Thursday.

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared a unilateral cease-fire on June 20, extended it once, but ended it on Monday after nearly 30 soldiers were reportedly killed and dozens wounded during the truce.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking after the Berlin meeting, condemned the Ukraine leader's decision to end the unilateral cease-fire.  He said that decision cost lives in eastern Ukraine and the "serious destruction of civilian infrastructure."

    But he also vowed that Moscow would use its influence with separatist leaders to bring about a bilateral truce.

    While some separatist leaders said they would observe a truce to run parallel with Kyiv's earlier cease-fire, the Ukrainian government accused the rebels of violating it more than 100 times.  Poroshenko refused to extend the cease-fire a second time and resumed military operations in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday.

    A spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, Andriy Lysenko, said Wednesday that at least five Ukrainian servicemen had been  killed and 21 wounded over the previous 24 hours, while "hundreds" of rebel fighters died in the intensified fighting.

    Lysenko said government forces had retaken three settlements from rebel forces and hit 120 separatist targets, while the separatists carried out 19 attacks on military convoys, checkpoints and positions.

    Lysenko also claimed that Russia was blocking separatist fighters from fleeing into Russia.

    Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksiy Dymtrashkivsky was quoted as saying that separatists in the Donetsk region hit a Ukrainian Su-24 fighter jet with a shoulder-launched missile, but that the aircraft managed to land with only one working engine.

    Russia's Itar-Tass state news agency quoted a separatist source as saying government forces massively shelled the city of Kramatorsk starting Tuesday evening and into Wednesday.

    Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Berlin Wednesday that she could not rule out further sanctions against Russia. The United States and its European allies accuse Russia of arming the separatists in eastern Ukraine.

    Merkel said it was "regrettable" that Kyiv's 10-day cease-fire had not ended the violence.

    On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin directly blamed Poroshenko for the renewed fighting. He also said Russia would continue to "vigorously" defend the rights of Russians abroad, using "all available means" including “international humanitarian law" and "the right of self-defense.”

    Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

    • A military vehicle bearing a Ukrainian flag at a checkpoint near Slaviansk in eastern Ukraine, July 3, 2014.
    • A woman holds a sign a protest against the crisis in eastern Ukraine orgainsed by the Russian communist party in Moscow ,July 3, 2014.
    • Volunteers from the Donbass battalion and Maidan self-defense group stand guard with official security guards outside the Ukrainian parliament in Kyiv, July 3, 2014.
    • Relatives grieve after traffic police officers were attacked by unknown assailants in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, July 3, 2014.
    • Pro-Russian fighters stand patrol near Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, July 2, 2014.
    • Workers remove concrete slabs from a school damaged through attacks, in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, July 2, 2014.
    • People carry their belongings as they walk to cross the border into Russia at the Ukrainian-Russian border checkpoint in Severniy, Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine, July 2, 2014.
    • Municipal workers remove tires as they dismantle barricades set up during the protests that toppled Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovych in central Kyiv, July 1, 2014.
    • A man and his daughter walk to a pumping station to get water in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk, July 1, 2014.
    • An armed pro-Russian separatist stands guard at a check point in the Ukrainian eastern city of Slovyansk, July 1, 2014.
    • A woman and children walk past a damaged street market in the Ukrainian eastern city of Slovyansk, July 1, 2014.
    • People collect water at a pumping station in the Ukrainian eastern city of Slovyansk, July 1, 2014.
    • Valery, who gave only his first name, carries his injured cat in front of his damaged house after shelling, in the city of Slovyansk, June 30, 2014.
    • A man looks out of a window of his apartment, which was damaged by shelling, in Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine, June 30, 2014.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Goodbye Ketchup, Hello Sriracha!

    How immigrants are triggering a great transformation in American cuisine

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    July 04, 2014 4:08 AM
    This only benefits the innocent people caught in the crossfire on both sides. Plus, Russia has been exposed for esccalting this crisis by pretending to be an innocent player of this crisis that Russia has blamed on the West. Yeah, it was the West that gave the rebels all those Russian weapons to kill Ukrainians in there own country. Man, when will I stop repeating that RUSSIA gave RUSSIAN weapons to rebels to kill UKRAINIANS in UKRAINE!!!!! I don't think anyone believes me, especially the pro-Russian sympathizers. I'm shocked!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora