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

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.