World News

Truce in Ukrainian Capital As President Meets With Opposition Leaders

Burning barricades were extinguished in Ukraine's capital Kyiv Thursday after anti-government protesters agreed to a brief truce in clashes with police until President Viktor Yanukovych finished a second round of meetings with opposition leaders.

The opposition leaders, including boxer-turned-politician Vitaly Klitschko, are demanding the resignation of the government of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, early presidential elections and the lifting of recently-imposed restrictions on protests. On Wednesday, they set a 24-hour deadline for Mr. Yanukovych to agree to their demands.

President Yanukovych called Thursday for an emergency session of parliament to end the crisis. Prime Minister Azarov, attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, called the demand for early presidential elections "unrealistic" and accused the anti-government protesters of attempting a "coup d'etat."

On Wednesday, opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk told supporters "we will march forward together" if the president does not end the crackdown. At least three protesters have been killed in the clashes in Kyiv and hundreds have been injured.

Klitschko, speaking Wednesday alongside Yatseniuk, vowed to "do whatever it takes" to end the violence and resolve the crisis.

On Thursday, the unrest spread outside Kyiv when hundreds of anti-government protesters in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv stormed the office of the regional governor (Oleh Salo) and forced him to write a letter of resignation.

The United States has condemned the latest violence, and warned of possible sanctions against Ukraine if President Yanukovych fails to protect the democratic rights of all Ukrainians. The State Department blamed the violence on both the government and far-right extremists.

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso urged Mr. Yanukovych in a telephone conversation Thursday to refrain from using violence and to enter into a dialogue with the opposition.

European Commission spokesman Oliver Bailly said that President Yanukovych reassured Mr. Barroso that he will not enact a state of emergency to end the protests.

On Wednesday, the European Commission president said he was "shocked" by the deaths of protesters in Ukraine and warned of "possible actions" by the EU against Kyiv should the situation deteriorate. Mr. Barroso said it was premature to say what those actions might be.

The protests were sparked by President Yankovych's decision last November to back out of an agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs