News / Europe

Obama: Russia Must Pull Back Troops from Ukrainian Border

FILE - U.S. President Barack Obama, March 25, 2014.
FILE - U.S. President Barack Obama, March 25, 2014.
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama says Russia must pull back its troops from the Ukrainian border and begin negotiating to defuse tensions.

In an interview with CBS News, Obama said Russia's military moves may be no more than an effort to intimidate Ukraine.  But he added that Russia may have "additional plans.

"On Thursday, the head of Ukraine's national security council, Andriy Parubiy, said Russia has close to 100,000 troops along Ukraine's borders in the north, south, and east.  He said Russian forces are in full readiness to strike.

Russia says the soldiers are involved in "springtime exercises" and has assured the United States they will not cross the border.

Western experts believe the number of Russian forces near eastern and southern Ukraine is close to 30,000.

Russia: UN resolution 'counterproductive'

Also Friday, Russia described as "counterproductive" a U.N. resolution that refuses to recognize its annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.  Russia's Foreign Ministry said the U.N. General Assembly resolution will only complicate efforts to settle Ukraine's internal political crisis.

The ministry accused Ukraine of seeking to distract from domestic tensions by blaming its problems on Russia.

The U.N. General Assembly passed the non-binding resolution on Thursday, with 100 countries in favor, 11 opposed and 58 abstaining.

Crimea's majority Russian residents voted to break away from Ukraine and join Russia in a referendum earlier this month that Western powers deemed illegal.

Ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych called Friday for referendums to determine the status of all Ukrainian regions.  He said only a nationwide referendum and not an early presidential election can stabilize Ukraine and preserve its sovereignty and integrity.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Russia's defense minister told President Vladimir Putin on Friday that all Ukrainian servicemen loyal to Kyiv had left Crimea and the Russian flag was flying over all military sites on the Black Sea peninsula.

Warships, war planes and other military hardware seized by Moscow will be returned to the Ukrainian army, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin at a a meeting with senior Russian military officers.

Also Friday, Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that restrictions imposed by Switzerland on military exports to Russia over events in Ukraine  were counterproductive and not in line with the country's policy of neutrality.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

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by: alesa from: ukraina
March 29, 2014 8:09 AM
Ukraine as a country can be and survive. if there will be war. we are afraid that there will be a new war. we, ordinary residents of western Uraine can not sleep quietly. please pmogite us if you can. targeted assistance.


by: alesa from: ukraina
March 28, 2014 2:42 PM
Hey. I Ales . I live not far from Kiev . Work as a teacher . My husband is a doctor. We have three children . Previously, we have all been good. But the last few months , our life has become a hell. Media do not tell the half of the horrors taking place in Ukraine. Newspapers and TV are lying to you, that does not show the full horror of our existence. Forwards all humanitarian and financial aid goes to the army and the military. And we ordinary Ukrainians are starving .

My husband and I have three months without pay . We are not paid a salary , everything goes by the army . We have nothing to eat and nothing to feed my children. We would like to sell my car and a little jewelry. But no one can buy it. In Ukraine, no one has the money. Because Russia we have to starve. I really want to ask you if you have the desire and ability to help ordinary Ukrainian families such as mine,

DO NOT USE charities ! Money forwarded to charities to help the Ukrainians go to the arms and the military. And we do not want war. We want bread. If you have a desire to help , learn personal information , credit card numbers and accounts of individual families and send them at least one dollar , it is very save them . But not through charities, please do not help Ukraine prepare for war.

Help us survive ordinary Ukrainians . If you want to know more detail about what is happening in Ukraine write me an email alesa.haus@gmail.com . I'll tell you the truth , because I do not care what is happening in my country, and that talking about it. And please spread this letter to let everyone know .

In Response

by: Tomek from: Poland
March 29, 2014 7:30 AM
You are KGB agent. In Ukraina situation is under control but Russian army attack Ukrainians' Crimea -what of course is illegal. About 100 000 more Russian troops are close to Ukrainian border.

Do not send money to Russian banks!!! Do not help Russian BARBARIANS, NEO-NAZI, NEO-STALINIST to attacking independent nations.

In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
March 28, 2014 5:07 PM
The western news media report what the western governments tell them to report.. They'll blame the Russians for what the criminals do.... The crime rate must be up 100%, with criminal gangs and militias forming everywhere..... (Thank the EU and NATO)......
I bet the protesters that started the protests, wish now that they wouldn't have done it.... NOW Ukraine must survive many dark days, with no one to step up and lead them....


by: Anonymous
March 28, 2014 2:41 PM
What, dis is oppression and it make's me believe dat Russia is a bully

In Response

by: Tomek from: Poland
March 29, 2014 9:41 AM
Is it ok to invate Ukrainians Crimea by Russian army?

In Response

by: larry from: US
March 28, 2014 3:04 PM
Russia is NOT going to invade anything other than Crimea. This is nothing but a western fable.


by: Martin
March 28, 2014 2:09 PM
And yet again no one cares about the actual population, it is all about political power and strategic scheming from overseas. Did you know crimea is a great surfing place? Why aare there no coverage about the situation of normal people?


by: guest from: from Russia
March 28, 2014 1:27 PM
You discuss the suggestions of your President Obama but situation is very difficult for him. He tries to do impossible. He declared that Russian never return Crim to Ukraine. I explane some details that you don't know. There were 20 000 ukrainian soldiers,salors and polismens in Crim. 13 000 refused to serve new kiev's junta . All their titles and merits were saved. And now they one by one sweare President Putin and come to serve in Russian Army and Police in Crim. Otherwise they demobilize with russian pension that significant large than ukrainian and remain to lieve in Crim. Only 7000 soldiers desided to serve kiev's junta . They were drived in Kiev from Crim.

I saw in Russian TV how ignorant american commentators laughed at your President US. It ' s bad. Please estimate yourself is it possible in such situation to find any disision? I think is impossible. Do you understand that in Russian Army and Police in Crim will serve ukrainian soldiers and policmen (in past) with russian? It is not occupation. They were borned on territory of Ukraine. And it is fool to name them as occupants. I suppose that your press hides such details. What President Obama will do with these ukrainian soldiers and policmen? May be shoot? Not. Is impossible to deside this problem. These ukrainian soldiers and policmen will defense Crim against kiev's junta

Nobody in Russia attaches importance the resolution of UNO because one ignores realities. It would be good idea to know all realities in Crim before be a judge. Prime Minister Medvedev suggested to create in Crim the gambling zone. Ukrainian's press writed with resentment "Russian want to create Las Vegas in Crim!" I hope you have no a resentment against Las Vegas. May be this idea help all to come agrement? Who knows? I am sure no trouble to find american's investors to create new Las Vegas in Crim. Do you agree? Of course, this is fantasy about new Las Vegas... But situation for inhabitants in Crim became significant better after Crim joined to Russia. Is impossible to force the inhabitants of Crim return in poor, bandit's Ukraine.This is sad truth.

In Response

by: Tomek from: Poland
March 29, 2014 9:34 AM
This is an example of neo-nazi, neo-Stali, barbarian Putin's propaganda!!


by: meanbill from: USA
March 28, 2014 12:08 PM
Ukraine is slipping into chaos, violence, and anarchy, with armed militias forming like in Libya, with no accepted leader to lead them.. and (neo-Nazi, ultra-right-wing Right Sector gangs, and other ultra-right-wing Ukraine extremists) seem to be leading the pack....
Putin and Russia are poised to rush in Ukraine, using the (NATO rules, article 4), for "Humanitarian reasons" to protect innocent Russians, like NATO used in attacking and bombing Yugoslavia (Serbia), and forcing them to give up their land to KOSOVO.... (Putin uses "NATO rules" for Humanitarian reasons)

In Response

by: Tomek from: Poland
March 29, 2014 7:18 AM
neo-Nazineo-Stalin, barbarian and agressive is Putin - still a KGB agent!!! Ukrainians want to be independent and free!!!

In Response

by: Sasha from: Miami
March 28, 2014 2:14 PM
All is calm there, just got off the Skype with my family in eastern Ukraine.


by: dbben from: central time
March 28, 2014 11:38 AM
as i vet and democrat, i think putin handled this situation perfectly. as such, there was no civil war and no blood shed. as for the troops there, russia is only sending a message that there will be no invasion by the ukraines. and most certainly russia has no intent on invading any other paranoid western-ized country there.


by: meanbill from: USA
March 28, 2014 11:01 AM
CRAZY isn't it? ... Kim Jung Un said the exact same thing Obama says now, about the US and South Korean troops massed and doing military exercises on the North Korean borders? ... (NOW Obama knows how Kim Jong Un feels?) CRAZY? ... IF only the US and the 27 other NATO countries knew diplomacy, and discussed the differences between Russia and them, instead of threatening Russia, imposing sanctions, calling Putin names, and other girly things..


by: Anonymous
March 28, 2014 10:09 AM
You better get your thick head checked Putin. Obviously you didnt learn your lesson STILL.... What you did was counter productive, the consequences were not. To say the consequences were counterproductive just goes to show how stupid you really are.


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
March 28, 2014 9:03 AM
Counterproductive, that is what it is. Confrontational, again that is what it was. It is called audacity of hope: hope that Russia may flag under intimidation by the number of intimidated nation states that could not find their voice to say where they belong. They simply fail to vote. 58 of them. Audacity of hope that there are only 11 nation states in the world that know what they want outside Russia and USA leading 11 countries and 100 countries respectively. But I want to point out here that the audacity of hope cannot persist, for hope does not change reality on the ground unless by compromise - spiritual phenomenon called miracle.

The world is hovering at the brinks today because of nation states that have failed to represent their citizens but have become proxies, messengers, stooges of donors making themselves available for the highest bidder. The whole of Europe has been compromised due to inordinate desire to be pro-USA and/or a misguided fear to be anti-Russian. The Cold Wars have been over for more than twenty years now, yet it was just so in principle, in reality, USA shows that it has been building more blocks of separation and has not relented one bit in making preparation for the war of the superpowers which Ronald Regan baptized the Star Wars expected to rain missiles fitted with nuclear warheads from many space stations orbiting the earth.

When the Russian UN representative Vitaly Churkin called the resolution confrontational, I think it passed a message to the world to understand that Russia is not seeing the US and EU interference in Crimea from the level of joke the Europeans see it to be, having been goaded into collision course with Russia. And that warning should be taken seriously if the world is not ready to see destruction and bloodshed in a war whose magnitude has not been seen in modern history. Crimeans voted to go, why not? If Ukraine elects to call a general referendum to determine terms of its existence, it should also take cognizance of regions that may vote for self determination in future and spell out those terms clearly. In today's world, no one should be held against his wish any longer, even though Europe wants to become subservient and taste the cup colonialism as it poured to the world in the centuries past; now it is controlled by remote terminals from North America. That's their choice. Aside from Europe, I think rest of the world/peoples want to be free.

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