News / Europe

Putin Orders Troops Away From Ukraine Border

Putin, Again, Announces Troop Pullback from Ukraine Borderi
X
Jeff Custer
May 19, 2014 4:15 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin, once again, is saying he has ordered troops the Kremlin says were staging military drills in areas near Ukraine to return to their home bases. But Western officials say there is, again, no evidence the Russian troops are moving. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Related video by Jeff Custer
VOA News
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered troops he said were staging military drills in areas near Ukraine to return to their home bases.
 
The Kremlin made the announcement Monday, just days before a crucial presidential election in Ukraine.
 
Western countries have protested the deployment of tens of thousands of Russian troops near the Ukraine border, expressing concern the deployment might be preparation for a land grab after Russia annexed Crimea in March.
 
NATO said on Monday it has yet to see any signs of troop movements.

"Now I think it's the third Putin statement on withdrawal of Russian troops, but so far we haven't seen any withdrawal, at all," said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

He added that an actual withdrawal of Russian troops would be a first important contribution to de-escalating the crisis.

The Pentagon, too, has said it has seen no signs of a withdrawal.

Moscow calls on Kyiv

Moscow called on Kyiv on Monday to immediately withdraw its troops from eastern Ukraine, where they have been battling a pro-Russian insurgency.

“Russia calls for an immediate cessation of the punitive operation, all violent actions, a withdrawal of troops and for the resolution of all existing problems only by peaceful means,” a Kremlin statement said.

Ukrainian authorities say they are fighting “terrorists” and “separatists” in the eastern part of the country.
 
Armed pro-Russian rebels in two of Ukraine’s eastern regions have declared their independence from Ukraine and voiced support for joining Russia. Violent skirmishes have broken out in numerous eastern cities between Ukrainian security forces and the insurgents.
 
  • Pro-Russian gunmen sit on an armored personnel carrier with the words read "Battalion Vostok (East) " as they patrol in Donetsk, Ukraine, May 20, 2014.
  • Coal miners sit on a bus after finishing their shift at a coal mine outside Donetsk, Ukraine, May 20, 2014.
  • Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk, speaks to citizens whose homes were ruined by shelling in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, May 20, 2014.
  • Yekaterina Len cries inside the remains of her house damaged by shelling as her grandson stands near her, in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, May 20, 2014.
  • Presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko meets with supporters in the Cherkasy region, central Ukraine, May 20, 2014.
  • A pro-Russian militant defends a front line position with a machine gun, Slovyansk, Ukraine, May 19, 2014. 
  • Residents watch the flames from a damaged gas pipe that was hit by a mortar bomb, during fighting between Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian militants, outside Slovyansk, Ukraine, May 19, 2014. 
  • Pro-Russian militants detain three men they suspect of spying for the Ukrainian government in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, May 18, 2014. 
  • A pro-Ukrainian activist prepares to hoist the Ukrainian flag in the town of Velika Novosyolka, in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, May 17, 2014.
  • A masked pro-Russian militant stands behind the barricades at a checkpoint blocking the major highway outside Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, May 17, 2014.

US, EU warn Russia on election interference

The United States and its European allies have warned Moscow that they will impose new sanctions against key economic sectors of the Russian economy if it disrupts an presidential election to be held on Sunday.
 
The Ukraine Central Election Commission on Saturday said the unrest could prevent almost two million people from voting.

Ukraine’s prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk insisted on Monday that balloting will be held throughout the country.

“We are aware that in some places polling will be difficult but there won’t be many such places, and this will not impact the election results,” Interfax-Ukraine quoted him as saying.
 
Yatsenyuk said the vote will be legitimate and Ukraine will get “a legitimately elected president.”
 
Ukrainian confectionery tycoon Petro Poroshenko commands a decisive lead in pre-election opinion polls, and could secure the more than 50 percent of votes needed to win in the first round.

Lavrov strikes conciliatory tone
 
Speaking in Moscow Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov struck a somewhat more conciliatory tone on the Ukraine crisis and tensions it has produced between Russia and the West.

He said Moscow's ties with the European Union and NATO needed a "rethink'' in light of deep differences over the crisis:
 
"These relations require a substantial rethink, and together with our partners from the EU and NATO nations we are trying to conduct an analysis in order to better understand where we are, where our assessments coincide and where we disagree, and what to do to bring those relations back, those documents that form the basis for Russia and NATO cooperation, as well as European Union and Russian engagement,'' said Lavrov.
 
Lavrov also said the so-called round table discussions that began last week with Ukrainian ministers, regional deputies and business leaders, while imperfect, were a good start toward resolving the crisis in Ukraine.
 
He called on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to mediate in the effort.

Separately, President Putin spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel by phone on Monday, with both agreeing that the crisis in Ukraine should be resolved peacefully, a Kremlin statement said.

Odessa violence probe

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on the OSCE and the United Nations to ensure an “open and impartial” probe by Kyiv into deaths that occurred in the Ukrainian city of Odessa earlier this month, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

At least 37 people in the southern port city died after a riot on May 2 ended with dozens of pro-Russia protesters being trapped in a burning building.

Lavrov’s call follows an announcement by Ukrainian officials that the protesters might have been poisoned with chloroform before the fire broke out.

The chief of Ukraine's General Investigative Directorate, Vitaliy Sakal, told reporters earlier on Monday that chloroform had been found by investigators in the charred remains of the Trade Unions building in Odessa. Inhaling the substance causes breathing failure.
 
Sakal added that Ukrainian investigators have contacted the Israeli Embassy, asking for professional experts to help investigate any traces of the chemical in the building.
 
The circumstances under which the fire broke out and who is to blame for the protesters’ deaths remain in dispute.

VOA's Jeff Custer contributed to this story. Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP, RFE/RL and Reuters.
 

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Max Ajida from: Pretoria, South Africa
May 19, 2014 8:07 PM
Putin is a mosquito on Obama's testacles. The dilema is to hit it or leave suck the blood. Putin must go to the library and read world wars and its consequences on economy. Attacking neighbour countries won't a hero but a laughing caricature. Mr Putin , make peace with your Ukrain. Prevent innocent loss of life. Take your men in uniform to their bases. A strong trade with Ukrain with surpass your millitary prowess.


by: meanbill from: USA
May 19, 2014 11:44 AM
"Know your enemy, and know yourself, and you can win a hundred battles, without losing a single men" -- "Act like you are withdrawing when you are planning to attack, and act like you are planning to attack when withdrawing" --- "The Art of War" .. by Sun Tzu? --
The US, EU, and NATO, haven't a clue on what Putin and Russia will or won't do, and if they read "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu, they didn't understand what they read?


by: CEO of OAS from: Washington DC, USA
May 19, 2014 10:30 AM
Putin is an amazing president. His policies for small businesses in the Russian private sector are amazing. Not to mention his fantastic foreign policy.

In Response

by: someone from: the U.S.A.
May 19, 2014 12:22 PM
This is simple lie. There is no small businesses in Russia at all which are not paying 10-30% or more of their income to criminals or (and) corrupted police.
Please, don't spread such a bs about things which you have no idea about.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid