News / Europe

US, Russia Disagree on Ukraine

US, Russia At Odds on Ukrainei
Scott Stearns
March 31, 2014 10:37 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met in Paris late Sunday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine as Washington and Moscow work toward a diplomatic solution to the standoff. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the French capital.
US, Russia At Odds on Ukraine
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on Russia to pull back thousands of troops along the Ukraine border, saying those forces are creating a "climate of fear" that does not support diplomatic dialogue. Secretary Kerry met late Sunday in Paris with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Despite different views of events that led to this crisis, Kerry said the United States and Russia agree on the importance of finding a diplomatic solution, and that both made suggestions about how to de-escalate the security and political situation.
"We also agreed to work with the Ukrainian government and the people to implement the steps that they are taking to ensure the following priorities: the rights of national minorities, language rights, demobilization and disarmament of irregular forces and provocateurs, an inclusive constitutional reform process and free and fair elections monitored by the international community," said Kerry.
Troop pullback

But Kerry added that any real progress must include a pullback of 40,000 Russian troops massing along Ukraine's borders.
"We believe that these forces are creating a climate of fear and intimidation in Ukraine. It certainly does not create the climate that we need for the dialogue," said Kerry.
Following four hours of talks, Lavrov held a separate Paris news conference and read from a nearly identical statement on their agreed priorities. But instead of Russian troops, he focused on decentralizing power to protect minorities -- concerns that Moscow has used to justify annexing the Crimean peninsula.
Within this framework, Lavrov said, all regions and political forces will have an equal voice to agree on which kind of political, economic, financial, social and religious traditions will be respected in different parts of the country.
Kerry said the United States still considers Russian actions in Crimea "illegal and illegitimate," and rejects any attempt to outline new federal structures without including provisional authorities in Kyiv.
"We will not accept a path forward where the legitimate government of Ukraine is not at the table. This principle is clear: No decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine," said Kerry.
U.S. officials said they saw in these talks some increased acknowledgement from Russia that Ukraine is meeting some of its concerns about minority rights in Russian-speaking areas. That may be a way for the Kremlin to justify pulling back some of its troops.

Washington now believes Moscow is using those troops not only to intimidate Ukrainians but also as a bargaining chip with Europe and the United States in the most serious East-West standoff since the end of the Cold War.
Western leaders are considering broader sanctions against Russia that could target its oil and gas industry. Obama administration officials have said it is clear those sanctions are biting, and equally clear that Russia does not want more of them.
In an interview on state television, Lavrov dismissed the Western visa bans and asset freezes on allies of President Vladimir Putin.
"I don't want to say they are laughable," Lavrov said. "I don't want to say that we don't care. They are unpleasant. But the fact they try to take those sanctions on a more personal level and present them as directed at certain people personally is clearly a desire to take revenge."
Following these talks, Kerry looks to keep the pressure on Russia at this week's meeting of NATO foreign ministers, with President Obama calling on the trans-Atlantic alliance to station more troops in countries "that may feel vulnerable."
Error rendering storify.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: jerry k from: Canada
March 31, 2014 12:51 PM
The Russians are not doing anything wrong as long as they remain on their soil. The U,S. has a lot of nerve telling someone else what to do. Stop being a world cop and maybe the rest if us in the world may actually start to respect the u.s. This is fear mongering, and you guys are very good at it. Fix your own problems at home and mind your own business.
In Response

by: Anonymous
March 31, 2014 3:47 PM
Ukrainian Soil.

by: JohnWV from: USA
March 31, 2014 7:03 AM
Two territorial conquests: Russia's of Ukraine and America-Israel's of Palestine. By civilian vote, Crimea preferred to join Russia and the remainder of Ukraine was interested. We have reduced Palestine to an open air prison and wreaked upon them rampant racism, hate, humiliation, cruelty, infrastructure destruction and casual killing civilian men, women and children for generations. America-Israel enjoys a near 100 to one kill ratio. However can Russia be sanctioned when we are not?

by: joe shmoe from: usa
March 31, 2014 6:03 AM
Of course an American politician knows all about the "climate of fear." Instead of worrying about these other countries maybe the American politicians should worry about issues at home like poverty,child hunger,excessive police abuses. We as Americans need to get our heads out of the sand and look around. From local to national politicians they're screwing the very people who gave them their positions. The draft dodgers of the 60's had the best idea, get out while you still can

by: Nexus789
March 31, 2014 12:13 AM
Where is the evidence? Satellite pics, etc. Don't believe anything they say.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
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 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 First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic 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 Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

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.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs