News / Europe

    Ukraine Announces Easter Pause in Operations

    A masked pro-Russia protester stands guard at a barricade outside a regional government building in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine on April 19, 2014.
    A masked pro-Russia protester stands guard at a barricade outside a regional government building in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine on April 19, 2014.
    VOA News
    The Ukrainian government has announced a pause in security operations to oust pro-Russian militants from buildings they have seized. Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia said Saturday the government has suspended its efforts for the Easter holiday.

    He also said that the pause would give OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) monitors more time to organize.

    In March, the OSCE launched a special mission to gather information on security and human rights in Ukraine. The group is also working to facilitate dialogue in the country.

    A VOA correspondent in Kyiv says Deshchytsia commented after wrapping up a meeting with the OSCE and ambassadors from the EU, Russia and the United states.

    Pro-Russian gunmen have seized Ukrainian government buildings in nearly a dozen eastern towns and cities. Ukrainian troops launched operations to retake the buildings.  
     
    Russian President Vladimir Putin talks with PM Dmitry Medvedev during their meeting outside Moscow, Apr. 19, 2014.Russian President Vladimir Putin talks with PM Dmitry Medvedev during their meeting outside Moscow, Apr. 19, 2014.
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin talks with PM Dmitry Medvedev during their meeting outside Moscow, Apr. 19, 2014.
    Russian President Vladimir Putin talks with PM Dmitry Medvedev during their meeting outside Moscow, Apr. 19, 2014.
    In another development, Russian President Vladimir Putin said nothing should impede the normalization of relations between Russia and the West.

    But he said the normalization of ties does not only depend on Russia.  He said it depends on the West.  Mr. Putin's comments were released by Russian news agencies from a state television interview to be broadcast Saturday.

    In a separate interview, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia had deployed additional security forces to the Ukrainian border in response to the instability in Ukraine. He commented on Rossiya 1 TV.

    Russia has previously said its troops were on the border for routine exercises.

    US threatens sanctions

    U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has warned Russia that it could face additional sanctions if it fails to adhere to a new international deal on Ukraine or moves its forces on the border into eastern Ukraine.

    Thursday's agreement, which followed talks between Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the European Union, calls for all government buildings to be evacuated and for the militants to be disarmed.

    But it includes few concrete measures for ending the crisis, and many Western leaders are skeptical about Russia holding up its end of the bargain.

    Obama's national security advisor, Susan Rice, told reporters Friday that the U.S. has been clear that it and its European partners "remain ready to impose additional costs on Russia" if it fails to meet its obligations.

    She reiterated an earlier statement by State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki that the U.S. believes Russia has a responsibility to use its influence to restrain and withdraw the pro-Russian militants occupying government buildings in eastern Ukraine.

    But pro-Russian militant leader Denis Pushilin in eastern Ukraine said earlier that his men are not bound by the deal and will only stand down after the Ukrainian government resigns.

    Images from Ukraine
     
    • A column of combat vehicles with a Russian flag on the front one makes its way to the town of Kramatorsk, Ukraine, April 16, 2014.
    • A combat vehicle with gunmen on top makes its way through a checkpoint to the town of Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 16, 2014.
    • A masked gunman guards combat vehicles with Russian, Donetsk Republic and Ukrainian paratroopers, flags and gunmen on top, Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 16, 2014.
    • Local residents bring flowers to place them on armored personnel carriers in Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 16, 2014.
    • Masked pro-Russian gunmen attack a photojournalist near combat vehicles flying a Russian flag, in Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 16, 2014.
    • An Orthodox icon is displayed on barricades in front of a city parliament in Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 16, 2014.
    • A woman cleans up trash in front of an entrance to a city administration building in Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 16, 2014.
    • Ukrainian servicemen look at a Ukrainian military jet fly above them while they sit on top of armored personnel carriers in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, April 16, 2014.
    • A Ukrainian Army helicopter flies over a column of Ukrainian Army combat vehicles on the way to the town of Kramatorsk, Ukraine, April 16, 2014.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    April 20, 2014 8:19 PM
    What is Putin / The Kremlin crying about??? Because some people that take up government buildings get shot? Get out...
    Anyone who takes up government buildings ARMED while the country was not in chaos is trying to start chaos and should be taken out at all costs by the Ukrainian Government representatives. Russia has no business in Ukraine, and should be telling that to anyone Pro-Russian that they are "On their own". However "Putin" should announce anyone who does not like the country of Ukraine, or does not like its laws, can move back to Russia. Putin has no business at all in Ukrainian law and should be denouncing these criminal acts by "Russians".

    You don't bring guns to a democratic discussion.

    by: Mike Bulatov
    April 20, 2014 3:24 AM
    This is Ukrainian citizens war against neo-nazi Kiev regime established by foreign-orchestrated Maidan color revolution and supported by Fashington, NATO and EU.
    https://www.facebook.com/UkraineCrisisAntiMaidan

    by: Sepehr
    April 19, 2014 9:01 PM
    Russia is not a democratic country. How long has Putin been in power? It's a good thing that Ukraine has a pro-Western government now. And who are these Neo-nazi that pro-Russians talk about? Has anyone seen a neo-nazi in Ukraine?

    by: Gen from: Japan
    April 19, 2014 8:33 PM
    US and Russia made efforts to avoid a war in Jeneva talks.Both of them did good jobs.But the separatists,who are ocuppying the buildings in the easten part of Ukraine,refused the accord of Jeneva talks.The rejection is their decision. So they should not be called pro-russian but should be called just a anti-government group.
    It is not related to Russia.It is their decision.They want a civil war.Russia don't want that.News madia should call the separatists "anti-goverment group". They can just speak Russian.
    The minds is different from Russia.We should not include Russia into a coming incident.

    by: dale from: santa cruz mts
    April 19, 2014 1:31 PM
    The unholy alliance of pro-Western puppets, neo-Nazi thugs, and oligarchs is falling apart; the coup regime has no power. It was powerless to stop the referendum in Crimea, now it has "paused" the order for protesters to leave seized buildings and disarm.

    Why? It sent tanks and artillary in but then the soldiers switched sides to the pro-Russians. One more such fiasco and their claim to power (if not legitmacy) will be a joke.

    I note that in the coming elections in May, that the leaders who got the most votes in the last election have all be branded criminals. The Party of Region's candidate for President is currently in prison.

    The election will be as democratic as the mob rule which ousted the previously democratically elected government.

    US policy is totally hypocritical and bankrupt, funding and supporting fascists, calling a violent overthrow "a new wave of democracy," and pretending that Russia is the aggressor.

    In the new doublespeak mob rule is democracy and rule by democratic voting is aggression.

    War is Peace.


    by: Bill Scanlon from: Austin, Tx
    April 19, 2014 1:23 PM
    So those occupying Ukrainian government buildings demand current leaders resign so nobody will be in leadership posts other than those terrorists that are occupying government buildings in Eastern Ukraine cities? Yes. that really makes a lot of sense. Sarcasm bullets intended.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    April 19, 2014 12:44 PM
    CRAZY isn't it? -- The Kiev coup leaders who seized the Ukraine government by force, wouldn't negotiate with Yanukovych, and now, refuse to negotiate a new constitution with the eastern Ukraine anti-Kiev coup leaders?
    AND WHY? -- does the US, EU, and NATO insist and demand, that Russia yield to the one-sided Ukraine settlement that (they) want to take place, and somehow force the freedom seeking Russian Ukrainians to accept it? -- (AND WHY?) -- does the US, EU, and NATO somehow expect the anti-Kiev coup leaders in the eastern part of Ukraine, to listen to Russia or anybody else when it's their country, and (they) oppose this 4 party plan, and will only negotiate a settlement and constitution, directly with the unlawful Kiev government by themselves, without outside intervention?
    EASTER, a time for a new beginning?

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