News / Europe

    Kerry: Crimean Referendum a "Backdoor Annexation"

    US Concerned by Russian Troops Along Ukrainian Borderi
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    Scott Stearns
    March 15, 2014 2:44 AM
    U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and Russian F.M. Lavrov met Friday in London, but failed to reach an agreement on Ukraine. VOA's Scott Stearns reports from London that Kerry said the U.S. is "deeply concerned" about Russian troops along the Ukrainian border, ahead of Sunday referendum in Crimea.
    US Concerned by Russian Troops Along Ukrainian Border
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Russian acceptance of a Crimean referendum to break off from Ukraine and possibly join Russia would be an illegal "backdoor annexation."

    Kerry met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for six hours in London Friday in another effort to defuse the tensions in Crimea.

    Kerry called talks Friday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov "constructive and frank" but said that Russia is not prepared to make any decisions on Ukraine until after a referendum in Crimea set for Sunday.

    Kerry said the U.S. continues to favor a direct dialogue with Russia and Ukraine. He added that the U.S. does not recognize the legality of a referendum that could see Crimea break away from Ukraine and join Russia.

    Kerry said Lavrov made clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not prepared to act regarding Ukraine until after the referendum.

    Lavrov said in a separate news conference that the talks with Kerry were useful, but the two have "no common vision" on Crimea. He said Russia will "respect the will of the Crimean people," and he criticized the threat of U.S. and EU sanctions on Russia as "counterproductive."

    Kerry told reporters in London that there will be an even greater response if Russia further increases tensions in Ukraine.

    "There will be consequences if Russia does not find a way to change course," he said. "And we don't say that as a threat. We say that as a direct consequence of the choices that Russia may or may not choose to make here."

    The White House said later Friday afternoon that it is "regrettable" that Russia has chosen not to deescalate tensions and warned it will respond "quickly" if Sunday's referendum moves ahead.

    Reuters news agency reported late Friday that a draft U.N. security council resolution due to be voted on Saturday declares that Sunday's referendum on the status of Crimea "can have no validity."   The resolution, drafted by the U.S., says the referendum was not backed by Ukraine's government.   Reuters quotes Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Gennady Gatilov as saying the resolution is "unacceptable," a sure sign of a Russian veto.

    President Barack Obama makes a statement to reporters about Ukraine during his meeting with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Oval Office, March 14, 2014.President Barack Obama makes a statement to reporters about Ukraine during his meeting with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Oval Office, March 14, 2014.
    x
    President Barack Obama makes a statement to reporters about Ukraine during his meeting with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Oval Office, March 14, 2014.
    President Barack Obama makes a statement to reporters about Ukraine during his meeting with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Oval Office, March 14, 2014.
    Speaking to reporters in Washington after the London talks, U.S. President Barack Obama said he remains optimistic for continued dialogue with Russia.

    "We continue to hope that there is a diplomatic solution to be found,'' Obama said. "But the United States and Europe stands united, not only in its message about the Ukrainian sovereignty but also that there will be consequences if, in fact, that sovereignty continues to be violated.'

    U.S. and European leaders have called the Russia-backed referendum "unconstitutional," and Kerry has warned Moscow of serious consequences if it annexes the Ukrainian peninsula.

    NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Friday that the referendum  lacks legitimacy.

    "The so-called referendum ... would be a direct violation of the Ukrainian constitution and international law," he said in a statement. "If held, it would have no legal effect or political legitimacy.'

    Self-determination

    But Russian officials say voters in Crimea have a right to self-determination following last month's collapse of the pro-Russian government in Ukraine

    FILE - Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.FILE - Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
    x
    FILE - Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
    FILE - Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
    Russian President Putin on Friday rejected Western accusations that a Crimea referendum would be illegal.

    In a telephone conversation with U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon,  Putin "underscored that the decision to conduct [the referendum] fully corresponds to the norms of international law and the U.N. Charter'', the Kremlin said.

    Adding to those tensions are thousands more Russian troops near the Ukrainian border for maneuvers that Moscow says will continue for two weeks.

    "We also remain deeply concerned about the large deployments of Russian forces in Crimea and along the eastern border with Russia as well as the continuing provocations and some of the hooliganism of young people who have been attracted to cross the border and come into the east," Kerry said.

    But Lavrov said those troops are no threat to anyone. He said the Russian Federation does not and cannot have any plans to invade the southeastern regions of Ukraine.

    He added that  Moscow's position is that the rights of Russians, the rights of Hungarians, the rights of Bulgarians as well as the rights of Ukrainians themselves should be insured and protected.

    A senior State Department official says Lavrov assured Kerry that those new Russian troops will not enter Ukraine.

    The foreign minister made similar assurances before Russian troops crossed the border following the collapse of the pro-Russian government in Kyiv.

    As for sanctions, that is up to Western countries that Lavrov said realize how counter-productive they would be. He said it is obvious that sanctions would not benefit the mutual business interests of Russia and its trading partners.

    Much of Europe's natural gas comes from Russia through pipelines across Ukraine.

    Reuters contributed to this report.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: oldlamb from: Guangzhou
    March 17, 2014 4:48 AM
    US gets use to inciting protesters to coup their governmemt in the name of democracy.There is a invisible suporting hand behind the protesters, From the Orange Revolution to the Arabic Spring,From Yem to Syria and Ukraine.The key question is no any country or hotspot has got the indeed democracy. Everyone know who makes the situation of the world worse and worse, But people went with the westen propaganda, and no one dare to stop those issues disrupt the world unless Russia and Putin.

    by: Anonymous
    March 15, 2014 12:06 PM
    How many Syrians had to die because Putin wanted to keep his Tartus port? While the rest of the world wanted resolution, one voice. But Putin has his own voice. To preserve a killing regime so that he can preserve his port. Losing Crimea is worst for Putin, but the consequence to Russia economically would be even worst. Enough to be his undoing.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 15, 2014 4:34 PM
    Mister Putin he is a good president of Russia ,he is duing good thing for his country . Good job . Im proud of him .

    by: nigel cairns from: san diego
    March 15, 2014 11:37 AM
    so our inept politicians have screwed up again-another crisis and more killing.
    We should put our politicians "in harms way" in conflicts-then watch the cowards run!

    by: Chuck Milliken
    March 15, 2014 8:07 AM
    If the Crimean Referendum is illegal, what do you call the "Coup d'état in Kiev? After all it was bought and paid for by the US State Dept.

    by: Wallstreet Oligarch from: Whitehouse
    March 15, 2014 6:46 AM
    Vladimir Putin has a strong backing from the worlds largest democracy, India, which has supported Russia's right to invade Crimea and protect "legitimate" Russian interests. Western talks of isolating Russia mean nothing.

    by: Simon from: China
    March 15, 2014 3:52 AM
    Russia must be punished for what it does. As far as I know,Russia claims Alaska back. Putin doesn't seem to stop.

    by: Sunny Enwerem from: Abeokuta Nigeria
    March 14, 2014 5:42 PM
    The US should not go to war with Russia at list should keep to its word and stand up to any aggressor like Russia, good to know NATO is standing up and not just drawing lines and calling it colors.

    by: Anonymous
    March 14, 2014 4:14 PM
    Consequences is all, Putin needs to learn them. Putin must be economically punished to the fullest extent there is. There needs to be consequences for every action he makes. He praises international law all the time, well he broke it. So now it is time the world rejoice and penalize Russia as hard as they possibly can. Otherwise we will see China do the same thing to taiwan and Putin doing the same thing to other countries in the area.

    The Russian people need to be sent a strong message to get Putin out of power because what he is doing is only going to hurt the Russian people. Any so called "Leader" willing to jeopordize the entire country being penalized for illegal acts, does not deserve to be in power and most definately should not be representing any country.

    He needs to be ousted now, lets work on that.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous from: Australia
    March 15, 2014 5:46 AM
    Well said!!

    by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
    March 14, 2014 4:12 PM
    History is a process. It drives all of us. To make any sense of it at all, you have to assume that the historical process is intelligent. Pareto wrote of the alternation of elites in terms of lions and foxes, and there is a clear move to the day of the lion from the day of the fox. To make rational sense of Ukraine you may assume both Mr Putin and President Obama to be right to see where it is all going. They are the main players.

    by: Collins from: Kenya
    March 14, 2014 3:17 PM
    If President Putin thinks that he is strong enough,then he should come out and face Mp Vitali Klitchko in the ring and the world will see the winner.
    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora