World News

    Kremlin Outlines Conditions for Moscow Blessing Ukraine's May 25 Vote

    The Kremlin's spokesman has outlined conditions under which the Kremlin would bless Ukraine's upcoming presidential election, just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin urged pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to postpone a secession referendum set for Sunday.

    The Slon.ru website quoted Mr. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday as saying that if supporters of "federalization" in eastern Ukraine heed Mr. Putin's call to postpone the referendum, and if Kyiv halts its military operation against pro-Russian militants and moves to begin a "dialogue," the Ukrainian presidential election set for May 25 can legitimately be held.

    Peskov added that the Kremlin is not negotiating with Kyiv authorities, and that Mr. Putin's proposal to postpone the referendum is "not a step towards Kyiv, but a step towards all the Ukrainian people," the website reported.

    Earlier Wednesday, Mr. Putin urged pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to postpone Sunday's secession referendum, saying he was making the request in order to "create the necessary condition for dialogue" with the Ukrainian government.

    Speaking to reporters after meeting in Moscow with the head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (Didier Burkhalter), the Russian president also gave a qualified endorsement of Ukraine's May 25 presidential election, calling it "a movement in the right direction." However, he added the vote will solve nothing if "all of Ukraine's citizens do not understand how their rights will be guaranteed" after the election.

    Pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk have said they plan to hold a referendum on Sunday (May 11) asking residents whether they favor an independent "Donetsk People's Republic." Separatists in the eastern region of Luhansk have said they will hold a similar referendum.

    A separatist leader (Denis Pushilin) told the Reuters news agency that a "people's assembly" would discuss Mr. Putin's request to delay the vote, adding that they have the "utmost respect" for the Russian president.

    Ukraine's acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk dismissed Mr. Putin's call to postpone the referendum as "hot air."
    .
    Mr. Putin called on Ukrainian authorities to immediately cease what he called "military and punitive operations" in southeastern Ukraine.

    He also insisted Russian military forces have been withdrawn from the Ukrainian border.

    However, the White House said Wednesday "there's been no evidence that such a withdrawal has taken place."

    Likewise, a NATO official told VOA the Western military alliance has "no indication of a change in the position of (Russian) military forces along the Ukraine border."



    Meanwhile, skirmishes between Ukrainian government forces and armed pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine continued Wednesday.

    Ukrainian security forces in Mariupol drove armed separatists out of the city council building. However, Western media reported that the Ukrainian forces abandoned the building later after a crowd of pro-Russian militants gathered outside.

    The two sides also exchanged fire in a battle for control of a television station in Andreyevka, just outside the city of Slovyansk, a rebel stronghold. According to the Ukrainian government, security forces killed 30 separatist fighters in Slovyansk in a battle earlier this week.

    Ukraine's Security Service said Wednesday that 14 Ukrainian servicemen have been killed and 66 wounded since the offensive was launched in mid-April.

    Meanwhile, Ukraine's central bank announced it had received over $3 billion from the International Monetary Fund. The money is the first part of a $17 billion loan package.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora