World News

    Russia Warns US Against 'Hasty' Steps in Ukraine

    U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Friday about the crisis in Ukraine.

    The White House said in a statement the president agreed with European leaders on the need for Russia to pull back its forces, allow for the deployment of international observers and human rights monitors to Crimea, and support free and fair presidential elections in May.

    The White House statement said Mr. Obama and Chancellor Merkel discussed the need for Russia to "agree quickly" on the formation of a contact group, leading to direct dialogue between Ukraine and Russia "to de-escalate the situation and restore Ukraine's territorial integrity."

    Meanwhile, in a telephone conversation Friday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the U.S. against taking any "hasty and reckless steps" that could harm Russian-American relations. Lavrov said the sanctions would hit the U.S. "like a boomerang.:"

    Earlier Friday, armed men smashed a Russian military truck through the gates of a Ukrainian missile defense post in the Crimean peninsula, but they were not successful in taking control of the base.

    Outside the base, men who appeared to be local pro-Russian militia members were reported to have roughed up journalists.

    In Simferopol security footage appeared to show one man, reported to be a photographer, having a gun held to his head while his camera was seized, for having taken photographs of other journalists being beaten and robbed.



    Also Friday, Ukraine's Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov signed a decree canceling a planned referendum on Crimea joining Russia.

    A day earlier,Crimea's Moscow-backed legislature voted for the peninsula to become part of Russia and scheduled a referendum on the issue for March 16.

    Ukraine's interim prime minister says that "no one in the civilized world" will recognize the referendum's results.

    Arseniy Yatsenyuk says he wants to "warn separatists" and others he describes as "traitors of the Ukrainian state" that their decisions are "unlawful" and "unconstitutional." U.S. and European leaders also called the referendum illegal.

    Crimean officials fired back Friday, saying the vote will go forward.

    The speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament said Friday Russian lawmakers will support Crimea's decision if the Ukrainian region decides to join Russia. Tens of thousands of people turned out for a rally in the Russian capital to show solidarity with Crimea's pro-Russian authorities.

    Ukraine and Russia have been locked in a tense standoff since Russian forces entered the Crimean peninsula a week ago.

    Also Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said he hoped that Russia and the West do not return to a period of tensions like the Cold War.

    Russian news agencies quoted Dmitry Peskov as saying that despite "profound disagreements" between the two sides, "the hope remains that as a result of dialogue it will be possible to find some common ground."

    Still, Peskov dismissed the idea that Western countries could mediate talks between Russia and Ukraine.

    Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk said Friday his government is "prepared to rebuild relations with Russia." But he said Russia must withdraw its troops, fulfill its agreements with Ukraine and stop supporting separatists in Crimea.

    President Obama spoke by phone Thursday with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the Ukraine crisis, but the two leaders found little common ground.

    The White House says Mr. Obama told Mr. Putin the presence of Russian forces in Crimea is a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty. The Kremlin says Mr. Putin denounced Ukraine's new government as "illegitimate" and said Russia cannot ignore calls for help from Ukraine's Russia-leaning east and south.

    Also Thursday, Mr. Obama authorized sanctions, including visa restrictions, against those found to have violated Ukraine's territorial integrity. The EU also took measures against Russia, suspending talks on visas and a new economic agreement.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora