News / USA

Washington React: White House Downplays Role of Natural Gas in Ukraine Crisis

Obama Opposes Crimea Referendum, Orders Sanctionsi
|| 0:00:00
Cindy Saine
March 07, 2014 1:50 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday took a strong stand against a planned referendum on the future of Ukraine's Crimea region. As VOA’s Cindy Saine reports, congressional leaders are pledging support for those sanctions, and for the people of Ukraine.
Related video report by Cindy Saine.
VOA News
The White House on Friday appeared to downplay the possibility of changing U.S. policy on exporting natural gas to address the situation in Ukraine.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Air Force One that policy changes would not have an immediate effect and noted that stocks in Europe were above normal levels because of a mild winter.

Europe and Ukraine are key export markets for Russian natural gas.   

Obama, Putin Find Little Common Ground on Ukraine

Earlier, U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the two leaders found little common ground. The White House says President Obama told Putin the presence of Russian forces in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula is a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty.

The Kremlin says Putin denounced Ukraine's new Western-backed government as "illegitimate" and said Russia cannot "ignore" calls for help from Ukraine's Russia-leaning east and south.

Putin's spokesman said Friday that despite "deep disagreement'' with the West over Ukraine, Moscow hopes some common ground can be found and a new Cold War will not begin, Russian news agencies reported.

"There still remains hope...that some points of agreement can be found as a result of dialogue - which our partners, thank God, have not yet rejected,'' state-run RIA quoted spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying. "I believe that it [a new Cold War] has not started and I would like to believe it will not start,'' Peskov said.

According to the White House, President Obama, in his phone conversation with Putin, called for direct talks between Kyiv and Moscow that would be mediated by the international community. Obama called for all Russian forces to return to their bases and for international monitors to ensure the safety of Ukrainians, including ethnic Russians.

In Washington Thursday, the president authorized sanctions, including visa restrictions, against those found to have violated Ukraine's territorial integrity. The EU also imposed measures against Russia, suspending talks on visas and a new economic agreement.

On Capitol Hill, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to provide loan guarantees of $1 billion to Ukraine. That measure now goes to the U.S. Senate. The European Union is prepared to extend a $15 billion bailout to Kyiv if Ukraine can reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters

You May Like

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Rick from: D.C.
March 07, 2014 2:37 PM
Yeah well, it seems to me that Yanuk did not have the support of his own military and fled like a rat when he couldn't kill enough people. If this is the definition of a "democratically elected" official then to hell with it. In any event, he quickly began assuming dictatorial powers after his election so was Ukraine even a democracy when he fled in fear and shame? Sober up stooges...

by: Margaret Syms from: US
March 07, 2014 2:20 PM
I just wanted to say to all the Republicans here who take delight in pointing out Obama's incompetence - that it was Bush who insisted that Israel withdraw from Gaza - unilaterally - and gave us Hamas..!! so please

by: Muhammed from: Sacramento
March 07, 2014 2:05 PM
I see some terrorists are already leading Chechnya with official titles. Let me know if you need solid proof, Mr.Meanbill.

by: musawi melake
March 07, 2014 11:59 AM
Mr. Obama's idea of asking for direct talks between Moscow and Kiev is lunacy!, for the rulers in Kiev did not get there in proper manner, through the ballots, but have ditched their way in to the throne. Now, with the backing of the Western world, whcih supports them just to be against the Russians, they claim decissions made at arenas supported by the people, are illiegal, sheer nonsense! Just because the US holds the strings on everything in the world(exploiting the poorer world with the MNTs) should not be interpreted as, that whatever comes out of White-House is ultimate. The alternately thinking world should teach these power-mongering West how to behave civilized. African nations should reconsider their agreements with the uS and the other Westernp powers and look for Russia and China to progress.

by: meanbill from: USA
March 07, 2014 10:57 AM
TRUTH BE TOLD..... Obama and the EU eject reality, in trying to force Putin to negotiate face to face with the US and EU supported (neo-Nazi, White-Hammer, and other ultra-Right-Wing extremist terrorists), who ousted the legal Democratic President, and Parliament, and the Democratic elected Ukraine government... "You don't negotiate with terrorists" that is the rule with all Democratic governments... (BUT?) .. the US and EU is still trying to force Putin to negotiate with the (neo-Nazi, White-Power, ultra-Right-Wing extremist terrorists), who seized by force the legal Democratic government of Ukraine.... WHAT part of "You don't negotiate with terrorist" don't the US and EU understand? ... (LOGIC?) .. The US and EU is trying to force Putin to negotiate with the Ukraine terrorist government, to give it credibility? ... (Will Putin play the fool for the US and EU), and negotiate with the Ukraine terrorists? ........ REALLY?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs