News / Europe

Tensions Rise in Crimea Amid Diplomatic Efforts

US Officials, Lawmakers Search for Solutions to Ukraine Crisisi
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
March 06, 2014 3:43 AM
U.S. officials and lawmakers are voicing strong support for Ukrainian self-determination and economic assistance for Kyiv - and are not ruling out sanctions against Russia as the crisis in Ukraine festers. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Watch related video from VOA's Michael Bowman.
Al Pessin
International efforts to defuse the situation in Ukraine will continue Thursday after a series of meetings Wednesday that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said made some progress.  Meanwhile, tension over Russia's military moves boiled over in parts of eastern Ukraine. 
 
While the diplomats met in Paris, it was a day of heightened tensions in Ukraine, where the standoff between supporters and opponents of Russia’s military moves evolved into shouting and shoving. In one incident in Crimea, a pro-Russian crowd set upon a special United Nations envoy, Robert Serry. He was not injured but was forced to take refuge in a café, and then cut his visit short.
 
A pro-Russian crowd also surged into government offices in the eastern Ukraine town of Donetsk.
 
While that was taking place, top Western, Ukrainian and Russia diplomats held a day-long series of meetings in Paris. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said all parties, including Russia, want a peaceful solution to the situation in Ukraine. 
 
Kerry said expectations of a meeting Wednesday between the Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers were unrealistic. The top U.S. diplomat said he will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov again Thursday on the sidelines of an international conference in Rome, to pursue what Kerry called some “creative and appropriate” ideas.
 
“I don’t think any of us had an anticipation that we were coming here in this moment, in this atmosphere of heightened tension and confrontation, that we were suddenly going to resolve that here this afternoon,” said Kerry.
 
Secretary Kerry said Russia can de-escalate the situation in Ukraine if it chooses to do so.
 
Foreign Minister Lavrov did not appear with Kerry, but earlier, during a visit to Madrid, he accused western nations of trying to meddle in the Ukraine-Russia relationship. Lavrov said the West is trying to gain some advantage in Ukraine, and called the policy “not serious,” and part of a “game.”
 
The foreign minister in Ukraine’s interim government, Andrii Deshchytsia, was also in Paris to consult with his Western counterparts before they met with Lavrov.  He said the future of Ukraine and the entire region is at stake.
 
“It was an aggression by the Russian side on Crimea, but now we have to think about the way out, and way out not only for Ukraine, but way out and future of Russia, how Russia will deal with what Russia did to Ukraine,” said Deshchytsia.
 
Any direct discussion of that will have to wait for another day. 
 
While reaching out to Russia, Western nations are also taking steps to punish it for its military moves in Ukraine’s Crimea region. European Union leaders will hold a summit on Thursday to consider sanctions against Russia and other steps to push for a withdrawal from Ukraine.
 
At NATO headquarters in Brussels Wednesday, alliance ambassadors met with their Russian counterpart to inform him of a series of steps, including an effort to build Ukraine's military capacity through training, exercises and projects to develop its capabilities. 
 
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance will cancel the first joint NATO-Russia military operation, impose a ban on high-level contacts with Russia and conduct a full review of the relationship. He noted that other organizations and individual countries are taking steps as well.
 
“Altogether this will send a very clear message to Russia that they must de-escalate tensions,” said Rasmussen.
 
Rasmussen said the Western approach is a combination of punishment and a readiness for dialogue, which he hopes will bring the crisis to a peaceful end.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid