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: Anonymous
    March 04, 2014 11:29 PM
    Meenwhile people are being slaughtered in Syria because of a tyrant criminal. Lets put an end to the bloodshed in Syria. What is happening in Ukraine is nothing compared. If Russia is up to no good, the people will oust Putin.
    In Response

    by: Revealing from: USA
    March 05, 2014 10:50 AM
    With all due respect Anonymous, but is it possible the controlled media is not telling us the whole truth? Is it possible that Putin is not the so called "bad guy" here, but rather is trying to protect the people of Ukraine from the banking cartel?
    To understand what the Israeli Authority is, is to understand why planet earth has been in perpetual war with its-self for countless generations;



    by: Shihao Yang from: China
    March 04, 2014 8:29 PM
    Democracy is just way of finding a better life,not an aim.if Democracy could not give a better life and even make us worth ,why should we adopt democracy system?Mabye western's thought are differernt from eastern's,but as a nomal citizen,what we want to gain most is a happy,peaceful and rich life.
    In Response

    by: jonathan huang from: canada
    March 05, 2014 10:05 AM
    @dimitri, I have to say you are too naive. who told you democracy means transparency, corruption free, fare justice? go to India, Mexico which are both democratic countries, but they are the most corrupted countries in the world. Ukraine and Russia have been being democratic for decades, why they are still corrupted and poor? you are fooled by the west, my friend. you should really learn from China. The Chinese way is the best way to make your country strong and rich! "democracy" is poison to developing countries! only rich and developed countries can play this game of democracy! good luck!
    In Response

    by: Dimitri from: Tbilisi, Georgia
    March 05, 2014 7:34 AM
    It is very important to understand what Democracy means for eastern European, former soviet states. Democracy means transparency, necessary reforms to eradicate corruption. Criminals run politics, the police, the court system, this is the daily reality that the Ukrainian people live in! This is why all the protesters filled the Maidan square, this is why they fought Yanukovich and his criminal police.

    They see law, and order, to the west in Europe, and they want the same organized structures that defend their human and economic rights in their own country, they want to adopt a working model. What they have in Ukraine with Yanukovich is not Working, and Russia only wants to destabilize Ukraine, and other post soviet countries because they can have much more influence in chaos, when they can bribe officials. Putin is afraid that one day law, and order will come to Russia, and that Russians will Put Putin in a prison cell.
    In Response

    by: Simonzee1 from: Australia
    March 05, 2014 3:07 AM
    Look at Libya. They uses to have one of the best education systems in the world along with the bests health system in Europe. Now it is a joke with gunmen shooting two MP's. They had to shift Congress. But that's OK for yhe West as lomg as the oil keeps flowing.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 04, 2014 8:10 PM
    THE WISE-MAN said it; .... The US and EU is trying desperately to force the Russians to negotiate with the US and EU supported (neo-Nazi, White-Hammer, and other ultra-Right-Right-Wing Ukrainian terrorists) .. that the US and EU want Russia to accept as the new legitimate Ukraine government .. that ousted the Democratic elected President, and Parliament, and illegally seized by power, the Democratic elected government of Ukraine... and if Russia negotiates with them, it'll give these Ukrainian terrorists some legitimacy..
    THE WISE-MAN said it: .... ( Putin and Russia don't negotiate with terrorists, do they?) ... The US and EU support the FSA (terrorists) in Syria, and now also these (terrorists) in Ukraine? .. (REMEMBER?) .. (We don't negotiate with terrorists), no matter who they are, do we? ......... REALLY

    by: Mrs. Hilda Burnweiner from: UK
    March 04, 2014 5:14 PM
    The untold story behind the crisis is that this is an energy tug of war being fought between Russia and the west, with Ukraine caught in the middle. There is also poison in the flu vaccine..........MERCURY!
    In Response

    by: Boi Sirog from: Canada
    March 05, 2014 11:12 AM
    Sorry Hilda Budweiser from UK you said the half story right . You should say the war is between Russia AND saudi s . And Saudis pay to usa for this conflicr

    by: Dr. Milton Dirtycrotch from: USA
    March 04, 2014 5:11 PM
    The ignorance, absence of integrity, and lack of independence of the US media greatly enhances the prospect for war. The picture being drawn for insouciant Americans is totally false. An informed people would have burst out laughing when US Secretary of State John Kerry denounced Russia for “invading Ukraine” in “violation of international law.” Kerry is the foreign minister of a country that has illegally invaded Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, organized the overthrow of the government in Libya, tried to overthrow the government in Syria, attacks the civilian populations of Pakistan and Yemen with drones and missiles, constantly threatens Iran with attack, unleashed the US and Israeli trained Georgian army on the Russian population of South Ossetia, and now threatens Russia with sanctions for standing up for Russians and Russian strategic interests. The Russian government noted that Kerry has raised hypocrisy to a new level.

    Kerry has no answer to the question: “Since when does the United States government genuinely subscribe and defend the concept of sovereignty and territorial integrity?”

    Kerry, as is always the case, is lying through his teeth. Russia hasn’t invaded Ukraine. Russia sent a few more troops to join those at its Black Sea base in view of the violent anti-Russian statements and actions emanating from Kiev. As the Ukrainian military in Crimea defected to Russia, the additional Russian troops were hardly necessary.

    The stupid Kerry, wallowing in his arrogance, hubris, and evil, has issued direct threats to Russia. The Russian foreign minister has dismissed Kerry’s threats as “unacceptable.” The stage is set for war.

    Note the absurdity of the situation. Kiev has been taken over by ultra-nationalist neo-nazis. A band of ultra-nationalist thugs is the last thing the European Union wants or needs as a member state. The EU is centralizing power and suppressing the sovereignty of the member states. Note the alignment of the neoconservative Obama regime with anti-semitic neo-nazis. The neoconservative clique that has dominated the US government since the Clinton regime is heavily Jewish, many of whom are dual Israeli/US citizens. The Jewish neoconservatives, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, have lost control of their coup to neo-Nazis who preach “death to the Jews.”

    The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on February 24 that Ukrainian Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman advised “Kiev’s Jews to leave the city and even the country.” Edward Dolinsky, head of an umbrella organization of Ukrainian Jews, described the situation for Ukrainian Jews as “dire” and requested Israel’s help.

    This is the situation that Washington created and defends, while accusing Russia of stifling Ukrainian democracy. An elected democracy is what Ukraine had before Washington overthrew it.

    At this time there is no legitimate Ukrainian government.

    Everyone needs to understand that Washington is lying about Ukraine just as Washington lied about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, just as Washington lied about Iranian nukes, just as Washington lied about Syrian president Assad using chemical weapons, just as Washington lied about Afghanistan, Libya, NSA spying, torture. What hasn’t Washington lied about?

    Washington is comprised of three elements: Arrogance, Hubris, and Evil. There is nothing else there. The CIA also funds Al Qaeda from offshore banks. FACT!
    In Response

    by: ukraine
    March 05, 2014 11:24 AM
    Fantastic comment!

    by: M. Woerl from: Dayton, Ohio
    March 04, 2014 4:14 PM
    The other day, Kerry admonished Putin that "you can't invade countries like its the 19th century, on flimsy excuses, just to protect your interests ... Its the 21st century!" Congratulations, John! You just put US history for the last 100 or so years in a nutshell! His "sage" words today, in light of the penchant of the US for regime change and control, whether by war, CIA engineered covert coup, or payoffs, is ... remarkable. Basically the same words to the US, when Obama and Kerry were frothing at the mouth to prop up their Al Qaida pals in Syria were not appreciated. A billion to Ukraine is like tossing a pebble in a huge hole ... Gonna take a lot more pebbles to fill it. Sad thing is, some of the people in Ukraine think if they get in the EU and NATO, Ukraine will become just like fantasies they have of what it's like here-"everybody" will have money and jobs. They don't realize it's the first step in economic subjugation and ruin!

    by: Robin from: caldwell monrovia liberia
    March 04, 2014 3:26 PM
    Obama pls focus on Americans unemployment rate rather than just talking.first it was Uganda,now Russia pls note that Russia is a super power also. It will be better if an issue of gentleman agreement be archive through diplomat means. Obama try to focus on issue of political freedom look at Vietnam who has jail more than 49 activist over the past month for saying their mind.

    by: Roy from: Sydney
    March 04, 2014 2:42 PM
    I do not understand why the west does not support the Russian humanitarian intervention in the Ukraine, to protect Russian speakers by sending it's own military personnel. Not to fight against the Russians, but support them in protecting the Ukrainian people.

    This is after all what everyone wants, isn't it?

    by: dokta Gido from: kigali; Rwanda
    March 04, 2014 1:34 PM
    really russians deserve better than that war go partisan putin!! he helps assad to do wt we all know in syria and now he launch a dirty war on ukrainians
    In Response

    by: Plain Mirror Intl from: Plain Planet - Africa
    March 05, 2014 3:08 AM
    Shut-up Idiot. It is like the dusts of long time war in your country are still in your eyes. Do not be a fool. You are totally ignorant of the devices of the Satan, the US.

    by: paschn from: U.S.
    March 04, 2014 9:18 AM
    Trust. When one loses the trust of those being governed, it is very important that you look into whether anything and everything they tell you is "true". From the Gulf of Tonkin incident which was used to escalate the illegal Vietnam war, (it never happened), to covering up the attack and murder of your sailors aboard the USS Liberty by Israel, to Johnson/McNamara's complicity. Israel attacked our ship for 4 hours, obliterating almost 100 servicemen and wounding nearly 200 more, ( Israelis even machine-gunned their life boats).

    This stinks as badly as the "invasion" by Russia into Georgia. Fox news had a young American girl who was there visiting relatives. It seems it was the Georgian troops, (under the West/Israel's puppet Saakashvili), killing civilians. The Russian troops interceded to protect the civilians and the young lady wanted to thank them for it. Further, when the troops either ran or refused to shoot on unarmed civilians, Russian troops discovered the abandoned weapons were Israeli.

    Remember, under Stalin and the Bolshevik Jews, Russian Christians/Muslims suffered horribly. In Russia alone +/- 60,000,000 were slaughtered. No, I'm not Russian, I just learned that you mustn't take anything you are told at face value. Do objective research, (being wary of the sites you visit and where their fealty lies). If you research it, you might even learn of the Russian sailors/ships who halted the plan by the City of London to invade the U.S. during the civil war.
    In Response

    by: D from: USA
    March 04, 2014 11:35 PM
    You are absolutely right. People just read, watch what mass media offers them. But in fact mass media is trying to make their stories colorfull by adding or removing details from it. Just like your example with girl .. There were also fake pictures where georgian people were hurt and later same people dressed as military helping civilians etc. We dont say what russia doing is right! We say that look more closely at things... Look not at what you get offered. But at more sources.
    In Response

    by: Melody B. from: USA
    March 04, 2014 3:03 PM
    LOL... yeah... i remember it very well... and with the "israeli weapons" they discovered some israeli Generals cowering and sobbing like the Arabs in Iraq... or the Iranians infants with the plastic keys to "heaven" - LOL
    you sound just like one of those Iranians who regularly masquerading here under different names... LOL keep it up, we need a good laugh here...
    In Response

    by: joe from: US
    March 04, 2014 2:49 PM
    We helped overthrow a democratic country for neocon banker interests and nwo dreams of world power. Simple as that in Syria the neocons use terrorist as in Russian sphere of influence. They are evil and ruthless money printing sociopaths who care not one bit for the sanctity of life..... Putin is a hero in all of this
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