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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs