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 One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs