News / Europe

US Calls on Ukraine to Listen to Its People

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a news conference during a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels December 3, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a news conference during a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels December 3, 2013.
Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged the Ukrainian government on Tuesday to “listen to the voices of its people” after President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to spurn an agreement with the European Union sparked days of massive protests.

Kerry said Ukrainians had demonstrated “in unbelievable
numbers” their support of the accord on closer ties with Europe, which Yanukovych rejected last week in favor of Russian incentives.

”Mr. Yanukovych has obviously made a personal decision and
the people don't agree with that decision,” Kerry said after a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.

”Clearly there is a very powerful evidence of people who would like to be associated with Europe... we stand with the vast majority of the Ukrainians who want to see this future for their country,” he told a news conference.

People sing the national anthem as they attend a rally held by supporters of EU integration near the presidential administration building in Kyiv Dec. 3, 2013.People sing the national anthem as they attend a rally held by supporters of EU integration near the presidential administration building in Kyiv Dec. 3, 2013.
x
People sing the national anthem as they attend a rally held by supporters of EU integration near the presidential administration building in Kyiv Dec. 3, 2013.
People sing the national anthem as they attend a rally held by supporters of EU integration near the presidential administration building in Kyiv Dec. 3, 2013.
”We urge the Ukrainian government to listen to the voices of its people who want to live in freedom and in opportunity and prosperity. We urge all sides to conduct themselves peacefully. Violence has no place in a modern European state,” said Kerry.

Earlier, NATO foreign ministers condemned the use of “excessive force” against protesters in Ukraine and urged all sides to refrain from provoking further clashes.

Ukrainian police used batons and stun grenades last weekend to break up pro-Europe protests.

Kerry said he saw no role for the 28-nation NATO in resolving the crisis, despite the ministers' statement.

”This is really something the people of the [sic] Ukraine need to work out with their leadership and the leadership needs to listen to the people,” he said.

Bidding war

In a reference to Russia's efforts to lure Ukraine away from the European Union, Kerry said Ukrainians should be allowed to make their own choice without “a bidding war.”

”There is some evidence in the last 24 hours that the leadership has responded by saying that the door may in fact remain open, that they may re-look at this issue. I don't know,” he said.

Kerry chose not to visit Ukraine this week for a ministerial conference and instead will travel on Wednesday to its neighbor, Moldova which, like another former Soviet republic, Georgia, initialed an agreement on closer EU ties last week.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland will go to Kyiv instead of Kerry for the meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe which Ukraine chairs.

”I personally will be going to Moldova in order to support that country's European choice,” Kerry said. “I look forward to visiting Ukraine when it too gets back on the path to European integration and economic responsibility.”

Russia has responded to Moldova's moves towards Brussels by cutting off imports of Moldovan wine. Wine sales to Russia have been an important source of revenue for the country of about 3.5 million people, which is the poorest in Europe.

A senior State Department official said Washington was working with the EU to help the Moldovan wine industry find new markets and, to emphasize this, Kerry plans to visit a historic winery on the outskirts of the Moldovan capital, Chisinau.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Chris from: Ukraine
December 05, 2013 3:21 PM
I live in Ukraine, I can see that the government is and has been acting in the best interest for their wallets and not in the interest of the people. Pres. Yanik. is a marionette dancing on stage in Kiev being controlled by Putin and the Kremlin. Ukraine needs to put a lot of distance between itself and Russia for the benefit of the future... Yes other EU countries are in recession and are is dire need of assistance, this is true, but keep in mind you are talking about countries with less than 10% of the geological resources that Ukraine possesses. Let's be truthful about it, Russia needs Ukraine or it will starve. It is time for Ukraine to be given the chance to make their own decisions instead of being conned into taking action in the interest of Moscow. Glory to Ukraine!!! UkrainEUkraine!
In Response

by: Igor from: Russia
December 06, 2013 4:39 AM
Hello Chris! I do not think Moscow can affect the leaders of Ukraine. It is the interest of Ukraine people that affects their actions. The relation between the two nations is friendship and partnership. Do you still remember the terrible consequences of the so called "Orange Revolution"? Do not let the illusion deceive you any longer.

by: Igor from: Russia
December 04, 2013 9:31 PM
To Anna from Ukraine: Dear Anna. As president of a nation, Mr. Viktor Yanukovych has to consider which is best for Ukraine at the moment and in the future. His actions must not based on equivocal feeling. Russia is a great neighbour and a great friend of Ukraine. He cannot ignore Russia and take terrible consequences for his nation. Joining the EU may be good but it is not an urgent need because many EU countries are facing economic crisis and the wealthy nations of that bloc have failed to rescue the weaker economies. Joining the EU now would turn Ukraine's economy into chaos and disorder. There would be more unemployed persons. The economy would collapse rapidly because it cannot compete with those of some wealthy nations. Your money would be of no value and there would be a risk of civil war.

by: Lara
December 04, 2013 3:36 AM
good for him (Kerry)

by: Andrew oforma from: Nigeria
December 03, 2013 11:59 PM
There is a saying that power belong to the people ( that is political sovereignty). Ukrainian government has to listing to its people. policy or decision of any government should be peoples oriented not personal decision like Ukrainian authority is doing now.
For me the decision of signing the pact with EU is uncalled for and uncultivated behavior.

by: Igor from: Russia
December 03, 2013 11:10 PM
Mr. Kerry, how can you be sure that joining the EU is the wish of the majority of Ucraine? And how can you be sure that joining the EU would benefit Ucraine? Your words are totally baseless because they are not based on any statistic data. I can only see that you are persuading the government of Ucraine to listen to you and believe in your baseless words.
In Response

by: Christine from: Chicago
December 05, 2013 7:24 PM
How can he be sure? Does the majority of the people expressing their want of joking the EU not add up to what the people want? And since when has Russia been a great neighbor and a good friend to Ukraine? Creating a genocide through starvation that took 6 million lives, executing anyone who speaks out, practically extinguishing the language and the culture of the people of Ukraine. Good friend? Good neighbor? You have got to be kidding!
In Response

by: Anna from: Ukraine
December 04, 2013 1:45 PM
Dear Igor from Russia, before you leave a comment, make sure you spell the name of the country correctly. IT'S UKRAINE. Joining the EU will benefit more for Ukraine than joining Russia. Thousands of people are on a strike, we know better what we want for our country. We`re already fed up with Russia.

by: us from: us
December 03, 2013 6:02 PM
Right? As if the people controlling the US listen to what the people want.

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