World News

    Russia: G8 Snub 'Counterproductive'

    Russia has dismissed as "counterproductive" a move by world powers to cut Moscow out of the Group of Eight industrialized nations over its actions in Ukraine.

    The spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin made the comment one day after the seven other G8 nations agreed to hold their own Group of Seven summit in June instead of attending the previously-planned G8 meeting in Russia.

    In a joint statement issued on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in The Hague, Netherlands, the leaders of the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan said they were suspending their participation with Russia in the G8, until Moscow "changes course." Western powers have been moving to isolate Russia over its annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.

    Russian news agencies quote the Kremlin spokesman as saying Russia is ready for and interested in continuing contacts with its fellow G8 countries. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday it would be "no great tragedy" if Russia were dropped from the coalition.

    Also Tuesday, Ukrainian lawmakers fired acting defense minister Igor Tenyukh after he offered to step down because of criticism that he mishandled the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from Crimea. Ukraine ordered its troops to leave the region on Monday, about a week after Russian troops began moving into military bases in the region.

    Tenyuhk said only 4,300 out of the 18,800 Ukrainian troops that were stationed in Crimea have decided to keep their Ukrainian military positions and evacuate the region. Some have elected to join Russian forces.



    The United States Tuesday reaffirmed its commitment to the Ukrainian leadership. In a joint statement, the two countries described Russia's attempt to annex Crimea as "illegal" and vowed not to recognize the move. The statement said Russia's actions "undermine the foundation of the global security architecture and endanger European peace and security."

    On Monday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu toured Russian military headquarters in Crimea, as Russian forces seized Ukraine's last military base on the peninsula and Ukrainian forces withdrew.

    Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, ordered the withdrawal in the face of a much larger Russian military presence on the peninsula. He said the move is a response to threats by Russian forces on the lives of Ukrainian service members and their families.

    Late Monday, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency quoted Crimea's deputy prime minister as saying all military units in the peninsula are now under the control of the Russian military.

    Ukraine's secretary for national security, Andriy Parubiy, told VOA that about 100,000 Russian troops and armor are poised along Ukrainian borders and remain on full alert.

    That troop presence on Ukraine's eastern and southern borders has triggered alarm in Kyiv. It also has spawned warnings from NATO that Moscow may be seeking to expand its territorial reach into another pro-Russian territory on Ukraine's southwestern border -- Transdniester.

    For its part, Moscow has insisted the border troops are conducting maneuvers, and says there are no plans to cross into Ukraine.

    Ukraine has remained highly unstable since November, when then-President Viktor Yanukovych backed off from signing a trade agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia. The move led to weeks of anti-government protests in Kyiv that forced Mr. Yanukovych to flee the country last month.

    Crimeans voted last week in a highly controversial ballot to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation, a move quickly embraced by Russian President Putin. The United States and the European Union say the vote violates Ukraine's constitution and is illegal.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora