News / Europe

Putin: Russia Will Accept Ukrainian Election Outcome

Russia's President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2014, May 23, 2014.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2014, May 23, 2014.
James Brooke
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he will respect the outcome of Ukraine's presidential election. It is the first time he has explicitly indicated that he will accept Ukraine's election result.

Russia’s president said Friday he will “respect the will of the Ukrainian people.”  It was the strongest endorsement yet by Vladimir Putin of Sunday’s vote. But it only came after repeated questioning at an economic conference in St. Petersburg attended by hundreds of foreign investors.

"After their election, of course we will cooperate with the newly elected head of state," he said.

Putin also said Western sanctions on Russia, imposed after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean region, are having an effect on Russian business. He predicted the sanctions would eventually backfire on the countries imposing them.

Putin spoke the day after pro-Russia insurgents in southeastern Ukraine carried out a deadly attack, killing 13 Ukrainian soldiers at a military checkpoint. Many analysts believe the upsurge in violence is designed to scare voters away from polling stations in Russian-speaking areas.

President Putin and other Kremlin officials warned this week that Ukraine is sliding into civil war.  But Friday, the Russian leader said he hopes that Sunday’s vote will mark a turning point.

"I hope that all military action will be immediately suspended after the elections,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said in St. Petersburg that Russia would judge the elections “based on whether the person elected will be accepted by the people of Ukraine, Ukraine's voters, or not.”

The Russian officials blamed the West for Ukraine’s conflict.

“I believe that everything that happened there is largely the responsibility of our European and U.S. partners, said Putin. "They backed this coup and plunged the country into chaos, and now they want to pass the buck to us so we clean up after them.”

In contrast, Ukrainian officials say Russia sent arms and military experts into southeast Ukraine, fanning regional discontent into a shooting war.

In Kyiv, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said Friday in a national television broadcast: “We will never allow anyone to rob us of our freedom and independence, turn our Ukraine into a part of the post-Soviet empire.”

Richard Weitz, a security expert from research organization Hudson Institute, talked in Moscow about NATO’s changed outlook on military dangers from the east.

"In the past, NATO would hold these exercises, and pretend to protect an East European country from an invader, and pretend it was country X​. N​ow they can say, well this is Russia," said Weitz.

Whatever the outcome of Sunday’s vote, Russia’s military moves on Ukraine have opened a new chapter in Russia’s relations with the West.
 

You May Like

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mark from: Virginia
May 23, 2014 6:02 PM
A new chapter indeed has opened regarding East/West relations. There is no going back to any short-lived feel-good relations we enjoyed a scant 10 years ago. Kind of like two friends where one (who secretly regards the other as a complete moron) blurts out "what are you, some kind of idiot?" that completely and forever changes that lifelong friendship.
That line has been drawn and crossed, and it is a line that can never be erased and never be taken back and forgotten.
It is still imperative that Washington and Moscow retain lines of open communication, to close that avenue, will only deteriorate things between West and East back to a point during the height of the Cold War.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs