News / Europe

Separatists Hold Ukrainian Cities; Local Defense in Kyiv Stands Firm

Separatists Hold Ukrainian Cities; Local Defense in Kyiv Stands Firmi
X
Brian Padden, Arash Arabasadi
May 01, 2014 8:39 PM
In eastern Ukraine, separatists continue to seize and occupy government buildings, while in Kyiv, the capital, protesters continue their occupation of Maidan Square. Despite an agreement made in Geneva requiring all groups to disarm, there's no end in sight to the standoff. Arash Arabasasdi reports from Kyiv.
Arash ArabasadiBrian Padden
In eastern Ukraine, separatists continue to seize and occupy government buildings, while in Kyiv, the capital, protesters continue their occupation of Maidan Square.  Despite an agreement made in Geneva requiring all groups to disarm, there's no end in sight to the standoff.    

Crowds hit the streets in Kyiv for a rally celebrating May Day, but protester Marina Pryluky says this demonstration is a symbol of unity far removed from the separatist violence in the east.

“We are not afraid of provocative actions.  We are here in peace.  It would be inappropriate for provocateurs to change that.  We have police here for that reason," said Pryluky.

In Kyiv, paramilitary forces have camped in the area surrounding Maidan Square for months.  Activists like Gregoriy say they're there to protect the people of Ukraine.

“We are here for the truth.  We are here for our country, for Ukraine.  The fact that Russians have come to this land is unjust.  That they have made this tragedy real and killed a lot of innocent people... that is also unjust," said Gregoriy.

An agreement reached last month in Geneva between the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and the EU called for the disarming of illegal groups in Ukraine.  

Kyiv sees separatist groups as violators of the agreement. Moscow says Ukrainian nationalist paramilitary groups like Right Sector should be forced to disband, but they say their actions are in defense of Ukraine while separatists violate the constitution. 

“The Geneva agreement does not concern Pravy Sektor [Right Sector].  It concerns only the separatists acting in the eastern parts of Ukraine," spokesman Artjom Skorpatsky said.

Even if the Ukrainian government had the will to disarm the paramilitary groups, it may not have the muscle. 

“Now, the Ukrainian government is not in control of the situation," said analyst Sergey Slobodchuk.  "They simply cannot disarm all the military groups."

Political leaders say the only way to move forward in Kyiv is to reestablish peace in the east. 

“There's pressure from Russia, and that's certainly a negative," said union leader Mikhailo Volynets. "We're able to mobilize.  And, when everything is organized in a peaceful way, it will be possible to resolve all these questions without force."

The Ukrainian military recently started nighttime drills in Kyiv.  And separatists keep encroaching in the east.  Tensions continue rising, just weeks before a presidential election in Ukraine.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More