News / Europe

    Ukraine Separatist Leader: Rebels Will Observe Temporary Cease-fire

    Prime minister of self-proclaimed 'Donetsk People's Republic,' Alexander Borodai, speaks during a news conference in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, June 21, 2014.
    Prime minister of self-proclaimed 'Donetsk People's Republic,' Alexander Borodai, speaks during a news conference in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, June 21, 2014.
    VOA News
    A leader of the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine says rebel forces will observe the unilateral cease-fire that President Petro Poroshenko declared Friday as the first step in a broader peace plan.

    Alexander Borodai made the announcement in Donetsk, where talks opened Monday between rebel leaders and representatives of the Ukrainian government. Borodai, prime minister of the separatists' self-declared Donetsk People's Republic, said the rebels' cease-fire would last until Friday, the same day the government's week-long cease-fire is set to end. He said his side would engage in further talks to end the crisis.

    Among those reportedly participating in the Donetsk talks are former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma; Russia's Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov; and Viktor Medvedchuk, chairman of the pro-Russian political organization Ukrainian Choice and a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The talks also include representatives of the separatist Luhansk People's Republic and a representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    Former president Kuchma is representing the current Ukrainian president in the talks, Poroshenko's office said Monday.

    On Saturday, the Kremlin quoted Putin as calling for political compromise in Ukraine, saying a peace deal should ensure the rights of all Russian-speaking people in Ukraine's east.
     
    Poroshenko's cease-fire declaration - rejected by separatist leaders - ordered Ukrainian forces to halt all operations for seven days. But he said the order did not mean Ukrainian troops would not fight back if attacked. The Kremlin said Saturday that the Russian leader supported the cease-fire.
     
    Ukraine and Russia have been locked in a tense standoff since late February, when Ukrainian protesters forced their Russian-backed president to flee the country after months of anti-government demonstrations in Kyiv.

    Obama calls on Putin

    Meanwhile, the Kremlin said Putin discussed the Ukraine crisis with President Barack Obama on Monday by telephone. It said the Russian president stressed the need for "a real cessation of hostilities and the start of direct negotiations between the opposing sides."

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters that "the president spoke to President Putin and once again urged him to support peace instead of allowing the provision of arms and materiel across the border and continuing support for militants and separatists who are further destabilizing the situation in Ukraine.''

    The White House said Obama told Putin Russia will face additional costs if there are no concrete actions to de-escalate the Ukraine situation.

    The U.S. has already threatened sanctions on Russia's financial, defense and high-tech industries as more Russian military equipment has flowed into Ukraine, and has stepped up talks with Europe over imposing similar measures.

    Click here to read about Vice President Biden's phone call to President Poroshenko Sunday.
     
    EU sanctions

    Earlier Monday, European foreign ministers threatened to impose further sanctions on Russia if it fails to comply with  Poroshenko's peace plan.

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague said European Union leaders will be ready to decide on wider sanctions at a summit in Brussels on Friday.

    Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said there are "no signs" Moscow is preventing armed fighters and weapons, including tanks, from being sent from Russia to the separatists in eastern Ukraine. He accused Russia of conducting "a propaganda war with full speed ahead."

    In a joint statement, the EU foreign ministers called on Putin to pull back Russian forces from the Ukrainian border.

    The EU and the United States have thus far refrained from imposing economic sanctions more broadly on the Russian economy and instead relied on the specific sanctions that were imposed against certain individuals and companies after Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

    Poroshenko's cease-fire declaration - initially rejected by separatist leaders - ordered Ukrainian forces to halt all but defensive operations for seven days. The Kremlin said Saturday that Putin supports the cease-fire.

    Ukraine and Russia have been locked in a tense standoff since late February, when Ukrainian protesters forced then-president Viktor Yanukovych to flee the country after months of anti-government demonstrations in Kyiv.

    WATCH: Related report from VOA's Zlatica Hoke
    UN Security Council Meets On Ukrainei
    X
    June 24, 2014 4:12 AM
    As the United Nations Security Council prepares to meet on Ukraine Tuesday morning, the Ukrainian government has reached an agreement with pro-Russian separatists on a temporary cease-fire. And Russian President Vladimir Putin is accused of sending mixed signals regarding Ukrainian peace efforts. Zlatica Hoke has more.

    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: Anonymous
    June 23, 2014 8:54 AM
    To impose sanctions on the United States, because they have not been able to establish a democratic regime in Iraq after receiving Obama peace prize

    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