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

    Water Scarcity Could Push Conflict, Migration by 2050

    Warning comes in a new report from the World Bank titled "High and Dry: Climate Change, Water and the Economy"

    What Your First Name Says About Who You Support for President

    Bobby, Betty and Curtis tend to support Donald Trump while people named Juan, Liz or Mohammad are more likely to lean toward Hillary Clinton

    South Pole Diary: In Round-the-clock Darkness, Radiant Moon Shines Like the Sun

    You hear more and see more when the moon first comes out; it’s your senses in overdrive, tuning into a new world.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora