News / Europe

    Kerry Calls for Face-to-Face Meeting Between Russian, Ukraine Envoys

    • Ukrainian servicemen look on as an armed man, believed to be a Russian soldier, stands guard inside a Ukrainian military base in the Crimean town of Yevpatoria, March 5, 2014.
    • Uniformed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, march outside a Ukrainian military base in the village of Perevalnoye, outside Simferopol, March 5, 2014.
    • Ukrainian Navy soldiers raise their flag on top of the Ukrainian navy corvette Ternopil at the Crimean port of Sevastopol, March 5, 2014.
    • Russian soldiers fire warning shots at the Belbek air base, outside Sevastopol, Ukraine, March 4, 2014.
    • A Russian soldier marches as he and comrades block the Ukrainian infantry base in Perevalne, Ukraine, March 4, 2014.
    • Russian military armored personnel carriers drive from Sevastopol to Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine, March 4, 2014.
    • Ukrainian officers march at the Belbek air base, outside Sevastopol, Ukraine, March 4, 2014.
    • Russian servicemen stand on duty near a map of the Crimea region near the city of Kerch, March 4, 2014.
    • U.S.Secretary of State John Kerry lays roses atop the Shrine of the Fallen in Kyiv, March 4, 2014.
    • A woman passes by Ukrainian recruits receiving military instructions in Kyiv's Independence Square, March 4, 2014.
    • Ukrainian recruits receive instructions from a commander in a recruitment self defense quarter at Kyiv's Independence Square, March 4, 2014.
    Images from Ukraine
    VOA News
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has announced additional multi-national talks in the coming days on the crisis in Ukraine, and said Western and Ukrainian diplomats are calling for face-to-face meetings between Kyiv and Moscow to ease the military emergency in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.
     
    Kerry spoke Wednesday in Paris, after he and British Foreign Secretary William Hague met separately with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and with Ukrainian interim Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia. Kerry said "intense [multi-national] discussions" would take place later this week.
     
    Earlier, at a separate meeting, Kerry, his British counterpart William Hague and Deshchytsia called for the immediate deployment of international observers in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border. 
     
    Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov did not attend that meeting.
     
    Kerry said he spoke privately with Lavrov and urged him to engage in talks with the Ukrainian minister. However, Western diplomats were quoted as saying Lavrov left Paris without having met Deshchytsia. Lavrov was quoted as saying further talks will take place "in days to come."

    For his part, Kerry said he had not expected such a meeting to occur Wednesday.

    Renewing calls for Russia to send troops back to the barracks, Kerry also said he expects to meet with Russia’s Lavrov in Rome on Thursday.
     
    He added that there are 'a number of ideas on the table' to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, but that he will first consult with President Obama.
     
    British Foreign Secretary William Hague said earlier the United States and Britain are pursuing "every diplomatic opportunity" to bring Russian and Ukrainian officials into contact with each other.
     
    Hague said there will be "costs and consequences" for Russia if diplomatic progress is not made.  He said Russia should understand that its pattern of intervening in countries like Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova will change its relationship with European nations.

    Lavrov on Russian 'forces' in Crimea
     
    Commenting on Western calls for a Russian withdrawal from Crimea, Lavrov said earlier Wednesday that Russia cannot order pro-Russian armed forces in Crimea, which he described as "self-defense" forces, back to bases, because they are not Russian forces. He said Russia's Black Sea fleet personnel are in their normal positions.
     
    Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also denied that Russian military forces are deployed in Crimea, anywhere outside Russia's Black Sea fleet base.
     
    He dismissed as a "provocation" video footage showing Russian armored military vehicles with Russian license plates on the peninsula and a soldier in the Crimean town of Kerch identifying himself and his fellow serviceman as Russians.

    Claims by Moscow that the forces in Crimea are local "self-defense" forces have been challenged, implicitly or directly, both by the West and Ukraine. In a statement Monday, the G-7 condemned Russia's actions in Crimea as "a clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine." The U.S. has called them an "incredible act of aggression."

    Ukrainian officials say Moscow has sent 16,000 troops into Crimea since last week.

    Ukrainian media has circulated images of hardware and weapons used by uniformed men outside the Russian Black Sea fleet base which it says are only issued only to regular Russian service personnel.

    The uniforms worn and vehicles driven by what Russia calls local defense forces in Crimea bear no visible insignia.

    US stands with Ukraine

    The Pentagon has announced that it is canceling military exercises with Russia over its actions in Ukraine, while boosting military contacts with NATO partners and other nations in Eastern Europe.

    Testifying on the matter before U.S. Congress, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel also made clear where Washington stood with regard to current tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

    “This is a time for wise, steady, and firm leadership. And it is a time for all of us to stand with the Ukrainian people in support of their territorial integrity and their sovereignty. And we are doing that,” Hagel told a Senate panel adding that the United States is focused on de-escalating the crisis and supporting the Ukrainian government in the face of Russian intervention.

    According to Hagel, the U.S. military is stepping up joint training through an aviation detachment in Poland and boosting participation in a NATO air policing mission over Baltic states.

    US Congress steps up

    In a rare show of support for President Barack Obama, Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives said on Wednesday they would work with the White House to address the crisis in Ukraine and vote on legislation offering financial aid soon.

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the Republican-led House will consider a $1 billion loan guarantee package for Ukraine and look at measures to “put significant pressure on Russia to stop the flagrant aggression to its neighbor in Ukraine.”

    The world community should stand united against this invasion; America should be leading and we'll vote soon on legislation to aid the Ukrainian people,” Cantor told reporters.

    House Speaker John Boehner also said that the House will work in a bipartisan way with Obama, a Democrat.

    A bill to assist Ukraine, backed by both Republicans and Democrats, is also making its way through the U.S. Senate.

    EU freezes assets

    The European Union says it is freezing the financial assets in Europe of 18 Ukrainian nationals it says misused the Kyiv government's state funds.
     
    The EU's foreign ministers approved the list Wednesday but withheld the names for a day before their official publication in the EU's legal journal, so the Ukrainians would not have a last chance to withdraw their assets. The sanctions will be effective for a year.
     
    Sources report that ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych could be on the EU list. Switzerland and Liechtenstein, two European nations outside the group of 28 EU countries, had already frozen his assets in their countries, along with the holdings of 19 other Ukrainian officials.
     
    The EU officials said they hope to recover the assets and return the money to Ukraine's new government.

    European Union's executive arm, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, said Wednesday the EU is ready to provide Ukraine $15 billion in aid in the coming years.

    The Obama administration has announced a $1 billion energy subsidy package for Ukraine.

    Separately, Canada says it will impose economic sanctions on those who worked for ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement Wednesday before parliament but gave no further details.

    Crimea's status

    Ukraine's new prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, told the Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that he would like a special task force established to discuss Crimea's status.
     
    "Crimea is, was, and will be an integral part of the state of Ukraine. We believe that we need to establish a task force to establish what kind of additional autonomy Crimea could get," said Yatsenyuk.
     
    The peninsula is currently an autonomous republic within Ukraine.

    Yatsenyuk blamed Putin for the region's current unrest and said Ukrainian leaders "cannot figure out" why Putin has sent Russian troops into Crimea. He expressed fear that Russia could expand its presence to other Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine.
     
    Crimea, whose parliament was taken over by pro-Russian forces last week, is set to hold a referendum on the penisula’s future status on March 30. Ethnic Russians make up nearly 60-percent of the Crimea's population. It is not clear whether the plebiscite will proceed as announced.

    Ukrainian Kids Send Putin Toy Soldiers

    Meanwhile, activists from Ukraine's Euromaidan Civic Sector and several children have prepared packages with toy soldiers and guns to send to Russian President Vladimir Putin amid Russia's intervention in Ukraine's Crimea region. The children told RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service in Kyiv they wanted Putin to play with toys, not real people.

    Watch Video by RFE/RL:

    Ukrainian Kids Send Putin Toy Soldiersi
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    March 05, 2014 6:35 PM
    Activists from Ukraine's Euromaidan Civic Sector and several children have prepared packages with toy soldiers and guns to send to Russian President Vladimir Putin amid Russia's intervention in the Ukrainian region of Crimea. The children told RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service in Kyiv they wanted Putin to play with toys, not real people. (Video shot by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service)


    Additonal reporting by Reuters

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    Comments page of 5
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    by: AAR from: Global
    March 06, 2014 4:32 PM
    Crisis in Ukraine....Putin makes his move after mob rule ousts Russian "puppet ruler" wwII all over again as fascists and nazis spotted fighting with police during the protests....USA's crazy "pivot" to asia blown out of the water as London and France call for backup
    Russia will pull out all stops to keep influence and a buffer zone in central Europe.....true freedom scares the Russian czar Putin...USA backed into a corner....expect fireworks!!!

    by: Anonymous
    March 05, 2014 12:09 PM
    If the current leadership inside Ukraine wants Russia out of Ukraine, then it is in FACT an occupation. The ousted president has a warrant for his arrest.

    Putin has supplied weapons and backing to criminal bashar al assad as well. It's time the world stands strong against Putin and show Russian people that this guy should not be leading the country of Russia.

    Putin is putting Russian people, where they do not want to be, isolated. Every Russian I know can't stand Putin and would prefer him not to represent the Russian people.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 08, 2014 6:32 PM
    Wow, this is what media does to people.

    No Russian wants Putin out of his spot. Putin united the country, made it strong. What you saying is massive f---ing lie, and you buying. You propaganda is eating your brain. You can't see what actually is happening.

    I don't know either, but I 100% sure, that what you hear on news, internet, newspapers is all bulls---t. America is puppet master, and you all dancing under Americans songs.

    Wake up people! Wake the f--- up... It's about time to open the eyes and look what actually happening in the world. How your country is doing, how much sh-- is happening in the world, and not cos of Russia. But cos of how corrupt the whole f----ng system is! There is no democracy, it's just a mask that leaders put on, to fool innocent people to believe to it.

    Go out and read more sources, look what actually smart people say about what's happening. Do something about the actual threat to world. (The Elites "The true American leaders" who rule this f----ng god damn forsaken world)

    by: Anonymous
    March 05, 2014 11:23 AM
    It's time the world went in to Syria to protect the civilians from Putin and Assad. If it wasn't for Putin, bashar would be behind bars for the thousands and thousands and thousands of unarmed civilians (many of which are women and children) killed by bashar al assad and his russian weapons.

    by: Anonymous
    March 05, 2014 11:21 AM
    Ukraine has bien sold!

    by: Boi Sirog from: Canada
    March 05, 2014 11:04 AM
    Kerry is still put oil on fire serving the greed petro-dollar people.

    by: ABIOYE AYOOLA from: IBADAN
    March 05, 2014 9:56 AM
    WE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD ASK BOTH SIDE TO AMEND IT SOCIALLY THAN CONFROTATIONALLY. BECAUSE IT SEEM LIKE THIRD WORLD WAR IS NEARER. GOD BLESS THE HOLY WORLD.

    by: Alenochka from: Belarus
    March 05, 2014 8:27 AM
    Hello.
    I live in Belarus that is next to Ukrane. So, those events are my tragedy too. I cry every time I watch TV. Excuse me for my English, it is not good.
    Actually, I don't justify the Russion appearance in Crimea, BUT As I have conscious, I would like to say that West media is biased reporting these events. The dish is served in that way that Yanukovich ordered to kill the peaceful protesters. Of course, the Ukranian people can change the President, be a part of EU and so on. But were those protests peaceful? That is the crucial question. Be smart, try to find the objective information. I give you some facts, you can search the Intermet to check them.

    1. 26 policemen were killed. Why nobody cares about them? Why new ukranian authorities gives amnesty to protesters, but doesn't investigate these murders. Nobody ask who killed them: "peaceful" protesters? Who threw Molotova mixtures at the police? Do you know the policemen were burnt alive, beaten with bats? All my Ukrainian friends blame provocators on the policemen's deaths. But I want to know the truth.

    2. Do you know that many far right radicals were among the protesters. Of course, it's only one part of the protesters. There were a lot of normal people there. But you can see fascists with swastikas. They were the aggressive force of the "peaceful" protesters.

    3. Do you know that in the office of Yanukovich's party were ordinary stuff like an engineers and so on? Do you know that the protesters beat to death with metal debris 57-old man? Another worker of the office was burnt alive by those "fighters for freedom"

    4. Yanukovich and the opposition signed the agreement befor people began to kill each other. Yanukovich agreed on election in May. So, the peaceful ways were not depleted. Nevertheless, the opposition violated the agreement and aggravated the situation. You know what happened after that: more than 90 people are dead.

    5. Search the Internet about political views of some nowaday's authorities. They ar radicals (I try to be correct).

    Whose is the fault? Why does the western press keep silence about the above mentioned facts? I watched only a couple of BBC reporting about far right radicals on Maidan, ant that's all.

    Let's be responsible. I respect the will of Ukranian people, their choice. I wish the best for them. But I don't want to encourage the fascists. Unfortunately, some of western politics do it. Good luck.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 08, 2014 6:46 PM
    Finally someone who actually sees for what is happening.

    I share the same views as you, cos for those who are outside of EU see for what the western world media does.
    But that's just the small fry.

    What I think is that the America is having a lot of trouble with there financial state. With how it's build and it's system, it needs war to sustain it self. At this point, to remove it's debt, cos it is in fact bankrupt.

    We should all know that anyway. (I do hope so people are ware of this)

    What America tried to do is to break apart two Slavic countries. Russian and Ukraine has a history behind there back for decades. Brothering countries. It's out of my mind how can this be happening in a first place. But poor people of Ukraine were used like puppets to carry out the American goal.
    To stir up chaos between Russian and the Western world. AND try and break the chain of relationship between Russian and Ukraine. And that's what makes me really sad.

    As for the "invasion" of Ukraine. I find it stupid how Western World trying to make an elephant out of a fly.
    Crimea is a Autonomous Republic. 70% are Russians.
    What Russian heard was that the terrorist attacks were incoming, and to prevent, some troops stood up to keep the chaos down in the Crimea. That's all. No invasion. Crimea asked for the help.

    by: Simonzee1 from: Australia
    March 05, 2014 8:05 AM
    That Nuclear capable missile fired by Russia was a warning to Europe that he will use them after tit-for tat sanctions have run their course. He is not stupid unlike Obama and Kerry who want to write themselves into their own Hollywood script with the good guy bad guy tusstle. Its their Rocky IV moment not Putins. AGAIN Kerry uses this Hollywood plot projection because it is the tool of tyrants.The left and gay community use projection all the time in dialouge with their idrological opponents. If you disagree with the gay community on a website like pinknews.uk you are a closet gay or are secretly wanting to be sodomised. Take a look yourself at their bigotry.

    We talk about the Asian century here in Australia. Maybe the West wants to thin European numbers out a little more to move it on a little faster. It seems to me that the left in America and Europe have in a modern twist turned a behavioral pattern that was once racist/facist inwards into a self loathing and hating in what can only be described as an abnormal position of anti-reasoning. This is a peculiar trait of the left in America and in Europe. You can't tallk about issues of race without being racist or religion without being a bigot.

    You criticise Obama and you do it because he is black. You should hate yourself for that before you even get to the facts or fact of incompetence or dysfunction.The left is not only destroying American culture but every culture along with Europe doing a great job itself. All bow down to Brussels or Hollywood. With this breeding and the left as a cheer squad Obama and Kerry are setting a dangerous course in a cultural war that has the potential to explode within and without their country.

    My advice to Putin is watch your back and your backside. Last time Gadaffi packes up his tent and went he without signing an agreement the French made sure he died at the hands of people shoving a rifle up his backside. Never trust the French. Watch your back and backside.
    In Response

    by: Naruka
    March 08, 2014 6:55 PM
    Russian doesn't have friends. It never hard, and probably never will. It's how this world is build. It's what America wants. It needs a villain, just how you said.

    However, Russia does have China and India who will support them if anything drastic breaks out. Simply because those countries hate America with passion.

    Putin is a strong leader, I'm sure he knows what he is doing. I do hope so, otherwise it can be bad for us all. I don't want missiles to be flying. Cos that means death for a lot of us, a lot. But I guess America wants war? Lets suppose so, for it's economical progression.

    As for the Obama. I don't even care what he is saying, nor Kerry. It's obvious that they are the puppets of a whole bigger people. Those that hide from the media, and use Obama as a face to show to the people. Those so called "Elites" rule America, and probably most of the western world.


    by: Simonzee1 from: Australia
    March 05, 2014 3:10 AM
    Isn't it ironic that the billions that Kerry promised the Ukraine will go straight to Russia to pay their gas debts. American's must feel good about such tokenism as the struggle financially.

    by: Simonzee1 from: Australia
    March 05, 2014 3:03 AM
    Isnt it interesting the U.S... the Brits and the French courted Gadaffi as Libya's sovereign leader. It just that he pitched his tent outside the French palace on French soil and refused to sign an oil deal. This was his death sentence. Do you really naively think that France is intetested in human rights.of course International law prevented arms from being pumped into Libya but that did not stop other Arab countries that wanted Libyan oil.

    I predicted the French would push themselves into Northern and Central Africa after Libya and this is happening now. They care about oil and their French companies nothing else. They are not missionaries they are colonists. It's in their DNA and Mr Obama is following behind like a lost boy.

    Let's be clear. I warned Cameron and Obama of the effect of legitamising a coup in the Ukraine. The specific warning was that this precedent would inspire other protestors to sidestep the election process which is central to having a vibrant flourishing democracy. Within 12 hours protestors had stormed the Libyan Congress and shot two MP's and now congress has to be relocated. The Western media is steering the sheep so we hear nothing of this. Watch carefully on the Internet and tension will spike in other countries will follow this United States led model. KEEP THE MISSION CREEP IN LIBYA.
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