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

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs