News / Europe

    Russian Army Said to Be Tipping Balance in E. Ukraine

    A local resident walks past buildings damaged by recent shelling in the eastern Ukrainian village of Semenovka, July 9, 2014.
    A local resident walks past buildings damaged by recent shelling in the eastern Ukrainian village of Semenovka, July 9, 2014.
    Al Pessin

    Ukraine’s national security spokesman said Thursday Russian forces are conducting a multi-faceted campaign from their own side of the border against Ukrainian troops.  The allegation came a week after the downing of the Malaysian airliner in the rebel-held part of eastern Ukraine.
     
    Colonel Andriy Lysenko says the Russian troops across the border are using a variety of weapons to attack Ukrainian units that are fighting Russian-backed separatists.
     
    Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said that in the last 24 hours Russian forces have fired Grad missiles at six Ukrainian checkpoints, including one at the Luhansk airport.  He said they also fired artillery shells, grenades and small arms at various locations along the border.
     
    At Kyiv’s International Center for Policy Studies, Iaroslav Kovalchuk said the direct action by the Russian army significantly changes the military balance in the region.
     
    “There are Russian troops that try to provoke the Ukraine army, that try to destabilize the whole border, but Ukrainian troops cannot [do] anything because it would be considered a military response," he said. "So, the situation is very tricky and the direct involvement of Russia really aggravates the whole status quo in the east."

    The Russian military involvement appears to indicate that President Vladimir Putin is not willing to allow the separatists to lose in eastern Ukraine.  But Kovalchuk said Putin’s calculation may change in the coming months, in the wake of the Malaysia Airlines disaster and as international sanctions begin to bite.

    MH17 crash site access

    In eastern Ukraine, where Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down a week ago, rebels have allowed only a limited number of foreigners to access the sites where remnants of the plane are scattered. Most of them are observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, along with a handful of international experts who have managed to reach the area.

    An armed pro-Russian separatist guards a crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, July 24, 2014.An armed pro-Russian separatist guards a crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, July 24, 2014.
    x
    An armed pro-Russian separatist guards a crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, July 24, 2014.
    An armed pro-Russian separatist guards a crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, July 24, 2014.


    OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw told reporters that a week after the incident, members of his team finally got to one of the major sites on Thursday.
     
    “Just now we visited an impact sight which we hadn’t visited before, but it had, by far I think, the most pieces of kind of large, intact debris," he said. "In a wooded area, for example, we saw a piece with the window still intact, and it was very, very large.”

    Bociurkiw said he saw no local experts working in the area on Thursday.
     
    The head of Ukraine’s Emergency Services agency says there is no plan for locally-based workers to resume the search until experts in the Netherlands determine how many bodies have already been recovered.  Initial reports said all 298 bodies were aboard rail cars sent out of the rebel zone this week, but officials say that may not be true.  The emergency chief said the last of the bodies received from the train should be transported to Amsterdam by Friday.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.