News / Europe

Top US Diplomat to Meet With Ukrainian Opposition Leaders

FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
x
FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Mike Richman
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry plans to meet with Ukrainian opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Vitaly Klitschko Saturday in Germany, on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich. This comes as embattled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych makes overtures to the opposition in hopes of ending the country's political crisis. 

President Yanukovych recently offered the post of prime minister to Yatsenyuk and that of deputy prime minister to Klitschko, a former world boxing champion.  Those offers were not accepted.

On Friday, Ukraine's president signed into law a bill granting conditional amnesty to anti-government protesters.  The opposition has rejected the measure.

In a stop in Berlin Friday, Kerry said such overtures have not been enough to resolve Ukraine's political crisis.  He said if the government presents a reform agenda offering "genuine participation," the opposition should consider embracing it.

The U.S. diplomat spoke to reporters alongside German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. 

"If you are able to secure genuine participation and a genuine ability to bring the country together, then we would urge them to engage in that because further standoff and further violence, or violence that becomes uncontrollable, is not in anybody's interest," he said.

On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama also weighed in on the unrest in Ukraine in an online chat hosted by the web search engine Google.

"There has to be a way to restructure the Ukrainian government in a way that allows the voices of the opposition and those folks on the streets to be heard in preparation for some sort of democratic process that creates a government with greater legitimacy and unity," he said.

Ukrainians took to the streets in November when President Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer economic ties with Russia.  The protests have sparked deadly clashes between demonstrators and police.

"The people of Ukraine clearly are looking, clearly are looking to Europe and the West as a partner in a more free, more free market-based economy," said Obama.  "Obviously they also have strong historic ties to Russia, as well as a lot of commercial relationships with Russia, and those don't need to be sacrificed.  But what I think the people of Ukraine do not want to see - and this is evidenced by what's happened on the streets - is a situation where behind closed doors their aspirations for a more free society and one that's integrated with Europe more closely, that that's foreclosed.''

Yanukovych has accused opposition leaders of escalating the political crisis, and says the government has met its obligations to end it.  The opposition says he must still meet several key demands, including holding early elections.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs