News / Europe

    Ukraine PM Blames Russia for Unrest in East

    • A pro-Russian protester whose helmet reads "Donetsk Republic," pickets a building where Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was meeting with regional leaders from eastern Ukraine, in Donetsk, April 11, 2014.
    • Leaders of pro-Russian protesters hold a news briefing inside the seized office of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, April 11, 2014.
    • A group of pro-Russian activists warm themselves at a bonfire next to barricades in front of an entrance to the Ukrainian regional office of the Security Service in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 11, 2014.
    • Motorists watch a Ukrainian military convoy pass by near the city of Donetsk, Ukraine, April 10, 2014.
    • Pro-Russian protesters set barbed wire on a barricade outside the SBU state security service in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 10, 2014.
    • Masked pro-Russian activists guard barricades at the regional administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, April 9, 2014.
    • A pro-Russian activist speaks to other protesters at barricades in front of a security service regional office in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 9, 2014.
    • A masked man stands in front of barricades and Soviet era red and Russian national flags at an entrance to the regional office of the security service in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 9, 2014.
    • Communist lawmakers scuffle with right-wing Svoboda (Freedom) Party lawmakers during a session of the Ukrainian parliament in Kyiv, April 8, 2014.
    • A view through a broken window of the regional administration building shows a cordon of Interior Ministry members blocking a group of pro-Russian protesters in Kharkiv, Ukraine, April 8, 2014.
    • Street cleaners sweep away bullet cases as they remove trash and a barricade erected by pro-Russian protesters near a building of the state security service in Donetsk, Ukraine, April 8, 2014.
    • Pro-Russian activists gather behind a barricade with Russian flags in front of the entrance to the regioanl security service office in Luhansk, west of the Russian border, in Ukraine, April 8, 2014.
    Images from Ukraine
    VOA News
    Ukraine's prime minister has accused Russia of backing violent separatist rallies, including the seizure of government buildings Sunday in three eastern Ukrainian cities.
     
    x
    Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a Cabinet meeting Monday that Russia is behind the unrest in the eastern cities of Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkiv. He said the violent demonstrations are clearly part of a plan to destabilize the situation and allow "foreign" troops to cross the border and seize Ukrainian territory.
     
    Yatsenyuk said Russian troops remain stationed within 30 kilometers of Ukraine.
      Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, in a televised address to the nation, said Moscow was attempting to repeat “the Crimea scenario.” He added that “anti-terrorist measures” would be deployed against those who had taken up arms.
     
    Separatist rally organizers demanded Ukraine’s eastern regions hold referendums on whether to split from Ukraine and become part of Russia, following last month’s Crimea annexation by Moscow.
     
    Pro-Russia activists in Donetsk have gone as far as proclaiming a sovereign "People's Republic of Donetsk.”

    “In the event of aggressive action from the illegitimate Kyiv authorities, we will appeal to the Russian Federation to bring in a peacekeeping contingent,” read part of their proclamation.

    They also said a referendum on the region's future will be held by May 11 at the latest.

    Russia’s designs

    Russia has been pushing internationally a plan proposing the “federalization” of Ukraine in which regions of the country of 46 million would have broad powers of autonomy.

    Ukraine, while drawing up its own plan for “de-centralization” in which smaller municipalities would be able to retain a portion of state taxes, says the Russian proposal is aimed at breaking up the former Soviet republic.

    "It is an attempt to destroy Ukrainian statehood, a script which has been written in the Russian Federation, the aim of which is to divide and destroy Ukraine and turn part of Ukraine into a slave territory under the dictatorship of Russia,'' Yatsenyuk said of what he called the Russian plan.

    In Vienna, Russia did not attend a meeting on Ukraine of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The U.S. envoy to the OSCE, Daniel Baer, said tens of thousands of Russian troops were massed on the Ukrainian border.

    Echoing the words of Yatsenyuk and Turchynov, Baer said any call by pro-Moscow activists for the troops to intervene was “tightly coordinated with the Russian government.”

    Limited access

    NATO said on Monday it would limit Russian diplomats' access to alliance headquarters in Brussels following its decision to suspend cooperation with Moscow because of Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.

    “The formerly extensive access to NATO headquarters will be denied to all representatives of the Russian Mission [to NATO], except the Russian ambassador, his deputy head of mission, and two support staff,” NATO said in a statement.

    Standard visitor rules will apply for all other staffers, the statement added.

    Meanwhile, Russia has urged the West not to point fingers at Moscow in Ukraine’s crisis.

    “Stop pointing at Russia, blaming it for all the troubles Ukraine is experiencing today. The Ukrainian people want to hear from Kyiv a clear answer to all questions,” said a Foreign Ministry statement.

    Crimea losses

    Ukraine's ecology and natural resources minister Andriy Mokhnyk estimated on Monday that Kyiv had lost natural resources and related assets worth $10.8 billion when Russia annexed the Crimea region.
     
    Ukraine has said it will file compensation claims with international courts over the annexation of Crimea, which Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk said could ultimately cost Kyiv “hundreds of billions of dollars.”
     
    The region is home to offshore drilling firm Chornomornaftohaz, and Russia has put Crimea's oil reserves at 47 million tons and gas at 165.3 billion cubic meters, according to RIA Novosti news agency.

    Ukrainian officer killed

    Separately, Ukraine's Defense Ministry says a Russian serviceman has shot dead an unarmed Ukrainian naval officer in eastern Crimea.

    The ministry said the killing took place on April 6 in the town of Novofedorivka and that he was shot twice. It offered no other details.

    RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service said the officer was killed in a "campus room" where he had been staying ahead of his planned return to Ukraine with his family on April 9.
     
    A Ukrainian navy spokesman said the the officer, who was married and had two children, was killed with an AK-47.

    Editor's note: VOA recently made a change to its map depicting Ukraine and Crimea which showed them as separate countries.  It was not VOA’s intention to create that impression, and the current map we are using better depicts the current situation.  VOA apologizes for any misunderstandings this may have caused
     
    VOA's Jeff Seldin contributed to this story. Some reporting by RFE/RL and Reuters.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora