World News

    Putin: Crimea Always an 'Inalienable' Part of Russia

    Russian President Vladimir Putin says Ukraine's Crimea region has always been an "inalienable" part of Russia -- yet another move likely to further escalate tensions with Ukraine and the West.

    Mr. Putin was outlining Crimea's importance to Russia Tuesday in a speech before the Russian parliament. On Monday, Mr. Putin endorsed a draft treaty to make Crimea part of the Russian Federation. To come into force, the treaty must go through several more procedures including approval by Russia's parliament.

    The Black Sea peninsula voted to secede from Ukraine in a referendum Sunday that the U.S. and the European Union declared "illegal."

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

    His comments come a day after he signed a decree recognizing the Crimean peninsula as "a sovereign and independent country."

    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is in Poland Tuesday 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.

    U.S. President Barack Obama Monday 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'll 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 himself was not the subject of any punitive measures.

    Mr. Obama said Vice President Biden is discussing the situation with NATO leaders in Europe. The president himself is slated to to go Europe next week.

    Monday, the European Union 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.

    In Kyiv Sunday, Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called the Moscow-backed Crimea vote "a circus spectacle" directed at gunpoint by Russia.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora