News / Europe

    Putin Vows to Recognize Ukraine Presidential Vote

    Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2014 in St. Petersburg, Russia, May 23, 2014.
    Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2014 in St. Petersburg, Russia, May 23, 2014.
    VOA News
    Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to recognize the outcome of Sunday's presidential election in Ukraine, while voicing hope that Ukraine's new president will end military operations against separatists in the east.

    Putin spoke Friday in St. Petersburg, as pro-Russian separatist forces in eastern Ukraine ambushed a Ukrainian militia group near the Russian border, killing at least two Ukrainian volunteers and wounding nine others. Thirteen government troops were killed by separatists in the same area Thursday, raising fears of fresh violence in the runup to Sunday's vote.

    Hours after Putin's comments, the U.S. State Department called on Moscow to pressure armed pro-Russian separatists in eastern cities to "cease their violent activities and lay down their arms" ahead of the voting. Spokeswoman Marie Harf also cited instances of missing ballot boxes and seized voter registration lists in the east as impediments to successful polls.

    For its part, the interim Kyiv government has promised to halt anti-separatist operations to accommodate Sunday's vote, which is widely seen as the most important election since Ukraine gained independence with the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union.

    Some analysts are interpreting the Russian president's comments as a sign the Kremlin is attempting to avoid more Western sanctions first imposed when Russian lawmakers voted to annex Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in March.

    Watch related video report by Al Pessin in Kyiv
     
    Key Election in Ukraine Amid Attacksi
    X
    Al Pessin
    May 23, 2014 9:44 PM
    Ukrainians will vote Sunday for a new president to replace Viktor Yanukovich, who was ousted in February. Many people hope that having an elected leader will go a long way toward easing tensions with Russia and the separatists it supports in Eastern Ukraine. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.

    In his comments, Putin voiced optimism about resolving the crisis in Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, saying that doing so would improve relations with the United States. He also acknowledged that several rounds of increasingly strong U.S. sanctions since the Crimea annexation are having a negative impact on Russian commerce.

    In Kyiv on Friday, interim President Oleksandr Turchynov urged all voters to participate in Sunday's ballot - a vote he said will "cement the foundation of our nation." However, it remained unclear whether any voting will take place in eastern cities where separatists have seized buildings and declared autonomous zones free of Ukrainian rule.

    Twenty-one candidates are competing to become Ukraine's next president. Polls show billionaire candymaker Petro Poroshenko with a commanding lead, but falling just short of the absolute majority needed to claim a first round win.

    Pentagon's concerns

    Meanwhile, speaking about Russian military forces, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said, "We have seen continued activity of preparations for departure of some units, not all. We have seen the movement of some units, not all.  And I would remind you that there still remains a very sizable force along that border [with Ukraine], tens of thousand of soldiers still remain. While we do see some movement, it's too soon for us to say that this is the wholesale withdrawal that President Putin had ordered.

    "There are still tens of thousands of troops there and their presence alone just continues to escalate the tensions in that part of Ukraine and it's unhelpful. It is unproductive. It is not necessary. And nothing has changed about Secretary Hagel's desire to see those troops leave," he said.

    Kirby added additional concerns. "We still believe, we’ve said this and maintained this, that there are forces controlled by Moscow, by the Russian military inside Ukraine and they remain there. We think the Ukrainian armed forces have shown both great restraint and they have shown courage in trying to restore law and order inside their borders," he said.
     
    • A car wash is seen after it was destroyed by shelling from Ukrainian government forces in Slovyansk, Ukraine, May 23, 2014.
    • A local looks at a damaged vehicle following a gun battle in the rural settlement of Karlovka, west of Donetsk, Ukraine, May 23, 2014.
    • People walk next to an armoured vehicle left as a monument at the Independence Square, Kyiv, May 23, 2014.
    • A woman takes a picture of an armoured vehicle in Independence Square, Kyiv, May 23, 2014.
    • A pro-Russian man with a black and orange ribbon of St. George attached to his weapon stands in Slovyansk, Ukraine, May 23, 2014.
    • Oleh Lyashko, leader of Ukrainian Radical Party and presidential candidate, speaks to self-defense volunteers at a training ground outside Kyiv, May 23, 2014.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: rebeca from: Italy
    May 24, 2014 5:33 AM
    It's obvious that by buying Russia's gas we give money to the country that can war against us. We contribute to our undoing. We must stop purchasing Russia's gas and oil !!!!

    by: Freeman from: Earth
    May 23, 2014 7:08 PM
    Once they (Ukraine) pay there gas bill.And if that is recognized.The rest will come easy.Follow the money to find the funny!Peace.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora