World News

Kerry Meeting Lavrov in Another Attempt at Calm in Crimea

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are holding another round of talks Friday on the crisis in Ukraine, this time in London.

Before beginning the talks, Kerry said he looked forward to an important meeting. Lavrov called the situation "difficult," saying much time has been lost.

Friday's talks at the residence of the U.S. ambassador in London come as the Ukrainian region at the center of the crisis -- Crimea -- prepares for a referendum Sunday that could see it break away from Ukraine and join Russia.

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.

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. And Moscow on Thursday acknowledged deploying thousands more troops and military hardware near the Ukrainian border for maneuvers that will continue for two weeks.

A senior State Department official says the U.S. is "very concerned" about the deployment, which adds to the 20,000 troops Kerry estimates Russia may have in Crimea.

The official said this is the second time in a month "that Russia has chosen to mass large amounts of force on short notice without much transparency around the eastern borders of Ukraine."

He said Kerry will ask Lavrov about the move, calling it "destabilizing" and saying it "creates an environment of intimidation."

The U.S. secretary of state is meeting with British Foreign Minister William Hague and Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of his talks with the Russian foreign minister.

On Thursday, Ukraine's interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, confronted Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin at the U.N. Security Council, asking him bluntly whether "Russians want war."

Churkin replied that neither his government nor his people want war. He said, "I am convinced that Ukrainians don't want this either. We don't want any further exacerbation of the situation."

But U.S. and European leaders accuse Russia of interfering in Ukraine's internal affairs and have threatened Moscow with economic and diplomatic sanctions if Crimea leaves Ukraine.

Washington's U.N. ambassador, Samantha Power, addressing the Security Council Thursday, called for "a climate of restraint" and for "peaceful dialogue to replace [Russian] coercion."

She accused Russia of pursuing a course of military action "from the outset" of the crisis, which erupted in full in late February when pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych -- facing weeks of anti-government protests -- fled the country.

Earlier this week, as tensions mounted over the standoff, NATO announced its own deployment of fighter jets and surveillance aircraft in European territories bordering Russia.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanoni
John Owens
October 08, 2015 7:32 PM
Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs