World News

    Obama Still Hopes for Diplomatic Solution to Crimea Crisis

    U.S. President Barack Obama says he still hopes for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Crimea, which will hold a referendum Sunday that could see it break away from Ukraine and join Russia.

    Mr. Obama spoke to reporters in Washington Friday while meeting with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny ahead of the St. Patrick's Day holiday.

    Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry met in London with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss the issue, but the talks appeared to end with little consensus.

    Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Kerry reiterated that the United States believes the referendum in Crimea violates international law and the Ukrainian constitution, and that sanctions will be imposed on Russia if it is held. He said Russian approval of a vote favoring Crimea's unification with Russia would amount to "backdoor annexation" of the peninsula.

    In a separate news conference after the talks, Lavrov said there is "no common vision" between the United States and Russia over the issue, but that the talks were "useful." He said Russia would "respect the will of the Crimean people."

    Lavrov again criticized the sanctions that the United States and European Union are considering against Russia. He called sanctions "a counter-productive instrument" that "will not help mutual interests."

    He also said Crimea means more to Russia than the Falkland Islands mean to Britain, which went to war with Argentina after it invaded the British overseas territory in 1982.

    Also Friday, the Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a phone conversation that the referendum in Crimea is "fully consistent with international law and the U.N. Charter."



    On Thursday, Moscow acknowledged deploying thousands more troops and military hardware near the Ukrainian border for maneuvers that will continue for two weeks.

    A senior State Department official said the U.S. is "very concerned" about the deployment, which adds to the 20,000 troops Kerry estimates Russia may have in Crimea.

    The official said this is the second time in a month "that Russia has chosen to mass large amounts of force on short notice without much transparency around the eastern borders of Ukraine."

    On Thursday, Ukraine's interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, confronted Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin at the U.N. Security Council, asking him bluntly whether "Russians want war."

    Churkin replied that neither his government nor his people want war. He said, "I am convinced that Ukrainians don't want this either. We don't want any further exacerbation of the situation."

    But U.S. and European leaders accuse Russia of interfering in Ukraine's internal affairs and have threatened Moscow with economic and diplomatic sanctions if Crimea leaves Ukraine.

    Washington's U.N. ambassador, Samantha Power, addressing the Security Council Thursday, called for "a climate of restraint" and for "peaceful dialogue to replace [Russian] coercion."

    She accused Russia of pursuing a course of military action "from the outset" of the crisis, which erupted in full in late February when pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych -- facing weeks of anti-government protests -- fled the country.

    Earlier this week, as tensions mounted over the standoff, NATO announced its own deployment of fighter jets and surveillance aircraft in European territories bordering Russia.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora