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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs