World News

Russian Fighter Jets Patrolling Ukraine Border

Russia sent fighter jets to patrol its border with Ukraine on Thursday, as fast-paced developments threatened to undermine the new Ukrainian government in Kyiv.

Gunmen seized control of government buildings in Crimea, a Ukrainian region with strong ties to Moscow and home to a Russian naval base in Sevastopol. The gunmen raised the Russian tri-color flag.

Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, on Thursday warned the military leadership of the Sevastopol-based Russian Black Sea Fleet that any movements of Russian forces outside the base would be considered "military aggression."

For its part, Crimea's parliament, whose building was among those seized by pro-Russian gunmen, voted Thursday to dismiss the region's government and to hold a referendum to determine Crimea's status in Ukraine. The referendum is set for May 25, the same day Ukraine will hold a presidential election.

Ethnic Russians account for 58 percent of Crimea's population.

Meanwhile, Russian news agencies reported that Moscow had granted ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's request for personal security "on Russian territory," but provided no other details. They also reported that Mr. Yanukovych will hold a press conference Friday in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.

In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney called on Russia to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and avoid "provocative" actions.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday he had spoken to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who assured him that large-scale Russian military exercises near the Ukrainian border were previously scheduled and not connected to the unrest in Ukraine.

Still, Kerry said during a news conference with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier that "everybody needs to step back and avoid provocations."

Earlier Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Moscow to not take any action on Ukraine that could be misinterpreted.

In Kyiv, the parliament approved former economic minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the country's new prime minister. He accused the Yanukovych government of stealing vast sums from state coffers, leaving the country in severe financial straits.

Mr. Yatsenyuk said $70 billion in Ukrainian government money had been sent to offshore accounts over the last three years and that $37 billion of credit it had received has disappeared.

He said, "I want to report to you. The state treasury has been robbed and is empty."

Mr. Yanukovych released a statement to Russian news agencies from an undisclosed location saying that he still considers himself Ukraine's head of state. He has not been seen in public since Saturday, when Ukraine's parliament voted to dismiss him and set early elections for May 25.



Crimea has been the scene of confrontations between supporters of Ukraine's new government and pro-Russia activists. The region is mainly made up of Russian speakers who support Moscow but is also home to Ukrainians and to minority Muslim Tatars who are generally anti-Russia.

Yatsenyuk is a pro-Western former foreign minister and economy minister. One of his first major jobs would be preventing the Ukrainian economy from collapse.

The White House says it strongly supports Ukrainian leaders as they work to form a multiparty government to represent all Ukrainians. It calls a broad-based government committed to reconciliation the necessary foundation for international aid.

Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. is considering $1 billion in loan guarantees for Ukraine.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the military exercises launched Wednesday were to check "readiness to deal with crisis situations that threaten the nation's military security."

Anti-government demonstrations erupted three months ago in Ukraine when Mr. Yanukovych backed out of a European Union trade deal in favor of economic aid from Russia. The violence escalated last week, leaving nearly 100 people dead.

Ukraine's interim leaders have dissolved an elite security force accused of carrying out some of those deadly attacks on protesters.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs