News / Europe

Ukraine Forcing EU to Rethink Russia Policy

Ukraine Forcing EU to Rethink Russiai
X
April 25, 2014 10:24 AM
The head of the European Union's delegation to Russia has cast doubt on the effectiveness of last week's multiparty agreement to reduce tensions in Ukraine. Vygaudas Usackas spoke to reporters as Ukraine called on Russia to explain its military drills near their border. Michael Eckels reports for VOA from Moscow.
Ukraine Forcing EU to Rethink Russia
Michael Eckels
The head of the European Union's delegation to Russia has cast doubt on the effectiveness of last week's mutiparty agreement to reduce tensions in Ukraine.  Vygaudas Usackas spoke to VOA's Russian service about EU-Russia relations as Ukraine called on Russia to explain its military drills near their border.

Usackas says there are no magic solutions to the problems in Ukraine. The Geneva accords are the only mutually agreed upon platform for resolution, he says, but they may not be working.
 
“Unfortunately, in the eastern part of Ukraine, we have seen little if at all progress with respect to implementation [of the] Geneva accords especially when it comes to the disarmament of illegally armed groups," said Usackas.

Usackas called on Russia to “step up” its efforts to ease the tension.  In eastern Ukraine Thursday fighting between Ukrainian security forces and pro-Russia activists killed at least five militants. Russian President Vladimir Putin called it a "crime" and threatened what he described as “consequences.”
 
Usackas had this to say about the Ukrainian government’s “anti-terrorist” operations.
 
“We respect the right of the Ukrainian government to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, but, at the same time, we call upon all parties concerned, including the Ukrainian government, to avoid provocative actions," he said.

As Usackas urged peace, Russian forces stationed just over the Ukrainian border began military exercises in response to the Kyiv government's operations. Usackas said more sanctions could be in the future for Russia.
 
“Work is being done by the [European] commission in preparing a possible third stage of sanctions which may involve an economic nature," said Usackas.

He says sanctions could intensify if the Geneva accords fall through. Those sanctions would likely involve more travel bans and asset freezes - not oil and gas embargoes.
 
“Both parties are very realistic that, for the foreseeable future, [they] will remain mutually interdependent.  In terms of energy cooperation, Russia needs cash and we need Russian gas,' he said.

Meanwhile,  the Interfax news agency reported that Russia’s Gazprom has issued its Ukrainian counterpart Naftogaz a bill of $11.4 billion for a purchase shortfall.
 
Usackas says that in the modern globalized world market, the EU must think carefully about what he called its “ultimate purpose” in dealing with Russia.
 
“The Russian Federation is different than what we expected, and we have to acknowledge that and deal with the realities," he said.

For now, those realities are uncertain as diplomacy strives to keep the war of words from transferring to the battlefield.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mark from: Virginia
April 25, 2014 9:18 PM
It is clear to me now that both sides, Ukraine and Russia, are itching for a fight. They want to have a go at each other. Both sides are posturing and rattling sabers, a deadly staring contest over eastern Ukraine. I say the US and EU need to step back and let these two game-cocks loose on each other.
Diplomacy and sanctions are ineffective, words will not solve this crisis. Each side is going to continue in this shoving match and nothing short of out-right war between the two is going to stop it.
I do not condone war, it is a waste of human life, but there are times when 'the better angels of our nature' have to be put aside and let the ravaging monsters loose.
Sad, but unfortunately, it is the way some things have to happen.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs