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

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    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.
    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