News / Europe

    Ukraine, Russia Leaders to Attend D-Day Ceremonies

    Ukrainian businessman, politician and president-elect Petro Poroshenko gestures to supporters in Kyiv May 25, 2014.
    Ukrainian businessman, politician and president-elect Petro Poroshenko gestures to supporters in Kyiv May 25, 2014.
    VOA News
    Ukraine's president-elect Petro Poroshenko will attend the 70th anniversary of the World War II D-Day landings in Normandy, his office said on Wednesday.

    Also present at the observance will be Russian President Vladimir Putin, but there are no indications yet that there will be a direct meeting between the two – the first such opportunity since Poroshenko’s overwhelming election win last Sunday. 

    Relations between Ukraine and Russia deteriorated following the ouster of Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanokovych in February following months of protests, and Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in March.

    Condemning the takeover of the peninsula as an illegal land-grab, Kyiv also accuses Moscow of fomenting separatist unrest in eastern Ukraine, which to date has claimed dozens of lives and raised internal tentions.
     
    Should the two men come face-to-face it would be the first time Russia's president would meet an official of Ukraine’s new pro-Western government.

    Putin and Poroshenko are among several leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski - all key players in the Ukraine crisis - who are due to meet for lunch on June 6 to mark D-day.

    Uneasy calm in Ukraine's east

    Some calm returned to Ukraine’s east on Wednesday, a day after government troops, in one of their biggest shows of force to date, killed as many as 50 pro-Russia separatists in the country’s restive Donetsk region.

    The operation, which was centered on retaking control of Donetsk International Airport seized by rebels earlier, came after Ukrainians, in a poll on Sunday, overwhelming elected pro-Western chocolatier and former foreign minister Petro Poroshenko as their new president.
     
    • A supporter of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic sits behind a newly erected barricade on the airport road in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, May 28, 2014.
    • Coalminers in the Donbass coalfields have gone on an open-ended strike to demand Ukrainian troops and other forces leave the Donetsk Region, May 28, 2014.
    • Interior Ministry security force members and investigators work inside a burned out regional office of the All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda" (Freedom) Party, led by Oleh Tyahnybok, in Odessa, May 28, 2014.
    • Local people look at a burned out  car following a shelling from Ukrainian government forces, in Slovyansk, May 28, 2014.
    • The body of a pro-Russian gunman killed in clashes with Ukrainian government forces around the airport lies on a stretcher at a city morgue in Donetsk, May 27, 2014.
    • A wrecked Kamaz truck is seen near the Donetsk airport, Ukraine, May 27, 2014.
    • Firefighters work at an ice hockey arena in Donetsk, Ukraine, May 27, 2014.
    • People stand near belongings of separatists killed in a fight with pro-Ukrainian forces outside a morgue in Donetsk, Ukraine, May 27, 2014.
    • Pro-Russian militia men arrive to take positions outside an airport in Donetsk, Ukraine, May 26, 2014.
    • A woman reacts after seeing the lifeless body of a man killed by shrapnel following a shelling from Ukrainian government forces in Slovyansk, Ukraine, May 26, 2014.
    • A Ukrainian helicopter Mi-24 gunship fires its cannons against rebels at the main terminal building at the airport in Donetsk, Ukraine, May 26, 2014.
    • A military truck with armed pro-Russian militants drives through a police checkpoint toward the airport at Donetsk, Ukraine, May 26, 2014.

    The assault, following weeks of restraint, filled morgues in the region’s eponymous capital with bodies of rebel gunmen, some with limbs missing.

    Pro-Moscow gunmen have declared the city of a million people capital of an independent "Donetsk People's Republic" they proclaimed following a referendum condemned by both Kyiv and the West.
     
    Some battles between separatists and Ukrainian government forces Wednesday in the region of Luhansk.

    Ukraine's Interior Ministry reported that the fighting broke out when separatist fighters tried to overrun a Ukrainian National Guard unit in the city of Luhansk. The ministry said there were losses on both sides but provided no casualty figures.

    Obama blasts Russia, praises allies

    President Obama on Wednesday again condemned Russia for its “aggression” against Ukraine and praised Western allies for their unified response to the crisis.
    President Barack Obama arrives to deliver the commencement address to graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, May 28, 2014.President Barack Obama arrives to deliver the commencement address to graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, May 28, 2014.
    x
    President Barack Obama arrives to deliver the commencement address to graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, May 28, 2014.
    President Barack Obama arrives to deliver the commencement address to graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, May 28, 2014.


    In a speech on global challenges and America’s role in the world, Obama said that Moscow’s posturing brought back memories of “the days when Soviet tanks rolled into Eastern Europe.”

    He praised Western allies and organizations for uniting behind Ukraine in the face of Russia’s actions.

    “This mobilization of world opinion and institutions served as a counterweight to Russian propaganda, Russian troops on the border, and armed militias,” said Obama speaking at a commencement ceremony at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

    “Standing with our allies on behalf of international order has given a chance for the Ukrainian people to choose their future,” added Obama in remarks before hundreds of cadets.

    ‘Fratricidal war’

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday accused the West of pushing Ukraine into a “fratricidal war” and repeated Moscow's calls for an end to Kyiv’s “punitive operations” in the country’s east.
     
    Lavrov’s remarks echoed earlier Russian statements placing blame on the United States and the EU for the turmoil in Ukraine.

    “The people [of Ukraine] are in essence being pushed into the abyss of fratricidal war,” Russian news agencies quoted Lavrov as saying at a ministry reception attended by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.

    Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called on Russia's Vladimir Putin on Wednesday to block the border to Ukraine to prevent separatist fighters from entering the country.

    He said that if Russian influence was eliminated, the crisis could be ended swiftly.

    Yatsenyuk accused Moscow of supporting, financing and providing rebels access to Ukrainian territory.

    Miners rally

    Also Wednesday, several hundred coal miners from the Donetsk region rallied in support of pro-Russia militants.

    The miners marched through Donetsk city center to demand the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from the region.

    The protesters carried "Donetsk People's Republic" flags and banners reading “We will revive the power of the Donbass," a reference to Ukraine's industrial heartland.

    According to Ukrainian media reports, the workers belong to a miners union closely associated with ousted president Yanukovych's Party of Regions.

    Other unions seemed to have distanced themselves from the rally.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.
     

    You May Like

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
    May 28, 2014 12:43 PM
    The tranquility does not mean a thing. The criminal government in Kyev "… can win wars on the back of a horse, but … can't rule the people from the back of a horse" .. Genghis Khan The civil war in Eastern Ukraine is lurking and it is now taking a respite. The thugs in the Kyev government by their bloodshed haven’t resolved a problem in the region.
    In Response

    by: Bomo Albert Oguara from: Port Harcourt
    May 28, 2014 10:54 PM
    You are just an echo sounder,bouncing off Your leader's propanganda.Ukrainaians must be left alone to decide their own future that should involve all sides.Putin is simply meddlesome.The old soviet era is gone and gone for ever.This grandiose scheme of his will surely fail because it is built on the use of force and not logical persuasion.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    May 28, 2014 12:38 PM
    REMEMBER what Ho Chi Minh told America? -- "We can fight a war for (40) years or more, or we can sit down and drink tea together" -- and these are words of wisdom to the new Ukraine government, and the pro-Russian separatists. -- (NEGOTIATE).
    In Response

    by: bomo albert ogara from: port harcourt
    May 28, 2014 11:00 PM
    Well said,after the guns have gone silent,then comes the most difficult part-negotiation,which should ordinarily have come before the battles if only reason prevailed and the meddlesome interloper from across the border behaved like a true statesman that he ought to be.Sign of the times.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    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.
    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.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.