News / Europe

Kerry: Russia Must Prove Commitment to Ukraine Peace

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, addresses Ukraine Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, left, as NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen listens at a NATO meeting in Brussels June 25, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, addresses Ukraine Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, left, as NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen listens at a NATO meeting in Brussels June 25, 2014.
VOA News

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday Russia's leader must prove he is fully committed to peace in eastern Ukraine through actions, not just words, but the United States and its European allies are not ready to impose new sanctions on Moscow.

Speaking in Brussels, where he attended a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, Kerry said it is "critical" for President Vladimir Putin to "publicly" call for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to disarm. He also said Putin must stop the flow of fighters and weapons, including "tanks and rocket launchers," across Russia's border with Ukraine.

"We are not announcing a new round of sanctions today but we are going to continue to take steps to prepare in the event that the circumstances on the ground warrant those sanctions,” Kerry said, according to Reuters. “So, we are coordinating with our European partners in order to prepare for that."

He said Washington is working with European governments on preparing new sanctions, should they be necessary.

The European Union and the United States imposed sanctions against certain Russian individuals and companies earlier this year after Moscow's annexation of Crimea and, later, for its involvement in the unrest in eastern Ukraine. 

The United States has threatened sanctions on Russia's financial, defense and high-tech industries as more Russian military equipment has flowed into Ukraine.

Permission withdrawn

In Moscow Wednesday, Russia's upper house of parliament voted to withdraw permission for Russian troops to go into Ukraine, fulfilling a request made by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to cancel that permission.

Ukraine's president, Petro Poroshenko, hailed Putin's request as a "practical step" toward peace.

Ukraine's foreign minister also applauded the measure. But, Pavlo Klimkin said at a NATO news conference in Brussels, "we need other positive steps also, like support of the comprehensive (peace) plan by the president, by Russia, and we need of course effective control at the border ...  

“And of course it is critical to undertake a number of very urgent measures to build more trust, like releasing hostages," Reuters reported Klimkin as saying.

Klimkin specifically called for the release of eight international monitors for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, captured in late May along with a Ukrainian interpreter.

NATO skeptical

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, June 25, 2014.NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, June 25, 2014.
x
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, June 25, 2014.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, June 25, 2014.

Meanwhile, the head of NATO said he sees no signs that Russia is respecting its international commitment regarding Ukraine, and added that meetings Wednesday among NATO foreign ministers will address building Ukraine's military capabilities.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday in Brussels that the foreign ministers, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, will "review" relations with Russia and decide what to do next.

Russia could face tougher sanctions from NATO countries if it fails to comply with requests to help end the violence between Ukraine loyalists and Russian separatists within Ukraine's borders.

Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in March sparked several rounds of U.S. and European economic sanctions against senior Russian officials.

At NATO’s summit of foreign ministers, Kerry and his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, stressed the importance of the relationship between their two countries.

"Turkey is such a key partner in so many ways but particularly given what is happening in Syria and now in Iraq with ISIL," Kerry said after a handshake with Davutoglu, the Associated Press reported.

Davutoglu also acknowledged Turkey’s proximity to southern Ukraine across the Black Sea.

He said it was time for the U.S. and Turkey “to consult more frequently, act together as two strategic allies and that cooperation will continue in all fields," the AP reported.  

Leaders consult

Meanwhile, in a phone call Wednesday, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany agreed the OSCE hostages in eastern Ukraine should be released immediately, the AP reported.

The news service cited German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, as saying the leaders also agreed upon the need to oversee a Ukraine cease-fire and monitor the country’s border with Russia. There was no word on how that would be achieved.

In meeting with Germany's parliament, Merkel had indicated her desire for Putin to actively support the cease-fire scheduled to run out Friday.

"Progress is slow,” she told legislators, according to Reuters. "Diplomatic solutions are always preferable but, if nothing else works, sanctions can be put back on the agenda.''

On Tuesday, Putin had insisted that, with the cease-fire, Ukraine should open talks on the rights of the country’s Russian speakers. Some have felt disenfranchised since the February removal of Viktor Yanukovich, the former pro-Russia president.

His successor, Poroshenko, said he expected to present a bill Thursday to parliament on increased regional autonomy.

But the peace process has come under fire, given continued fighting.

Copter shot down

On Tuesday, Ukraine said pro-Russian separatists near the Russian border shot down a Ukrainian military helicopter, killing at least nine servicemen.

The downing near the eastern city of Slovyansk, a rebel stronghold, came less than a day after rebels announced a temporary cease-fire in their push to gain autonomy from the Kyiv government. The truce was to have run parallel to a weeklong cease-fire declared by Kyiv on Friday.

The status of the Ukrainian government truce remained unclear late Tuesday.  But Poroshenko, in a statement, said rebels had violated their own peace offering. He also ordered government forces to open fire "without hesitation" if attacked.

NATO has accused Russia of supporting the separatists in Ukraine, but Russia denies it.

In New York Tuesday, senior United Nations human rights official Ivan Simonovic warned the U.N. Security Council that the situation in eastern Ukraine is rapidly deteriorating. He said 423 people were killed in fighting in the east between April 15 and June 20, and said the cross-border flow of arms and Russian recruits to the region is increasing.

  • Pro-Russian fighters guard their military unit in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, June 27, 2014.
  • A just-released member of OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine gets out of a vehicle next to Alexander Borodai, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Donetsk, Ukraine, June 26, 2014.
  • A man sorts donated clothes at a former concert hall converted into a center for collecting humanitarian aid for refugees in Donetsk, Ukraine, June 26, 2014.
  • A man says goodbye to his relatives as they prepare to cross the border into Russia at the checkpoint in Izvaryne, Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine, June 26, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian separatists man a road checkpoint outside the town of Lysychansk in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, June 24, 2014.
  • A coal miner walks at Privilnyanska coal mine damaged by shelling in the town of Pryvillya in Luhansk, Ukraine, June 24, 2014.
  • People block a car carrying Russian Ambassador in Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov and Ukrainian lawmaker Nestor Shufrich after a meeting with leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic in Donetsk, Ukraine, June 23, 2014.
  • People with their faces covered take part in a pro-Ukrainian anti-separatist rally near the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, June 22, 2014.
  • An activist from a pro-Ukrainian radical youth group stands in a front of riot police outside the Russian embassy in Kyiv, June 22, 2014.
  • Riot police protect an office of the Russian Sberbank after people attacked it with the stones in Kyiv, June 22, 2014.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: jerry camp from: US
June 26, 2014 11:39 AM
Kerry is wrong.Russia does not must prove to US/Ukraine nothing.Why?Jus he said so?

by: We_Wont_Get_Fooled_Again from: GTown
June 25, 2014 1:19 PM
One has to be very naïve to take Russian Parliament’s vote at face value. DNR and LNR are “states” in Eastern Ukraine that are run by Russian operatives and supplied with weapons from Russia. Putin will simply claim that his forces are entering these “independent states” at their request, but not Ukraine. The same happened in Crimea where Russian troops put on their insignia once Crimea held an independence vote at gun point. Until then they posed as “self-defense volunteer forces”. As long as weapons and paramilitaries are flowing across the border there is no reason to believe Putin. Look at actions, disregard the rhetoric!

by: meanbill from: USA
June 25, 2014 11:59 AM
CONFUSION? -- "Confuse your enemy, by not telling them what you plan, and let your enemy guess on what your plans are, and get your enemy to expose their plans and demands to you, so you can better prepare your own battle plans to defeat them" -- (and) -- "Act like you are withdrawing when planning to attack, and act like you are planning to attack when withdrawing" .. "The Art of War" .. by Sun Tzu?

CRAZY isn't it? -- The US, EU, and NATO countries didn't read "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu, or they didn't understand what they read, if they read it?

by: Donald Fraser Miles from: Elliot Lake, Canada
June 25, 2014 8:45 AM
The Ukraine situation is certainly unstable. However, the Russian parliament's revocation of use of force in Ukraine bodes well. Putin's personality is a key factor in evaluating future and current risks.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs