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

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora