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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
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 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 US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of 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 Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
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.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs