World News

President Calls Emergency Session after pro-Russian Militants Seize Buildings

Ukraine's acting president has called an emergency meeting, after pro-Russian militants seized more buildings, on Saturday, and set up military style checkpoints.

President Oleksandr Turchynov announced he would meet with his national security council, late Saturday.

Earlier, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Ukraine considered Saturday's unrest an "act of aggression" by Russia.

He commented after armed pro-Russian militants expanded their take-overs of government buildings in eastern Ukraine, including the police headquarters in the regional capital, Donetsk.

A VOA correspondent at the scene said heavily armed gunmen wearing uniforms took over the building, in support of pro-Russian demonstrators. The gunmen said they would secure the weapons arsenal in the building. The seizure prompted the regional police chief to resign.

Pro-Russian militants also seized a state security building in Slovyansk and occupied a building in Luhansk.

Officials also say armed gunmen attacked a police station in the town of Kramatorsk and set up checkpoints along roads.

Ukraine's foreign minister urged Russia to stop "provocative" actions.

The Russian government has denied providing support to the militants.

There were other signs of heightened tensions between Moscow and Kyiv, on Saturday. Officials at Ukraine's state-run energy company, Naftogaz, said the company was suspending gas payments to Russia.

Russia announced earlier it was increasing its price for gas to Ukraine.

Ukraine's current government came to power following the so-called "Euromaidan" protests that forced the country's pro-Russian leaders from power in February.

A month later, Moscow proceeded to annex Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, a move that prompted Washington to impose sanctions on Russia.

On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said he is ready for four-party talks on Ukraine with the U.S., the European Union and Kyiv.

Lavrov also said Washington should use its influence with Ukraine's government "to prevent the use of force" and encourage dialogue.

Recent surveys suggest residents of eastern Ukraine overwhelmingly oppose any move to join Russia.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs