News / Europe

    Russia Pushes Rebels into Ceasefire, Political Talks With Ukraine

    FILE 0 Russian President Vladimir Putin.
    FILE 0 Russian President Vladimir Putin.
    James Brooke
    For the last two months, Russia has armed and encouraged the pro-Russian rebels in southeastern Ukraine. Now, the Kremlin is undergoing a policy shift.)
     
    On Monday, Russian state television showed a live broadcast of a Russian-supported Ukrainian separatist unexpectedly announcing a cease-fire.
     
    Russian state TV followed with Russia’s Ambassador to Ukraine, Mikhail Zurabov, lecturing the rebels.
     
    He said the rebels’ goals should be “first of all, achieving a sustainable truce and sustainable peace, including the non-resumption of fire, and, second, launching an inclusive negotiation process."
     
    In the face of Western sanctions, Russia’s government seems to be preparing the Russian people and the pro-Russian rebels for a winding down of the southeastern Ukraine’s two-month-old secessionist war.
     
    Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled the new policy Sunday when he praised the cease-fire of Ukraine’s new President Petro Poroshenko.
     
    He said that “President Poroshenko announced a truce that is without a doubt an important part of a final settlement.”
     
    After this rare praise for Ukraine’s president, Putin then turned to the rebels, who had ignored the Ukrainian government’s cease-fire appeal.
     
    He said “it should be added that all fighting should stop.”
     
    The next day, Ukraine’s government reported the rebels in Donetsk stopped shooting.
     
    Heavy Western influence seems to be behind this new Kremlin pressure on the rebels to stop fighting and to start talking.
     
    On Monday, President Obama called President Putin. The White House said Obama warned that more sanctions are in store if Russia continues to arm the rebels.
     
    In recent days, British, German, and European Union officials also warned Russia that heavier sanctions will be discussed by EU leaders at a meeting in Brussels on Friday.
     
    In Moscow, EU Ambassador to Russia, Vygaudas Usackas, said in a Monday interview that he hopes that is not necessary.
     
    “I hope we will not be in need to adopt extra sanctions towards Russia. But now the call is upon them to deliver, with respect to political support and delivering on the necessary --  cease-fire, disarmament and border control,” said Usackas.
     
    Putin faces a tricky balancing act -- edging away from the rebels without angering Russian nationalists and without losing a card to play in Ukrainian politics.
     
    To project a warlike image, Putin ordered on Saturday a snap military drill of 65,000 soldiers in Central Russia. So while Russia’s president was pushing Ukraine’s rebels into peace talks, state television showed video of Russian soldiers on full battle alert.

    You May Like

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    From fast-food restaurants to pizza delivery, the history of take-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora