News / Europe

Russia, Ukraine Spar Over Border

Ukrainian soldiers stop a vehicle at a checkpoint outside the town of Amvrosiivka, eastern Ukraine, close to the Russian border, June 5, 2014.
Ukrainian soldiers stop a vehicle at a checkpoint outside the town of Amvrosiivka, eastern Ukraine, close to the Russian border, June 5, 2014.
James Brooke
— Only six months ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin explained on state television why his government planned to give $16 billion in aid to the “brotherly” nation of Ukraine.
 
A Ukrainian government official proposed Friday building a 2,000-kilometer fence between Russia and Ukraine. Topped with barbed wire and electrified, the fence would be protected by ditches and anti-personnel mines.
 
The $130 million project proposed by Hennadiy Korban is far from becoming a reality. But it illustrates how hostile relations between the two bordering nations have become.
 
On Thursday, Ukraine’s new President Petro Poroshenko called Putin in the Kremlin to complain that three tanks had crossed into Ukraine to support pro-Russian separatists. Only days earlier, Putin publicly promised to completely seal the border.
 
But then on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov acknowledged for the first time that Russia is sending cross-border aid to the rebels. He said it was “humanitarian.”

 
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
And, as if to prove the border has holes, Denis Pushilin, head of eastern Ukraine’s breakaway Donetsk People's Republic, popped up in Moscow this week. He met with nationalist politicians, appeared at a support rally, and gave interviews to Russian state television. In one, he said the rebels now have the three tanks - but he did not say where they came from.
 
In the interview, he made financial arguments for trying to take his region from Ukraine into Russia. He said his region pays far more in taxes to Kyiv than it gets in return.
 
Traffic through Russia’s so-called "closed" border goes both ways.

Oleg Tsarev, a fugitive member of Ukraine's parliament, told reporters in Donetsk this week that he was just back from Moscow, where he opened a fund-raising office for his pro-separatist People’s Front.
 
Thomas Graham, a director with Kissinger Associates, a New York-based consultancy, said in Moscow that a big question facing Putin is:
 
“The extent to which Putin, or the Russians, actually control the situation on the ground, to what extent have somewhat autonomous forces begun to operate that don’t have a desire to deal with Kyiv in a reasonable fashion,” he said.
 
Other analysts say Putin may be trying to create a permanent frozen conflict of the type now seen in Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan. These secessionist conflicts keep Russia’s neighbors weak and give Russia a card to play.
 
Last week, Lavrov visited Finland, leading some analysts to speculate that the Kremlin’s goal is the “Finlandization” of Ukraine. Under this scenario, Ukraine would stay out of NATO, would commit itself to neutrality, and would be careful not to cross Russia’s interests.
 
For now, Ukraine’s new government shows no sign of bending to Russia.
 
As gas contract talks stumbled Friday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk ordered his government to prepare the nation for life without Russian gas. Faced with mounting unpaid bills, Russia has threatened to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine as early as Monday.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Truth from: Earth
June 13, 2014 9:44 PM
16 billion dollar bribe is what it is


by: Kevin O from: New York, USA
June 13, 2014 3:09 PM
They aren't "bordering" countries, they actually overlap. And there are dozens of Russian tanks in Ukraine, in particular, in Crimea.

In Response

by: Peter from: Lucenec
June 15, 2014 8:04 AM
Wake up Kevin. Krym (Crimea) is NOT Ukraine.

In Response

by: JIm Brooke from: Moscow
June 14, 2014 5:15 AM
Kevin
good point -- overlapping countries -- and the friction is getting hotter and hotter...
Jim Brooke
Moscow

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid