News / Europe

Moscow Sends Mixed Messages on Ukraine Aid

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) looks at his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich during a signing ceremony after a meeting of the Russian-Ukrainian Interstate Commission at the Kremlin in Moscow, Dec. 17, 2013.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) looks at his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich during a signing ceremony after a meeting of the Russian-Ukrainian Interstate Commission at the Kremlin in Moscow, Dec. 17, 2013.
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his government on Wednesday to honor a $15 billion bailout deal for Ukraine, but a minister suggested the make-up of a new government in Kyiv will determine how quickly the vital aid is dispatched.

In Kyiv, Ukraine's new interim prime minister promised to try to limit the economic damage inflicted by more than two months of turmoil, and said he expected Russia to disburse a further $2 billion aid installment “very soon”.

Moscow, however, sent mixed messages on how soon the money which Ukraine urgently needs would arrive.

Putin repeated a promise he made on Tuesday to provide the aid even if the opposition forms the next government in Kyiv.  “I would ask the government to fulfill all our financial agreements in full,” he said, according to Interfax news agency.

However, his Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev cast doubt on the timing of the installment. “Our commitment to fulfilling these obligations has been confirmed. As for the schedule and parameters, this is an issue that requires further discussion with our Ukrainian colleagues and consideration of the restructuring of the government,” Interfax quoted him as saying.

Putin agreed the aid package with Ukraine in December, throwing the ex-Soviet state a lifeline in what the opposition and the West regard as a reward for scrapping plans to sign political and trade deals with the European Union and promising to improve ties with Russia.

Ukraine has been gripped by mass unrest since President Viktor Yanukovich walked away from the EU deals last November.

FILE - Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola AzarovFILE - Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov
x
FILE - Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov
FILE - Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov
Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigned on Tuesday in an attempt to appease the protesters and the opposition, and though his deputy has taken over as acting prime minister it is unclear when a new government will be formed.

Leonid Kravchuk, the first president of independent Ukraine, stressed the depth of the crisis on Wednesday.

“The state is on the brink of civil war. We must call what is happening by its proper name. What is happening is revolution because we are talking about an attempt to bring about a change of power,” he told parliament.

With Yanukovich and loyalist deputies in parliament now making concessions to defuse the crisis and with Azarov, a Russian-born hardliner, gone there had been speculation that Moscow might slow or even halt the stream of aid.

But acting prime minister Serhiy Arbuzov appeared to have been cheered by Putin's promise on Tuesday to extend the $15 billion in credits and cheaper gas.

“We have already received the first tranche of $3 billion and expect to receive the second tranche of $2 billion very soon,” he said, chairing his first cabinet meeting. Russian is offering the funds by buying Ukrainian government bonds.

Back-room talks

In Kyiv opposition deputies and Yanukovich loyalists were in back-room talks on Wednesday over the wording of a draft law under which protesters detained so far by police would get amnesties.

Protesters rest behind a barricade in front of riot police in Kyiv, Ukraine, Jan. 28, 2014.Protesters rest behind a barricade in front of riot police in Kyiv, Ukraine, Jan. 28, 2014.
x
Protesters rest behind a barricade in front of riot police in Kyiv, Ukraine, Jan. 28, 2014.
Protesters rest behind a barricade in front of riot police in Kyiv, Ukraine, Jan. 28, 2014.
Though the unrest began because of Yanukovich's U-turn on policy towards Europe, it has since turned into a mass demonstration, punctuated by violent clashes between radical protesters and police, against perceived misrule and corruption under Yanukovich's leadership.

Several hundred people camp round-the-clock on Kyiv's Independence Square and along an adjoining thoroughfare, while more radical activists confront police lines at Dynamo football stadium less than half a kilometer away.

Anti-Yanukovich activists have also stormed into municipal buildings in many other cities across the sprawling country of 46 million. Hundreds of protesters in Kyiv have occupied City Hall and the main agricultural ministry building.

Opposition leaders, including boxer-turned-politician Vitaly Klitschko, were resisting demands by Yanukovich's Regions Party for barricades to be removed from roads and for protesters to leave occupied buildings as a pre-condition for an amnesty for detained activists.

Klitschko, in a comment which also highlighted the tenuous control the opposition leaders have over sections of the protest movement, said: “For us to simply say to people 'you have done your job, now go home' is now not possible.”

In a big concession to the opposition and the protest movement, pro-Yanukovich deputies voted on Tuesday to repeal a series of sweeping anti-protest laws which they brought in hastily on Jan. 16 in response to increasingly violent clashes.

But opposition leaders, who also include former economy minister Arseny Yatsenyuk and nationalist Oleh Tyahnibok, have won a mandate from protesters on the streets to continue to press for further gains from Yanukovich.

Previous constitution

The opposition also wants a return to the previous constitution which would represent another significant concession since it would reduce Yanukovich's powers.

Speculation that Russia might cut the financial lifeline it has offered prompted the Standard & Poors agency to cut  Ukraine's credit rating to CCC+ on Tuesday.

Arbuzov said the central bank was ensuring stability on the financial markets and he made no mention of any changes to his predecessor's policy of keeping the hryvnia currency pegged close to the dollar and maintaining subsidies for domestic gas - both criticized by the International Monetary Fund.

The tense situation and talk by some of Yanukovich ministers of a possible state of emergency being declared has caused alarm in the West and Western governments have urged Yanukovich to take all measures to ease the situation.

The EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, was in Kyiv on Wednesday and scheduled to meet Yanukovich and opposition leaders.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, in a telephone conversation with Yanukovich on Tuesday night, welcomed concessions made so far and encouraged him to look for more ways to compromise with the opposition, the White House said.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: BamCo from: us
January 29, 2014 2:26 PM
Vasily, you are incredible!!! you are right of course... we do tend to put - what we call - "soft focus" - like if you have HDTV and you see Andrea Mitchel or Barbara Walters or Dian Sawyer... you will get a headache... and not just because of their stupidity...
Vasily, don't worry about Iran... don't forget, we have Israel...

by: Nieminen from: Finland
January 29, 2014 2:09 PM
OMG... Vasily... God bless you... OMG!!!

but what next..?? how are you going to manage..?? How can we help..??
In Response

by: Alex from: Canada
January 29, 2014 10:09 PM
You can help.

Just stay away from Ukraine and let them decide their future.
Do not draw them into fragile black hole called EU.

by: Vasily from: Ukraine
January 29, 2014 1:18 PM
to all our American friends, greetings.
i don't know what is more painful for us - The cold brutality and misery that affect our bodies or the utter idiotic American Media coverage of our struggle... to read the utter stupid and insipid "coverage" of events here that the Western Media had seen fit to publish... its enough to drive a Saint to drink...

Look, again... listen America, we don't care what the BBC/Al Jazeera is spewing - but we do care what you "America" thinks. and your "coverage" of events here have been appalling...!!!

what we have here, listen carefully now, is a crisis of LEGITIMACY...!!! the "State" has lost its legitimacy..!!! you see, in Communism you have to have the "dictatorship of the proletariat" - in practice what happens is that you have a dictatorship of the petty, the squalid, the vindictive, the lecher, the cruel, the liar, and the stupid... now, the collapse of "official" Communism (1991) meant that the system just couldn't pay for its own corruption. and, of course, like inveterate fools, the "West" jumped in to "rescue" the same corruption that was threatening your own extinction - incredible, I agree, but true nonetheless...
However, the infrastructure of fear and murder and abuse and rape and humiliation and denigration - has been kept intact..!! Today, what you call "criminal organization" or even "terrorist organization" in America - we call the State..!!! its the State that murders, its the State that rapes, its the State that sell illegal drugs, its the State that engaged in human trafficking and slavery and child prostitution and money laundering... are you getting that, America..??
our problems are not unique to the Ukraine... what you see reflected in the Ukraine is an attempt to liberate ourselves from the coils of the squalid infrastructure of Communism..!!! what we have here is not a "political" crisis... where the Democrates want more Socialism and the Republicans want more Liberty and Capitalism... NO... what we have here is not a "vote of confidence.." like a Parliamentary Democracy problem... what we havve here is a crisis of LEGITIMACY...!!! THE STATE HAS LOST ITS - L E G I T I M A C Y !!!
I hope you get it America. You see, the world thinks that you are stupid... I don't think so. but you do tend to see what you want to see... and you do tend to put an interpretive construction on events that is equally dangerous... like the case with Iran... do you really believe that they will renounce their commitment to hurt you?? i hope you don't... and don't think you have friends in Europe either...
In Response

by: Alex from: Canada
January 29, 2014 10:06 PM
This is very passionate passage.

Vasily, as an Ukrainian I would agree with most of this but I still have some important questions to ask.
All this is a reality for at least past 22 years and did not stop even for a moment.
Questions:

1. Why there were no movement or protests or outrage about this criminal State 2004 to 2010 when Julia Timshenko was PM and Yuzhenko was president.
According to European Transparency Institute "corruption has flourished in Ukraine starting from 2005. Ukraine has plunged to #149 in the world when before that duo Ukraine was #100.

2. Why EU and USA demand to free Julia Timoshenko?
US rightfully convicted Pavlo Lazarenko for money laundering and mafia like activities for 10 years. Julia Timoshenko was his first aid. If you are from Ukraine or any other former Soviet republic you would know that everyone who is close to the God father is participating in those mafia activities. How America decides or you want to convince America that Julia Timoshenko is any better then Pavlo Lazarenko? If America can get it then no one else can get America.

3. All the world powers condemn fascism, ban fascist parties or movements and outlaw them.
How is USA or EU can justify that they deal and legitimize Ukrainian fascist party called Svoboda. ( Freedom). How they can deal with the party who calls death camp guard a hero when USA deported him to Germany for his war crimes.
How they indorse Oleh Tyahnybok who is the head of the fascist party, as one of the opposition leaders when just early last year USA declared him and his deputy persona non grata.

Just a few questions for now.
In Response

by: Yvan from: Canada
January 29, 2014 2:22 PM
Well mate as a westerner, i can tell you a lot of us are backing the demand for a legitimate governement in your country, our western country have fallen asleep, people here don't even vote anymore. So as for myself when i see common people taking to the street, i back them up, for i will probably never see my country waking up and bring back the base of democracy. I therefore don't see why you think where against your movement, probably that half our country is for it, and the other half against it. There is retarded, moralist people everywhere in the world. As we say it here, in the east they tell you to shut up, in the west they tell you keep talking, either way, it's the same thing. Don't despear mate, one day, probably not in our lifetime, a balance will be struck when we get a planet wide collective higher purpose. In the mean time, make sure your revolution is not stolen by extremist of either side, for the answer is always in the middle, not in absolutist
In Response

by: Tim Howard from: USMC Ret.
January 29, 2014 1:59 PM
wow Vasily, you are incredible!!! I had no idea things got that bad. Here we hear the virtues of Communism and Socialism but since we never lived under such regimes we have no reliable reference.

Thank you Vasily. Really, thank you very much for this education - I had no idea

I am calling everyone i know to read your post... I had no idea...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

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