News / Europe

US Airborne Lands in Eastern Europe as Ukraine Tensions Rise

First company-sized contingent of about 150 U.S. paratroopers from the U.S. Army's 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team based in Italy march as they arrive to participate in training exercises with the Polish army in Swidwin, Poland, April 23, 2014.
First company-sized contingent of about 150 U.S. paratroopers from the U.S. Army's 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team based in Italy march as they arrive to participate in training exercises with the Polish army in Swidwin, Poland, April 23, 2014.
VOA News
U.S. Army paratroopers landed Wednesday in Poland, at the start of military maneuvers aimed at easing anxieties in allied eastern European countries alarmed at Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.

The Pentagon said the exercises, slated to last about a month, initially involve about 600 troops, including 150 members of an airborne combat team based in Italy. Additional units are set for deployment in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The troop landing comes one day after Ukraine scrapped a truce and resumed its push against armed pro-Russian separatists occupying buildings in several Ukrainian cities near the Russian border.  Moscow responded to the move with a warning that it will retaliate, if the interests of Russian-speaking citizens in the region come under attack.

Ukraine's decision to resume what it calls "anti-terrorist" operations came after the discovery of two bodies near the rebel-controlled city of Slovyansk.  

One of the victims was identified Tuesday as a local member of acting Ukraine President Oleksandr Turchynov’s political party whose body was said to show signs of torture.

Truce ended

Ukraine has formally called off an Easter truce with pro-Russian separatists in the country's east and announced "anti-terrorist operations" are on again.

First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema told reporters during a Cabinet meeting Wednesday that "appropriate steps" will be taken and that results will be seen shortly.

Yarema said Ukraine has received assurances from the United States that it would not be left alone to face Russian aggression. He expressed hope that the U.S. support will be more substantive.

Ukraine's interim president, Oleksandr Turchynov, has already ordered security forces to resume "anti-terrorist" operations in eastern Ukraine. His order came just hours after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden ended a two-day trip to Kiyv Tuesday.

Watch related video report by VOA's Jeff Custer
 
Ukraine Resumes Operations Against Pro-Russian Separatistsi
X
Jeff Custer
April 23, 2014 4:43 PM
Tensions in Ukraine continue to build as the government in Kyiv resumes what it calls "anti-terror" operations against pro-Russian separatists in the east, for which Russia warns it could retaliate, and U.S. troops begin joint exercises in Baltic states. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.

Moscow threatens retaliation

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told state television that Russia would retaliate if its legitimate interests or Russians are attacked. He said Moscow's response would be the same as it was in South Ossetia in 2008, which led to a brief war with Georgia.

Meanwhile, Russian military units on Wednesday conducted drills to rehearse for a parade in the southwestern Rostov region, which borders Ukraine, a spokesman for Russia's southern military district said.

The spokesman had earlier said that the units in Rostovregion were conducting exercises. Reuters Television footage from the drill showed columns of military vehicles, including jeeps, armored personnel carriers, mobile multiple rocket launchers, and mobile surface-to-airmissile launchers, driving in formation at a military aerodrome.

Separately, Russia accused Kyiv and the U.S. of distorting an agreement reached in Geneva last week to defuse the crisis in Ukraine and of ignoring what it said were provocative actions by Ukrainian nationalists.
 
Russia still believes the West is serious about seeking peace in Ukraine but “the facts speak of the opposite,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued Wednesday.

It repeated Moscow's calls for the immediate withdrawal of Ukrainian military units from southeastern Ukraine and the start of an inclusive dialogue in the former Soviet republic.

Ukraine says, and many in the West agree, that the separatist unrest is being staged in large part by undercover Russian special forces with the aim of destabilizing Ukraine and creating a pretext for a possible military intervention.

Ukrainian military moves last week to drive separatists from government buildings they have seized in about a dozen cities and towns failed.

Pro-Russian gunmen are demanding the right to hold referendums on seceeding from Ukraine and joining Russia. A vote last month in Crimea, which Kyiv and many in West condemned as illegitimate, led to the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula.

US counters
 
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby does not deny the move is the result of what he called "Russia's aggression in Ukraine."
 
"If there is a message to Moscow, it is the same exact message that we take our obligations very seriously on the continent of Europe," said Kirby
 
The bilateral exercises will last about a month. Kirby said new troops will then rotate in for fresh exercises throughout the rest of the year or longer.
 
Kirby said placing troops on the ground is more than a symbolic gesture. He called for Russia to remove its forces from the border with Ukraine and respect Ukrainian sovereignty.

Meanwhile, Russia on Wednesday conducted military exercises in its south-western Rostov region, which borders Ukraine, a spokesman for Russia's southern military district said.

The spokesman declined to give details on the drills. However, Reuters Television footage from the exercises showed columns of military vehicles, including jeeps, armored personnel carriers, mobile multiple rocket launchers, and mobile surface-to-air missile launchers, driving in formation at a military aerodrome.
 
By Western estimates, Russia has about 40,000 troops on its border with Ukraine. 

Politician killed

The resumption of “anti-terrorist” operations by Kyiv was triggered in part by the apparent killing by a pro-Russian mob of a politician of the same party affiliation as Ukraine’s interim president, Oleksandr Turchynov.

Video footage from last Thursday on local news site gorlovka.ua shows angry scenes outside the town hall of Horlivka, between the separatist flashpoint cities of Donetsk and Slovyansk, as town councilman Volodymyr Rybak is manhandled by several men, among them a masked man in camouflage, while other people hurl abuse.

Rybak had tried to remove a flag of the separatist Donetsk Republic, the website said.

Ukraine's Interior Ministry said that after the confrontation Rybak was seen being bundled into a car by masked men in camouflage. His body was found on Saturday near Slovyansk.

He and another, unidentified, man appeared to have been tortured and dumped alive in a river to drown, police concluded.

Turchynov said that such crimes are being committed "with the full support and connivance of the Russian Federation."

Gas talks scheduled

The European Commission said on Wednesday that Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger will meet Slovakian and Ukrainian ministers on Thursday in Bratislava to discuss the possibility of reverse flows to pump gas back to Kyiv.

The discussions between Oettinger, Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan and Slovakian Economy Minister Tomas Malatinsky will take place before another meeting between the Commission, Ukraine and Russia due on Monday on Moscow.

Russian gas giant Gazprom has said it will turn off supplies to Ukraine next month unless Kyiv pays its outstanding debts.

Meanwhile, Austria says more sanctions on Russia would only inflame tensions between Moscow and Kyiv.

”I would fundamentally support what the German foreign minister [Frank-Walter] Steinmeier made clear again today: that conflict between Russia and Ukraine should not be inflamed by additional sanctions, but on the contrary, that de-escalation is what is required,” chancellor Werner Faymann told reporters after the Austrian government's weekly cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Both the EU and the U.S. are considering a third round of sanctions against Russia if it escalates tensions in Ukraine.

Front-runner crystallizing

Ukrainian confectionery tycoon Petro Poroshenko has a chance of winning the May 25 presidential election in the first round, an opinion poll indicated on Wednesday.

It found 48.4 percent of Ukrainians who planned to vote favored Poroshenko. That is just short of the absolute majority needed to avoid a runoff against the second-placed candidate, who the survey found would be former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko with 14.0 percent.

Poroshenko, who sits in parliament as an independent and whose worth is estimated at about $1.3 billion, supported the pro-European uprising which ousted Kremlin-backed president Viktor Yanukovych in February. He served as foreign minister and economy minister in previous governments.

The new poll of 6,200 people was taken from April 9-16 by four agencies led by the SOCIS Institute in Kyiv. It was conducted in all of Ukraine’s regions, except Crimea.

Some reporting for this report was contributed by Reuters.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Igor from: Russia
April 24, 2014 9:16 PM
To Kevin from New York:
Be careful when dealing with Russia. Instead of slaughtering someone, your whole country may get slaughtered because you are facing a nuclear power, not Iraq or Afganistan.

In Response

by: NN
April 25, 2014 3:09 PM
I heard that you Russian folks tried to replicate Western society a lot, and that after failure of the Soviet socialist system it has become desirable and prestigious to be "western-like". I believe that's why your oligarchs preferred to send their money and kids to the West too, which you can't probably deny. So why there is so much hatred towards the West now, just because your president told you so?..


by: Igor from: Russia
April 24, 2014 12:57 AM
The US has made a stupid mistake. Do you think that Russia will be afraid of your actions? Never. You only want to turn Ukraine into a second Afganistan, Iraq or Lybia where the whole nation will be in the endless violence.

In Response

by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
April 24, 2014 11:49 PM
Do Russia's "interests" in Ukraine include the torture and murder of Ukrainian political figures? Just as Russia is conducting military maneuvers on the border of Ukraine, Poland and its American guests can conduct maneuvers in Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. There are many Polish-Americans in the US Army and they bring their historical understanding of the political dynamics of the region. I understand that Polish people have long memories.

In Response

by: Kevin from: New York
April 24, 2014 7:39 PM
Like it or not, America is coming & we will slaughter many if needed. We are used to it & we will get it done.


by: gen from: Japan
April 23, 2014 11:58 PM
Sorry.Russia has only to help the eastern pro russian ordinary people.


by: gen from: Japan
April 23, 2014 11:49 PM
The separatists seems to change The extremist.They seems to be a extremist like Ukraine nationalists.
Ukraine interim government ,USA,
the easten separatists and the ukraine right secters,everybody seems to want Russia to come over the boder of Ukraine.Everybody calls for Russia army.
But I think Russia don' need use their forces.Both The western and eastern sepratists are terrorists. They will have no
choice but bloodshed civil war between the twe.The Ukraine would collapse on their way.Russia would not help the extremists and criminals and Ukraine kiev begger govenment.Russia is one of superpowers in the world.They would not touch childish skirmishs in Ukraine. All I think that Russia have to do is to help the western pro-ruusian ordinary people after the collapse of Ukraine.


by: Joseph Effiong from: uyo - nigeria
April 23, 2014 10:03 PM
Russia think it is possible to annex other parts of Ukraine as done to cremia . If all those criminals called pro russia are arrested and unmasked , everyone will know they are all Russia's army but not Ukrainians. USA and EU should stand with Ukraine and give maximum co-operation please. EU should also make u-turn from russian's gas.


by: daniel from: nigeria
April 23, 2014 8:59 PM
my advice to ukrainians and their leaders is that they should only hope in themselves and their millitary capabilities and not in obama because he's simply a sinking sand. they should take syria as an example of obama's sinking nature.


by: Lazio from: USA
April 23, 2014 12:37 PM
Ukrainians want to be a part of EU and friend of USA,but we betrayed them. We just talk imposing ridiculous sanctions on Russia and obviously,Russia doesn't fear it.

In Response

by: Anonymous
April 23, 2014 5:02 PM
They should use the same gas as Putin used in the moscow siege to evict these criminals from Government buildings. If Putin is not backing them he should announce it now... He can not complain either if gas is used to evict them because he used the same gas on civilians in the Moscow Siege which Putin claims was a "Victory". Putin should be telling the Russians in Ukraine that if they don't abide by Ukrainian Laws, to leave Ukraine and go back to Russia, it is NOT Russia's business to enforce Ukrainian laws, or Russias own laws. Russian speaking people in Ukraine are IN UKRAINE so abide by their laws. If they want more from their government do it democratically and diplomatic methods, guns do not sign paperwork.

In Response

by: Anonymous
April 23, 2014 4:58 PM
They most certainly do fear it, but will not show it, it isn't in their interest to show it. Their gas to europe should be cut off effective immediately and that would make their eyes pop out. But europe needs another gas supply... This needs to be done. Put putins money where his mouth is.


by: KevUSA07 from: Goshen,Ohio
April 23, 2014 12:03 PM
Lets not forget communist ate attempting to re-write borders,not America....

In Response

by: Lindsey from: US
April 23, 2014 10:24 PM
let me guess... you are the beneficiary of some "affirmative action" aren't you..??


by: david1221
April 23, 2014 7:26 AM
United States as always escalate the situation and endangers Poland, where he will be deployed 600 U.S. troops. new Kiev government completely gone mad on U.S. support.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid