News / Europe

Presidential Hopeful Tymoshenko Talks to Pro-Russian Separatists

Former Ukrainian prime minister and presidential hopeful Yulia Tymoshenko speaks during a press conference in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, April 22, 2014.
Former Ukrainian prime minister and presidential hopeful Yulia Tymoshenko speaks during a press conference in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, April 22, 2014.
Ukrainian presidential hopeful Yulia Tymoshenko held private talks with pro-Russian separatist leaders in eastern Ukrainian Tuesday, in a bid to break the deadlock between them and the government in Kyiv. She says more dialogue will be needed for a clash to be averted.  
 
Pro-Russian separatists have occupied the regional government offices in Donetsk since April 7.  The Soviet-era music and patriotic Russian songs blaring out of speakers may give the feel of a festival, but inside, the militants are preparing in earnest for the government to try to oust them, and there is a sense here of foreboding.

Ukrainian presidential hopeful Yulia Tymoshenko, a controversial former prime minister, arrived in Donetsk Tuesday to see if she could help break the deadlock and persuade the pro-Russian militants to leave the government buildings they are occupying in several eastern Ukrainian towns.

She told VOA in an interview following a news conference that she is working in parallel with the government and pursuing dialogue, but that more negotiations are needed. In the meantime, she says, the government must use all the necessary means within the law to end the crisis.

Tymoshenko, who also met with Donetsk business leaders, had planned to hold a news conference outside the regional government offices. But an air of menace from gathering masked militants, a scuffle and the arrival of pro-Russian babushukas (elderly women) persuaded her aides to move to a nearby hotel.

Eastern Ukraine is not a political stronghold for the former prime minister. And although Russian President Vladimir Putin has hinted that she is his favorite among all the candidates in Ukraine’s presidential elections slated for next month, Tymoshenko remains unpopular here.

Despite that, some political analysts suspect Tymoshenko, who is trailing badly in opinion polls, hopes to pick up votes in the east and to present herself as the only candidate who can appeal to both ethnic Ukrainians and Russians.

Some pro-Ukrainian activists are angry she held talks with pro-Russian separatists. Their disappointment increased later Tuesday when news broke that a local politician and member of Tymoshenko’s own Fatherland Party was found dead, with his body showing signs of torture. The Kyiv government suspects that pro-Russian militants were behind the killing.

The murder has prompted Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov to threaten to re-launch an anti-terrorist operation in the east of the country and forcibly evict pro-Russian separatists from the buildings they have occupied.

Tymoshenko says it is important to continue to negotiate.

However, negotiations don’t appear to be resolving the crisis.

Vladimir Makovich, speaker of the presidium of the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic, remains adamant. He says the only way he and his men will leave peacefully is if the government in Kyiv resigns.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More