World News

Signs of US-Russia Diplomacy to Solve Ukraine Crisis

Chances for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine may be improving, based on new comments from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and word that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is flying to Europe to try to arrange an immediate meeting with the Kremlin envoy.

Kerry had been heading back to Washington from Saudi Arabia when he learned of Lavrov's pledge - aired on Russian state television - that Russia now has no intention of, or interest in, sending its military into Ukraine following its seizure and annexation of Crimea.

The top U.S. diplomat's plane changed course during a refueling stop Saturday in Shannon, Ireland. Reporters were told Kerry and his aides were now bound for Paris, and that efforts were under way to arrange a meeting with Lavrov as soon as possible.

VOA's Scott Stearns, traveling on the secretary's plane, said no details were immediately available, but that it appeared Kerry and Lavrov could meet on Sunday or Monday, either in Paris or elsewhere in Europe.

President Barack Obama and Russian leader Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone late Friday about the need for a diplomatic settlement of the crisis over Russia's confrontation with Ukraine, and they also signaled there would be further talks between their top diplomats. The United States has urged Russia to pull back its troops from the Ukrainian border and begin negotiating to defuse tensions.

The U.S. also has been pressing Russia to allow international monitors into Crimea to assure the ethnic-Ukrainian population there is safe.

A Russian military buildup around Ukraine during the past few days has caused worldwide concern, including fears that President Putin's policies might be steering his nation toward "a new Cold War." U.S. officials estimate Russia has massed 40,000 troops close to Ukraine's borders; Ukrainian government officials contend the Russian buildup around their northern, eastern and southern borders is closer to 100,000 troops.

A crisis in relations between Moscow and Kyiv took a turn for the worse nearly a month ago, when Russian forces moved into Crimea in support of a breakaway movement there. Pro-Russian forces in Crimea unilaterally proposed and held a short-notice referendum in Crimea. The vote declared the Black Sea territory independent of Ukrainian control by a margin of more than nine to one, and local authorities in Crimea began seizing control of Ukrainian state assets.

Mr. Putin and the Russian parliament subsequently annexed Crimea, making it a separate part of the Russian state although Crimea has no border touching Russia. The annexation met with worldwide condemnation, including a vote by the United Nations General Assembly, and the United States and its European allies began enforcing a series of economic sanctions against Moscow.



Meanwhile, Ukrainian opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko dropped out of race for president Saturday, throwing his support behind billionaire businessman Petro Poroshenko.

Ukraine's former president Viktor Yanukovych left Kyiv for asylum in Russia after large-scale demonstrations against him last month, and the parliament in Kyiv called a presidential election for May.

Klitschko, a former world heavyweight boxing champion, told delegates from his party the only way for the opposition to take over full control in Ukraine is to nominate, support and elect "a single candidate representing democratic forces."

His leaves two clear frontrunners in the May 25 vote - Poroshenko and former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was freed from prison during the tumult of the uprising against Yanukovych.

Ms. Tymoshekno lost in the 2010 presidential election to Mr. Yanukovych. She was jailed in 2011 on charges of abuse of office.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
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 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 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 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.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs