News / Europe

In Paris, a Diplomatic Push for Ukraine Solution

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks into his vehicle on arrival in Paris, March 29, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks into his vehicle on arrival in Paris, March 29, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are scheduled to meet in Paris Sunday as Washington and Moscow work toward a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine.

Kerry and Lavrov will meet at the residence of the Russian ambassador to follow up on a late Friday telephone conversation between Russian President Vladmir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama about the need for a diplomatic settlement.

The White House says Obama told Putin that Russia must pull back troops from the Ukrainian border and not move deeper into Ukraine. The Kremlin says Putin is suggesting "possible steps the global community can take to help stabilize the situation."

In coordination with the new interim government in Kyiv, Washington is pressing Russia to open talks to defuse tensions and allow international monitors into the disputed region of Crimea to assure the safety of Ukrainians who are based there.

In a Moscow-backed referendum, Crimeans voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia following last month's collapse of the pro-Russian government in Kyiv. But most of the international community refuses to recognize the results of that referendum, and many Western nations have already imposed economic sanctions against Russia. Preliminary indications suggest those moves are already affecting the Russian economy, and the United States and its European allies are also threatening tougher sanctions if Russia's troops push deeper into Ukraine.

Apparent progress toward easing the most serious U.S.-Russian standoff since the end of the Cold War follows Moscow's insistence that it will go no further than annexing Crimea — for now. Lavrov spoke Saturday on Russian television.

"Russia has absolutely no intention of — or interest in — crossing Ukraine's borders," Lavrov said in the televised statement.

"Moscow wants only for the work to resolve the crisis to be multilateral," he added, explaining that he would want any negotiated agreement to stop what he calls "riots that the West is trying to cover up."

Kerry had been heading back to Washington from Saudi Arabia, where President Obama met with King Abdullah Friday, when he learned of Lavrov's comments. The secretary's plane changed course during a refueling stop in Shannon, Ireland, and headed for Paris.

Kerry and Lavrov enter Sunday's talks with what American University professor Keith Darden calls distinctly different views of Ukraine — with Moscow seeing a chaotic, U.S.-backed rebellion that threatens Russian interests, while Washington sees a "somewhat messy" move toward more representative rule.

"So the Maidan, for us, was democratic mobilization," Darden said. "For the Russians, it's Western-sponsored regime change. And I think that gap is just going to be there. This is a fundamental difference in the way our two countries see the world. And that's not going away anytime soon."

Putin mum

Lavrov's pledge that Russia "absolutely" will not make any military move into Ukraine was not followed by any official statement giving President Putin's views on the matter. The Kremlin leader initiated the telephone contact with President Obama Friday, but some observers say it is unclear whether Putin will explicitly confirm his foreign minister's comments. Some observers have suggested that Moscow may be reacting to its growing isolation over the Ukraine issue.

Ukraine's immediate neighbors — former Soviet republics that broke away from Moscow more than 20 years ago — and the Kremlin's former allies in Eastern Europe have strongly denounced Russia's pressure on Ukraine, and their views have echoed throughout Western Europe. The United Nations General Assembly also voted overwhelmingly to oppose Russia's annexation of Crimea earlier this month.

The ongoing Russian military buildup around Ukraine raised fears that Putin's policies were steering his nation toward "a new Cold War." U.S. officials estimate Russia has amassed 40,000 troops close to Ukraine's borders; Ukrainian government officials contend the Russian buildup around their northern, eastern and southern borders is closer to 100,000 troops.

Elections

In Ukraine Saturday, opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko dropped out of the race for president and threw his support behind billionaire businessman Petro Poroshenko.

Ukraine's former president Viktor Yanukovych left Kyiv for asylum in Russia after large-scale demonstrations against him last month, and the parliament in Kyiv called a presidential election for May.

Klitschko, a former world heavyweight boxing champion, told delegates from his Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform party the only way for the opposition to take over full control in Ukraine is to nominate, support and elect "a single candidate representing democratic forces."

Poroshenko and former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko are now the clear frontrunners in the May 25 election.

Tymoshenko was freed from prison amid the tumult of the Yanukovych uprising. Yanukovych had defeated her in Ukraine's previous presidential election, in 2010. Until last month she had been jailed since 2011 on charges of abuse of office.

PHOTOS: Developments in Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula
  • People stand outside a closed McDonalds restaurant. The fast food restaurant chain announced this week that it is shuttering its three outlets in the Crimean peninsula over unspecified operations issues, Simferopol, Crimea, April 4, 2004.
  • People gather outside a currency exchange office in the Crimean city of Simferopol, April 4, 2014.
  • People stand in line as they wait to enter a branch of the Sberbank of Russia bank in the Crimean city of Simferopol, April 4, 2014.
  • Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said during an interview with Reuters that the Kyiv government will stick to unpopular austerity measures "as the price of independence" as Russia steps up pressure on Ukraine to destabilize, Kyiv, April 3, 2014.
  • Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov visits a military exhibition near the settlement of Desna in Chernigov region, Ukraine, April 2, 2014.
  • Ukrainian soldiers watch as an army medic helicopter flies above during a military exhibition near the settlement of Desna in Chernigov region, April 2, 2014.
  • People pass by barricades near the Dnipro Hotel in Kyiv, April 1, 2014.
  • Self-defense activists pass by the Dnipro Hotel in Kyiv, April 1, 2014.
  • Members of the Ukrainian far-right radical group Right Sector leave their headquarters in Dnipro Hotel as police special forces stand guard, Kyiv, April 1, 2014.
  • Commuters walk along railway lines next to Ukrainian tanks ready to depart from Crimea near Simferopol, March 31, 2014.
  • Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visits Crimea to consider priorities for its economic development, Simferopol, March 31, 2014.
  • Ukrainians, in accordance with Orthodox Church tradition of marking the 40th day since death, remember those who lost their lives during pro-Europe protests in Kyiv, March 30, 2014. 

You May Like

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving

Feasts centering on turkeys with an array of traditional sides and desserts are part of the holiday's traditions, which falls on the fourth Thursday in November More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: M from: USA
March 29, 2014 11:50 AM
Sounds like Hitler and Chamberlin all over again. Pretty astonishing that they are actually believing this rubbish from Putin. He is so much smarter than the West gives him credit for.

In Response

by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
March 31, 2014 6:12 PM
To: meatball
Actually, the USA has 100 nations behind it as can be seen from the vote of the UN General Assembly and Russia has 10 nations (like Sudan, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Cuba) behind it. Even China refused to vote with Russia and chose to abstain instead. The USA seeks consensus before taking action as in Iraq where a broad coalition of muslim nations agreed with the US actions and even contributed troops, tanks and aircraft. The same situation happened in Libya where the USA took a decidedly secondary role to other nations carrying the main fight.

In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
March 29, 2014 12:27 PM
TRUTHFULLY.... The US wouldn't do a single thing, if they didn't have 27 other NATO countries backing them up, would they? ... YES, the US is brave in attacking other countries, with the support of the other 27 NATO countries, aren't they? .... Would you want the US to fight Russia by itself, against Russia? .... Did you say NO?


by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
March 29, 2014 11:42 AM
Lol, Russia would never give up Crimea, so how did you America solve the crisis? America is a paper tiger, lol


by: meanbill from: USA
March 29, 2014 11:24 AM
THE WISE MAN said it; ... The problems in Ukraine, is the Ukraine's themselves !!!
When the Ukrainians overthrew their Democratic government, they entered a lawless state with no leader to lead them, and chaos, violence, and anarchy has followed, with criminal armed gangs, and ultra-right-wing Ukrainian extremists taking control..... Russia says they need real constitutional reforms, and a real Democratic elected government, that the 27 NATO countries resist.... (Like in Libya, NATO interfered, and destroyed the country, like they're doing to Ukraine)... REALLY

In Response

by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
March 31, 2014 11:56 PM
In Libya, NATO participated in the military defeat of a violent dictator who was killing his own innocent people. The former president of Ukraine was also killing his own innocent people. Didn't Russia also participate in the military defeat of a violent dictator who was killing his own people when it invaded Nazi Germany?

The description of the Ukrainian people overthrowing their government, given above, sounds a lot like the events and actions of the Russian revolution of 1917. Let the Ukrainian people set up their own constitution with guidance from the EU. A Russian hand writing the Ukrainian constitution would only serve Russia and not the needs of the Ukrainian people.

In Response

by: Anonymous
March 30, 2014 1:37 PM
We'll, all the wealth was plundered by yankyovxch and given to his stooges and stoogettes and shuttled to russia!


by: Dacite from: Canada
March 29, 2014 11:15 AM
What about Latvia?

In Response

by: hassan rouhani from: iran
March 30, 2014 9:39 AM
USA is a satan, always oppressing other nations. Long live V Putin.


by: Serega from: New York
March 29, 2014 10:58 AM
Lavrov maybe don't want war with Ukraine but Putin 100% want.


by: meanbill from: USA
March 29, 2014 10:19 AM
THE WISE MAN said it; ... People 'see' what they want to see, and the US with 27 other western NATO countries supporting them, with manpower, financial and political power, SEE camouflaged Russian troops, they can't 'see' because they're camouflaged?
CRAZY isn't it? ... Russia used the (NATO rules) for "Humanitarian reasons" to intervene in Ukraine to save the innocent Russians in Crimea..... NATO thinks they're the only one's who can attack other countries under their (NATO rules).....
(The NATO Rules?) .. Are the rules the US and all of the other 27 (bully) countries of NATO, made-up to use, to attack little Yugoslavia (Serbia) under these new (NATO rules), for "Humanitarian reasons" to save Albanians in Yugoslavia (Serbia), and took their land to form KOSOVO....

In Response

by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
April 01, 2014 12:02 AM
NATO has only resorted to acts of war when mass murder of innocent people and crimes against humanity were being committed. Russia invades when a former vassal state seeks independence, equality and human rights.

Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid