World News

    Putin and Crimean Leaders Sign Treaty Making Peninsula Part of Russia

    Russian President Vladimir Putin and Crimea signed a treaty Tuesday to make the Black Sea peninsula part of Russia, just two days after it voted to secede from Ukraine in a referendum the United States and the European Union declared "illegal."

    Mr. Putin signed the document with the prime minister of Crimea's regional government, the speaker of Crimea's parliament, and the mayor of the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, where Russia's Black Sea fleet is based.

    The Kremlin said on its website that Crimea "shall be deemed accepted in the Russian Federation from the date of signing the treaty."

    The treaty was signed shortly after Mr. Putin told Russia's parliament in a televised address that Crimea has always been an "inalienable" part of Russia, and a day after he signed a decree recognizing the peninsula as "a sovereign and independent country.

    President Putin said Tuesday the referendum complied with democratic and international norms.



    In his speech, Mr. Putin insisted that Russia does not want or need to "partition" Ukraine. But he also described last month's ouster of Ukraine's pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, as a "coup" carried out mainly by "nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites" who, he said, "to a large extent still determine life in Ukraine."

    In addition, the Russian president criticized Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's decision to transfer Crimea from Russia to Ukraine in 1954, when both countries were constituent republics of the Soviet Union. He also said that after the Russian Revolution of 1917, "significant historical territory" of southern Russia, including "present-day southeastern Ukraine," was included in the Ukrainian republic of the Soviet Union "without regard to ethnic composition of the population."

    Meanwhile, Britain suspended military cooperation with Russia in light of the conflict over Crimea.

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the move will mean canceling a planned naval exercise and suspending a British Royal Navy ship visit to Russia.

    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is in Poland for talks with regional allies concerned about Russia's military incursion into Crimea. Biden is meeting with the leaders of Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

    After many warnings, Washington and Brussels imposed their first sanctions on Russian officials Monday for their backing of the Crimean vote.

    Crimean officials said the final ballot count showed 97 percent of voters favoring independence from Ukraine.

    But senior White House officials told reporters they have "concrete evidence" that some ballots in the referendum were pre-marked when they arrived in cities before the vote.

    The Obama administration, the European Union and a host of legal analysts have repeatedly said the Crimean referendum violates the Ukrainian constitution and international law.

    Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama declared a freeze on the assets of seven Russian officials and four Ukrainians who have supported Crimea's separation from Ukraine. He pledged "unwavering" support for Ukraine and said more sanctions on Russia are possible.



    "We will continue to make clear to Russia that further provocations will achieve nothing except to further isolate Russia and diminish its place in the world. The international community will continue to stand together to oppose any violations of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, and continued Russian intervention in Ukraine will only deepen Russia's diplomatic isolation and exact a greater toll on the Russian economy."



    A White House official told reporters the Russian officials targeted for sanctions are "cronies" of President Putin. Mr. Putin was not the subject of any punitive measures.

    The European Union also designated 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine for travel bans and trade sanctions.

    In New York, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday voiced "deep disappointment" with Sunday's secession vote in Crimea. A spokesman said Mr. Ban, who has sought to resolve the crisis, fears the vote will further heighten tensions between Kyiv and Moscow.

    ]]

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.