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

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora