News / Europe

Kerry Says 'Russian Agents' Behind Crisis in Eastern Ukraine

Secretary of State Kerry testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 8, 2014, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to discuss his budget and the status of diplomatic hot spots around the world.
Secretary of State Kerry testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 8, 2014, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to discuss his budget and the status of diplomatic hot spots around the world.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Russia is fueling separatist unrest in Eastern Ukraine that could be a "contrived crisis" to justify military intervention and that Moscow faces tougher banking, mining, and energy sanctions if it does not stop undermining Ukraine.

Kerry said President Barack Obama is preparing a far-tougher series of sanctions if Russia does not step back from what he calls its "clear and unmistakable involvement" in destabilizing Eastern Ukraine.

"So Russia has a choice: to work with the international community to help build an independent Ukraine that could be a bridge between East and West not the object of a tug of war, that could meet the hopes and aspiration of all Ukrainians; or they could face greater isolation and pay the cost for their failure to see that the world is not a zero-sum game," he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday.
  • A pro-Russian protester whose helmet reads "Donetsk Republic," pickets a building where Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was meeting with regional leaders from eastern Ukraine, in Donetsk, April 11, 2014.
  • Leaders of pro-Russian protesters hold a news briefing inside the seized office of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, April 11, 2014.
  • A group of pro-Russian activists warm themselves at a bonfire next to barricades in front of an entrance to the Ukrainian regional office of the Security Service in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 11, 2014.
  • Motorists watch a Ukrainian military convoy pass by near the city of Donetsk, Ukraine, April 10, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian protesters set barbed wire on a barricade outside the SBU state security service in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 10, 2014.
  • Masked pro-Russian activists guard barricades at the regional administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, April 9, 2014.
  • A pro-Russian activist speaks to other protesters at barricades in front of a security service regional office in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 9, 2014.
  • A masked man stands in front of barricades and Soviet era red and Russian national flags at an entrance to the regional office of the security service in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 9, 2014.
  • Communist lawmakers scuffle with right-wing Svoboda (Freedom) Party lawmakers during a session of the Ukrainian parliament in Kyiv, April 8, 2014.
  • A view through a broken window of the regional administration building shows a cordon of Interior Ministry members blocking a group of pro-Russian protesters in Kharkiv, Ukraine, April 8, 2014.
  • Street cleaners sweep away bullet cases as they remove trash and a barricade erected by pro-Russian protesters near a building of the state security service in Donetsk, Ukraine, April 8, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian activists gather behind a barricade with Russian flags in front of the entrance to the regioanl security service office in Luhansk, west of the Russian border, in Ukraine, April 8, 2014.
Pro-Russian separatists in southeastern regions are demanding referenda on splitting with Ukraine, the same kind of vote that took place last month in Crimea after Russian troops took control there.
Kerry Says 'Russian Agents' Behind Crisis in Eastern Ukrainei
Scott Stearns
April 08, 2014 9:03 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Russia is fueling separatist unrest in Eastern Ukraine that could be a "contrived crisis" to justify military intervention. And as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Secretary Kerry says Moscow is facing tougher banking, mining, and energy sanctions if it does not stop undermining Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said those regions should be included in talks next week with the United States, European Union and Ukrainian government.

Secretary Kerry told U.S. lawmakers it is "not a small matter" that Russia has agreed to those talks.  But before then, he says Moscow must disavow separatist actions, pull back troops along the border, and demonstrate that they will do what is necessary to de-escalate.

Republican Senator Bob Corker said the Obama administration is inconsistent by criticizing Russian action while agreeing to include them in talks on Ukraine's future.

"We castigate them on one side.  On the other hand we are exchanging paper with them.  I am confused about what our policy really is," he told the secretary.

Kerry responded that Washington's preference is a negotiated settlement, but it will not hesitate to use "21st century tools to hold Russia accountable for 19th century behavior."

"These efforts are as ham-handed as they are transparent, frankly," he said. "And quite simply what we see from Russia is an illegal and illegitimate effort to destabilize a sovereign state and create a contrived crisis with paid operatives across an international boundary."
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen says Moscow's intervention in Ukraine would be a "historic mistake" that would further isolate Russia from the world.

Russia's Foreign Ministry is calling for provisional authorities in Kyiv to halt what it called "military preparations" in southeast regions that could lead to civil war.
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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: AAR from: Global
April 10, 2014 7:25 PM
Fellow citizens....Crimea is not part of Russia....never was....this part of the world has changed hand numerous times over the centuries...Russia (USSR) deported the original inhabitants and replaced them with Pro Soviet ex army personnel....millions of Crimeans went to Siberia (or worse) whole populations of Ukraine and the Volga were killed or deported...Putin knows where they buried the bodies....people need to stand up....WWII happened for a reason.......

by: Popsiq from: Buganda
April 09, 2014 1:03 PM
Golly, the 'apponted' government of 'Free Ukraine' is saying exactly the ssame thing! So Kerry must be right!

All the 'agents' who protested them into that appontment are now "mobilized" in tents along the Russian border - waiting to be martyred for the cause if the 'bear' comes sniffing across tthe national anti-tank ditch.

If they weren't alrerady busy rioting over ffood and fighting each other for mattresses and blankets, they could be used to put those 'russian agents' in their place.

by: PK from: Virginia
April 09, 2014 9:28 AM
Kerry is correct when he claims Russia is instigating separatist acts. I have friends that live in Lugansk. They have told me that Russians are coming into their city and paying people $100 US to protest pro-Russian. Perhaps this doesn't sound like a substantial amount of money to people in the USA, but it is nearly a 1/2 months salary for many people in Ukraine.
In Response

by: Popsiq from: Buganda
April 09, 2014 1:06 PM
So you think the prtomisre of increased wages and pensions is driving the protest too? If it wasn't for the $100 they'd prefer to stay in the Ukraine to pay off the national debt?
Don't be silly.
This "charge" is based on video of some ladies COLLECTING money to make sandwiches.

by: p from: bay
April 09, 2014 4:20 AM
Russia is pulling a bait and switch... Ukraine's roots run deeper with Russia...Cause a problem, US offers all possible peaceful solutions for Ukrainians. .. Russia gets more violent, now the US has to arm the Ukrainians...
Then bang bang... free resources, and Russia absorbs the Ukraine...
In Response

by: Popsiq from: Buganda
April 09, 2014 1:22 PM
The US is driving the NATO bus. So why not avoid the unnecessary destruction of Ukraine? Ukraine independent of NATO is what this is ALL about.

by: Robin Allott from: UK
April 09, 2014 12:26 AM
What is going on with "the West" disregarding any rational proposal or comment by the Russians and responding with threats and crude insults. It is the oldest trick in politics. Whenever electorates in a country are deeply dissatisfied with the economic or political situation and the governing elite are losing power, start a war or ramp up threats and warlike talk, bluster. Opinion polls in the United States show that virtually every segment of the political system: the Senate, the House of Representatives, the President, the Republicans. the Democrats, are facing near-total disapproval. For example, most voters would not support the re-election of any of the present members of Congress (Google US opinion polls). Obama's approval rating is abysmally low. The United States is effectively bankrupt. The Congress is deadlocked. Defence expenditure is being cut. The population wants no more costly failed wars. The President is using executive orders (? extra-constitutionally) because he cannot get his legislation through Congress - a total mess. Meanwhile the House and Senate spend their otherwise free time drafting bellicose and and malevolent bills blindly targeted at Russia. France is in a total mess following disastrous election results. Polls in the UK (Populus) show how low and insulting an opinion a majority of the electorate have for current "leaders". Only Germany is thriving - using a golden opportunity to consolidate its hegemony in the European "Union" (historically a most remarkable resurgence) and to confirm its comfortable new role as the most important and faithful ally of the United States. The principal loser in all this nonsense is Ukraine itself - a desperate present and a desperate future.

by: Anonymous
April 08, 2014 7:28 PM
Kerry should stay out of it he is too timit and unpractical to prosit with the wolfs

by: Vijay Sidram Birajdar from: india
April 08, 2014 6:33 PM
A begginer but VOA reader and listener from 2o India.

by: Vijay Sidram Birajdar from: india
April 08, 2014 6:30 PM
My friend Mr khan ex military man told no axis to this issue no comments we do our own home work of internal took any issues.

by: Gary from: Minnesota
April 08, 2014 6:04 PM
Yet, Putin warned two years ago that Hillary Clinton (sec of state at the time), her activist and NGO's would cause problems in the future. Basically the same as they did in Egypt, Libya and Syria, using activists and NGO's. Can the Western media be trusted? Can out own State Department be trusted? Every American needs to be able to ponder those questions, honestly.
In Response

by: john from: sydney
April 12, 2014 8:44 AM
I dont trust the media. I dont trust the American political leadership. I go with Craig Paul Roberts take on things.

by: Educated Opinion
April 08, 2014 3:03 PM
America and EU backing riots and the removal of the elected leader in violation of existing treaties=The US/EU are protecting their economic interests, so it's OK, despite once again creating chaos and anarchy in countries that do not belong to them.

Russia backing the original legally elected government and the people opposing the US/EU interference with the legitimate government of the Ukraine=OMG we must stop them at all costs. Let's spend huge amounts of money and create an international furor over Russia protecting it's economic interests.

Really? A quick check of Wikipedia will show that the US has a long history of doing exactly what the US is accusing Russia of. The US has serious work to do cleaning up it's own reputation before it can criticize any other nation about foreign policy. Right now America is considered the greatest threat to world peace:

Note that Russia is not even on the list. Until that changes, do you want your tax dollars going to overseas to countries many Americans can't place on a map? Making a big deal about other countries is a convenient way to ignore the problems at home.

America's great highways are crumbling, the economy is damaged, and Americans are weary of war. It's time to look to the home front, not seek new battle fronts.
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