News / Europe

White House: US, Europe Set to Impose New Sanctions on Russia

UN Commissioner: MH17 Downing Could Be A War Crimei
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 29, 2014 12:33 AM
The U.N. high commissioner for human rights says the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in rebel-held eastern Ukraine "may amount to a war crime." Commissioner Navi Pillay's assessment Monday came as an international team of investigators and police was again prevented from visiting the site after heavy fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from Kyiv.
Related video report by Henry Ridgwell:
VOA News

A senior White House official says the United States expects the European Union to impose new, tougher sanctions on Russia for its continued support of separatists in eastern Ukraine, and that the United States also will take additional measures against Moscow.

Tony Blinken, a deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama, spoke to reporters in Washington Monday after Obama discussed the situation in eastern Ukraine in a joint telephone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

The White House said the four leaders "agreed on the importance of coordinated sanctions measures on Russia for its continued transfer of arms, equipment, and fighters into eastern Ukraine," including since the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. They also agreed to "press Russia to end its efforts to destabilize the country and instead choose a diplomatic path for resolving the crisis."

Blinken said Russia has used the international attention to the downing of the Malaysian airliner as "a cover and distraction" to increase its deliveries of heavy weaponry, convoys of tanks, multiple rocket launchers, artillery and armored vehicles to the rebels. He added there is evidence Moscow is preparing to deliver "even more powerful multiple rocket launchers."

He said Washington expects the EU to take significant steps this week, including in "key sectors of the Russian economy," and that the United States also will implement "additional measures" in coordination with its European allies.

Russia, meanwhile, said it would not impose tit-for-tat measures or “fall into hysterics” over Western sanctions.

“We can't ignore it. But to fall into hysterics and respond to a blow with a blow is not worthy of a major country,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

He added that sanctions could in fact have the opposite effect of making Russia more economically independent.

UN: Downing of MH17 could be 'war crime'

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights says the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in rebel-held eastern Ukraine could be ruled a “war crime." 

Navi Pillay said Monday in a statement "the horrendous shooting down" of the aircraft on July 17 was a violation of international law that "may amount to a war crime."   She called for a "prompt, thorough, effective, independent and impartial investigation" into the downing of the plane.

A man walks past wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region, July 26, 2014.A man walks past wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region, July 26, 2014.
x
A man walks past wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region, July 26, 2014.
A man walks past wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region, July 26, 2014.


Pillay said every effort will be made to ensure that anyone committing serious violations of international law in the Ukraine conflict, "including war crimes," will be brought to justice, "no matter who they are."

U.S. analysts say the Malaysian airliner was shot down by a surface-to-air  missile near the Russian border. U.S. experts have concluded that a Russian SA-11 "Buk" missile downed the aircraft and that ill-trained rebels likely fired the missile, mistaking the aircraft for a Ukrainian military plane. Rebels have dismissed the charge.

U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said Monday he believes there are still SA-11 launchers in Ukraine, potentially in separatist hands.

Ukraine's military says it captured more territory Monday from pro-Russian rebels near the site of a downed Malaysian airliner, and it says flight data shows the jetliner was destroyed by missile shrapnel.

Military spokesman Andriy Lysenko spoke Monday in Kyiv, as security forces pressed their offensive against heavily armed pro-Russian separatists near the Russian border.  Lysenko also accused separatists of firing mortar and artillery into the crash site to destroy evidence of their involvement in the July 17 shootdown, which killed all 298 people on board.

Fighting Monday near the crash site forced international investigators to abandon plans to gain access to the area for a second straight day.

British investigators analyzing flight recorder data did not comment on Lysenko's shrapnel claim, and Dutch investigators leading the probe refused to confirm it.

Fighting in the area where the plane crashed has forced a team of international investigators to abandon plans to gain access to the site for a second straight day.  The team of Dutch and Australian experts said earlier Monday the group was renewing efforts to reach the site.

UN releases Ukraine report

Pillay’s office has also just released a report on the conflict in Ukraine, saying that to date it has killed 1,129 people, wounded 3,442 and displaced more than 100,000 internally.

The report points to an alarming increase of human rights violations in eastern areas controlled by armed groups. It says such groups continue to abduct, detain, torture and execute people kept as hostages to intimidate and exercise power over the population.

According to Gianni Magazzeni of the U.N. Human Rights Office, the report also notes an increasing “professionalization of the armed groups,” which he said are “led both politically and militarily by citizens of the Russian Federation.”

The report also says the situation in Crimea, which Russia annexed in March, continues to worsen. It says harassment and discrimination against Ukrainian nationals, Crimean Tatars, religious minorities and activists is intensifying.

Ukraine reports battlefield progress

Ukraine says its troops have taken more territory from pro-Russia rebels near the MH17 crash site. Officials say two rebel-held towns have been recaptured and an operation was started to take a village Kyiv says was near the launch site of the surface-to-air missile that downed the plane.      

A spokesman for Ukraine's Security and Defense Council, Andriy Lysenko, told a news conference in Kyiv Ukrainian troops were now in the towns of Torez and Shakhtarsk, while fighting was underway for the village of Snizhne - close to the presumed missile launch location.

In rebel-held Donetsk local officials said artillery fire had damaged residential blocks, houses, power lines and a gas pipeline. The city, which before the conflict broke out had a population of nearly one million, has largely become a ghost town since rebels dug in for a stand in the face of advancing Ukrainian troops.

  • Self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic policemen watch people fleeing Shakhtarsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, July 28, 2014.
  • Self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic policemen watch shelling in Shakhtarsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, July 28, 2014.
  • Smoke from shelling rises over a residential apartment house in Shakhtarsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, July 28, 2014.
  • A convoy of international forensic experts, Dutch and Australian policemen and members of the OSCE mission abandoned its attempt to reach the crash site of  Malaysia Airlines MH17 for a second day as clashes raged in the town of Shakhtarsk, in the Donetsk region, July 28, 2014.
  • Local residents walk past armed pro-Russian separatists as they flee from what they say was shelling by Ukrainian forces, in the suburbs of Shakhtarsk, Donetsk region, July 28, 2014.
  • A car drives down the main street of the city of Donetsk, July 27, 2014.
  • Ukrainian emergencies ministry officer, left, Donetsk People's Republic fighter, 2nd left, and members of the OSCE mission in Ukraine examine a map as they discuss the situation around the site of crashed Malaysia Airlines MH17, in the city of Donetsk, July 27, 2014.


Hagel speaks with Heletey

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke Monday by phone with Valeriy Heletey, asking his Ukrainian counterpart for his assessment of developments in Ukraine, the Pentagon said.

Heletey conveyed that despite steady progress by the Ukrainian military, the situation in eastern Ukraine continues to worsen.  The minister attributed the increasing levels of violence, including the downing of MH17, to direct Russian support for the separatists, according to a read-out of the conversation provided by the U.S. Defense Department.

Heletey also expressed his country's interest in additional security assistance from the United States. In response, Hagel assured him that the U.S. government will continue to review all such requests within a broad interagency process.

Maidan – a ‘geopolitical project’

Russia has called Ukraine’s Maidan – site of massive protests which in February toppled the pro-Moscow government of president Viktor Yanukovych – a “geopolitical project” intended to hurt Russia.

“[The project] began developing last year on the Maidan, under a completely made-up pretext, when an incumbent president was denied the right to take additional time to study the effects of an association agreement with the European Union,” said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at a briefing at his ministry in Moscow Monday.

“As the Maidan unfolded it became clear that it was indeed a geopolitical project intended to take control of Ukrainian geopolitical space, and to do so to the detriment of Russia’s interests, as well as the interests of the Russian and Russian-speaking population of Ukraine itself," said Lavrov, adding that the project won’t succeed.

Yanukovych triggered massive street protests against his government last November when he shunned an anticipated economic pact with the EU in favor of a $15 billion bailout by Russia.

Lavrov did not mention any countries by name but Russia has previously accused the U.S. of orchestrating the protests in Ukraine.

Moscow questions US images

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Monday questioned the authenticity of images the United States says are providing proof that the Russian military has fired rockets at Ukrainian troops from Russian territory.

The satellite images were released Sunday by the State Department in a four-page document and tweeted by U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (see below).

“Such materials weren't posted on Twitter coincidentally, since it's impossible to establish their authenticity due to the lack of exact reference to the location and the extremely low resolution,” Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying.

According to the State Department, the images show launch sites and impact craters around Ukrainian military locations.

The satellite images as tweeted by U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt:

Lisa Schlein contributed to this report from Geneva, Jeff Seldin from the Pentagon. Some information provided by Reuters.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: rolmbo@gmail.com from: dallas
July 29, 2014 4:04 AM
Europe and all those former Soviet States don't have what it takes to stand up to Putin. Winter without heat is horrible if they intend to stand up to the Soviets they need to provide a United front and start Fracking for Natural ASAP.


by: TUAN QUOC from: Viet Nam
July 29, 2014 1:02 AM
Sanctions against Russia? What a stupid idea! Who will follow your idea? Only the USA and some of its allies! You, the West, will creat golden opportunities for the rest of the World such as India, China, Latin America, Africa, South America, South East Asia...to do business with Russia without facing competition from the West. You cannot cover the whole sky with your hand, can you?


by: Putin from: Kremlin
July 28, 2014 1:53 PM
Let me destroy Ukraine and I will let you destroy Syria

In Response

by: Obama from: WH
July 29, 2014 12:37 AM
Did not let me destroy Syria? I will destroy Ukraine!


by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
July 28, 2014 1:23 PM
UN justice those guilty of the accident Malaysia


by: John Wayland from: Michigan
July 28, 2014 11:57 AM
If the Security Council were to charge Putin with a war crime, do you think Russia might veto the motion? That is how much good it does us to support the UN. Personally, I think it is time to move the UN to Paris!!


by: American Citizen from: America
July 28, 2014 11:54 AM
The United States is also guilty of the same crimes. Here is an example. The downed Ukrainian flight has not been proven to be the Russians fault yet anyway.

In Response

by: Brian from: Virginia
July 28, 2014 1:35 PM
Comrade "American Citizen" must be relying on Russian data as proof. It is widely accepted in the West that the preponderance of available evidence indicates that Russia is responsible, either for actually firing the Buk missile or for providing the system to inexperienced proxies that fired it. Additional evidence of Russia directly firing into Ukraine now also looks pretty unassailable. Does it appear as manipulated data to Russian's because that is what they are used to receiving, I wonder?


by: d from: usa
July 28, 2014 11:37 AM
This isnt the first time a passanger jet was shot down by accident. Happened in the 80's with the US accidently shooting down a Iranian air plane fully loaded with civilians. I could be wrong but i am pretty sure the UN didnt rule that one a war crime. I guess it is all about how the media spins it and what the popular trend at the time is. Again this isnt the first time this has happened.


by: sHoCkErTuRbO
July 28, 2014 11:30 AM
Then I think it was also a war crime when the USA shot down the Iranian Passenger plane killing all 290 on board, including 66 children.

George H. W. Bush, at the time commented on the incident: "I will never apologize for the United States — I don't care what the facts are... I'm not an apologize-for-America kind of guy."


by: ckendra from: canada
July 28, 2014 11:16 AM
Seems to me that the U.S. could impose on its puppet regime in Kiev a no fire zone around the site of the M17 crash site so that the scene could be evaluated and perhaps more light could be shed on the cause. Is it posssible that the Ukrains don't want an independant investigation and want to secure the site for some their own secret reasons?


by: Anonymous
July 28, 2014 10:52 AM
July 3 1988 US Navy shoots down airliner killing a little over 300 souls. War Crime also?

In Response

by: Michael from: S-Pb
July 29, 2014 12:39 AM
No, that plane was his own fault! He did not share the democratic values​​!

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid