World News

    Kerry: Russia Should Take 'Concrete Steps' to Ease Ukraine Tensions

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has urged Russia to take "concrete steps" to implement an agreement aimed at defusing tensions in Ukraine.

    Kerry told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by telephone Monday that the steps Russian should take include "publicly calling on separatists to vacate illegal buildings and checkpoints, accept amnesty, and address their grievances politically." Those steps were part of an agreement reached April 17 between top diplomats from Ukraine, Russia, the European Union and the United States on easing tensions in eastern Ukraine.

    A State Department spokeswoman quoted Kerry while briefing reporters in Washington.

    Earlier Monday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Kyiv for talks with Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov and acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. His visit comes as the situation in eastern Ukraine remains tense, despite a deal aimed at easing the crisis.

    White House officials say Biden's meetings on Tuesday will focus on the international community's efforts to help Ukraine move forward on constitutional reform and what Obama administration officials say will be a free and fair presidential election on May 25.

    In addition to Mr. Turchynov and Mr. Yatsenyuk, Biden is expected to meet with Ukrainian lawmakers, sending a high-level message of U.S. support for the current Ukrainian government. The United States has threatened further sanctions on Russia if Moscow continues its support of pro-Russian demonstrators in eastern Ukraine.



    Russia's Foreign Ministry, for its part, said Lavrov stressed in his phone conversation with Kerry what it described as Kyiv's "inability and unwillingness" to halt violence by the Right Sector group and other "ultra-nationalists" or to end arrests of pro-Russian activists, which it said are threatening the April 17 agreement.

    The ministry said Lavrov urged Kerry to influence Kyiv not to let "hotheads there provoke a bloody conflict" and impel the Ukrainian authorities to fulfill their obligations "rigorously."

    An Easter Sunday truce lasted barely a few hours before it was shattered by a gunfight at a checkpoint in the pro-Russian eastern city of Slavyansk. Three people were killed. It is not clear exactly what happened.

    Ukraine blamed the attack on Russian special forces. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the Ukrainian government of not wanting to control extremists who he said are shooting unarmed civilians.

    Lavrov said Monday Ukraine is "crudely" violating last week's Geneva agreement calling on all armed illegal groups in the east to disarm and leave. The agreement also calls for a mission by European monitors.

    However, pro-Russian demonstrators who have taken over government buildings in about a dozen eastern Ukrainian cities have so far showed no sign of backing down.

    Lavrov said the United States must recognize its responsibility for the crisis in Ukraine through its support of the new Ukrainian government.

    He said attempts to isolate Russia through sanctions will fail, saying the majority of the world does not want to isolate Russia.

    The pro-Russian demonstrators in Ukraine are demanding the right to hold referendums on splitting with Ukraine and joining with Russia. A vote last month in Crimea led to the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora