News / Europe

    Poroshenko May Be Ready to Resume Cease-fire

    FILE - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko makes a televised address in Kyiv, June 30, 2014.
    FILE - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko makes a televised address in Kyiv, June 30, 2014.
    VOA News

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he is ready to resume a cease-fire in his military campaign against pro-Russian separatists if certain conditions are met.

    The Ukrainian president's website said Thursday that he discussed the situation in eastern Ukraine in a phone call with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

    It quoted Poroshenko as telling Biden he is ready to return to a cease-fire as soon as it can be confirmed that both sides are observing it, and also on condition that all hostages are released and control over the Ukrainian-Russian border is established, with monitoring by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    Poroshenko declared a unilateral, week-long cease-fire June 20 and then extended it by three days. Citing lack of cooperation from rebels, he refused a second extension and ordered new military operations on Tuesday.

    New defense minister

    Earlier Thursday, the president replaced top defense officials, naming Valery Heletey as Ukraine's new defense minister, and Viktor Muzhenko as chief of the military's general staff.

    Also Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande discussed the situation in Ukraine during a three-way telephone call.

    Hollande’s office said he and Merkel called on Putin “to intervene with the separatists to get them to negotiate and reach an agreement with the Ukrainian authorities.”

    The Kremlin said the Russian president “expressed deep concern in connection with the increase in casualties among the civilian population and a sharp increase in the number of refugees from southeastern Ukraine on Russian territory."

    • A military vehicle bearing a Ukrainian flag at a checkpoint near Slaviansk in eastern Ukraine, July 3, 2014.
    • A woman holds a sign a protest against the crisis in eastern Ukraine orgainsed by the Russian communist party in Moscow ,July 3, 2014.
    • Volunteers from the Donbass battalion and Maidan self-defense group stand guard with official security guards outside the Ukrainian parliament in Kyiv, July 3, 2014.
    • Relatives grieve after traffic police officers were attacked by unknown assailants in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, July 3, 2014.
    • Pro-Russian fighters stand patrol near Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, July 2, 2014.
    • Workers remove concrete slabs from a school damaged through attacks, in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, July 2, 2014.
    • People carry their belongings as they walk to cross the border into Russia at the Ukrainian-Russian border checkpoint in Severniy, Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine, July 2, 2014.
    • Municipal workers remove tires as they dismantle barricades set up during the protests that toppled Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovych in central Kyiv, July 1, 2014.
    • A man and his daughter walk to a pumping station to get water in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk, July 1, 2014.
    • An armed pro-Russian separatist stands guard at a check point in the Ukrainian eastern city of Slovyansk, July 1, 2014.
    • A woman and children walk past a damaged street market in the Ukrainian eastern city of Slovyansk, July 1, 2014.
    • People collect water at a pumping station in the Ukrainian eastern city of Slovyansk, July 1, 2014.
    • Valery, who gave only his first name, carries his injured cat in front of his damaged house after shelling, in the city of Slovyansk, June 30, 2014.
    • A man looks out of a window of his apartment, which was damaged by shelling, in Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine, June 30, 2014.


    EU talks

    On Wednesday, the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany met in Berlin and said talks aimed at resuming a cease-fire between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian rebels should begin no later than Saturday.

    The diplomats announced their consensus in a statement as fighting raged near the Russian border.  They said the preliminary talks will aim to establish an "unconditional and mutually agreed sustainable cease-fire" monitored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking Wednesday after the Berlin meeting, condemned the Ukrainian leader's decision to end the unilateral cease-fire.  He said that decision cost lives in eastern Ukraine and the "serious destruction of civilian infrastructure."

    But he also promised that Moscow would use its influence with separatist leaders to bring about a bilateral truce.

    Fighting in eastern Ukraine continued Thursday, with Ukraine’s border guard service reporting that rebel forces shelled the Dolzhansky border post with Russia, which Ukrainian forces took back from the separatists after Kyiv resumed its military operations earlier this week. Nine Ukrainian border guards were wounded in the shelling.

    The separatists, for their part, were reported by Russian media as saying Thursday that Ukrainian artillery was shelling the rebel-held cities of Slovyansk, Kramatorsk and surrounding villages.

    President Putin -- speaking hours after military operations resumed Tuesday -- repeated his commitment to protect Russian-speaking people in eastern Ukraine, "using the entire range of available means."

    The United States and its European allies accuse Russia of arming the separatists in eastern Ukraine, and have demanded that the Kremlin stop the cross-border flow of fighters and military hardware into eastern Ukraine.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.