News / Europe

    NATO, EU Press Russia on Ukraine

    Separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko is sworn in as the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic during a ceremony at a theatre in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Nov. 4, 2014.
    Separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko is sworn in as the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic during a ceremony at a theatre in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Nov. 4, 2014.
    VOA News

    NATO has observed Russian troops moving closer to the Ukraine border.

    Speaking in a news conference with EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance has seen the recent troop movements as Moscow continues to support separatists with equipment and special forces in eastern Ukraine.

    Stoltenberg called for Russia “to make genuine efforts towards a peaceful solution ... to the difficult situation in Ukraine.”

    Mogherini said the European Union would assess the situation and decide to strengthen or ease sanctions imposed on Russia.

    Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has ordered more troops deployed to key southern and eastern cities, to fend off any possible new pro-Russian rebel offensive in the strife-torn region.

    A Poroshenko statement says the units will fortify the eastern cities of Mariupol, Berdyansk and Kharkiv against separatist incursions.

    Western condemnation

    Earlier Tuesday, a pro-Russian rebel leader was sworn in as the head of a self-declared "people's republic" in eastern Ukraine, following elections condemned by the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Kyiv as illegal and destabilizing.

    The swearing-in of Alexander Zakharchenko as prime minister of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic is set to worsen a standoff with Ukraine that has already killed 4,000 people since April.

    In a meeting with his security chiefs Tuesday, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said that his country "remains a firm supporter of the peace plan ... but other participants" of the Russian-supported truce accord, are not meeting their obligations.

    On Monday, Poroshenko also called the vote a farce that violated a September cease-fire with the rebels.

    "The pseudo-elections are a brutal violation of the Minsk Protocol of September 5," he said. "The Minsk Protocol provides for the holding of early local elections in the area of Donbass solely under the laws of Ukraine. We provided them with the given opportunity. The farce of November 2 jeopardizes the entire peace process, the beginning of which has been achieved at the coast of outstanding efforts."

    Poroshenko said he plans to cancel parts of the peace plan that would have offered a degree of autonomy to the areas held by the rebels.

    Deteriorating ties

    The United Nations, the United States and the European Union have all rejected the vote and say they will not recognize the outcome.

    A statement Monday from the White House said, “These sham elections contravened Ukraine’s constitution ... and the most basic electoral norms,” while the State Department warned Moscow that “if Russia were to recognize the so-called elections, it would only serve to isolate it further.”

    Speaking in Vienna, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the election "unfortunate and counterproductive," adding the situation in Ukraine remains a matter of great concern.  Ban urged all parties concerned to “urgently recommit to the letter and spirit of the Minsk protocol and memorandum.”

    In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her displeasure about Russia’s role in the conflict and said there is no reason yet to lift EU sanctions against Moscow.

    Although Russia has not recognized the independence of restive eastern Ukraine, its endorsement of the elections’ validity exacerbated even further Moscow’s relations with the West.

    In Washington, meanwhile, NATO's top general painted a bleak picture of Western ties with Russia.

    FILE - NATO Commander, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove.FILE - NATO Commander, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove.
    x
    FILE - NATO Commander, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove.
    FILE - NATO Commander, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove.

    U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, in a briefing with reporters, said Moscow's interference in the Ukraine crisis threatens to create what he called "a frozen conflict."  

    Breedlove said he believes there are as many as 300 Russian troops inside Ukraine training and equipping rebels, and said about seven Russian battalions remain poised on the Russian side of the Ukraine border.  He also warned that Moscow is effectively working to shift that border westward into Ukraine territory.

    Russia denies role in uprising

    Moscow has denied any direct role in the uprising, which began when pro-Russian rebels took up arms against the Kyiv government in April. The Kremlin has described Russian soldiers fighting alongside rebels in Ukraine's east as volunteers.

    It was not clear Monday whether Moscow would formally recognize the rebel-held territories. But a Russian deputy foreign minister said the newly elected leadership in Luhansk and Donetsk now has a mandate to negotiate with the Kyiv government.  

    Sunday's polls in Ukraine's east came a week after voters in the rest of Ukraine voted overwhelmingly for a new parliament dominated by pro-Western lawmakers favoring closer ties with western Europe.

    • Pro-Russian rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko arrives for the inauguration ceremony, Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Nov. 4, 2014.
    • United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) saying that the holding of pro-Russian separatist elections in eastern Ukraine was unfortunate, Vienna, Austria, Nov. 4, 2014.
    • Pro-Russian rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko stands during his swearing-in ceremony, Donetsk, Nov. 4, 2014.
    • Alexander Zakharchenko, pro-Russian rebel leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, at his inauguration ceremony, Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Nov. 4, 2014.
    • Members of an honor guard wait for the arrival of pro-Russian rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko in front of a theater in Donetsk, Ukraine, Nov. 4, 2014.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    November 07, 2014 3:03 AM
    I am sure American then president promised Gorbachev not to expand NATO toward east side any more when Berlin wall fell down 25 years ago. Has NATO been keeping that promise? First of all, NATO headed by the US should refrain from interfering to other countries' affairs.

    by: Ike from: canada
    November 05, 2014 6:38 AM
    enough games from Russia , clean up the terroist in the east .. Putin trying to make sure ukraine does not get into the eu .. The world is allowing this to happen and turning their back on ukraine .. Peace keepers should be sent to the borders to make sure russia does not entre and ukraine purge the country of those people who do not comply with the law on the land ... Crimea should be back in Ukraine hands .. A new war is about to start and this one will be different ... Destory Russia's influence and close the borders alienate the Russians from the world and see how they make out ... Build your army Ukraine and wipe out the people who want russian order in Ukraine . They ukrainians in that area are abused by the separatist , old people they are terrorizing because they remember what it was like under russian rule ... Fight Ukraine for your land , this is your chance to become a true country ...
    In Response

    by: Zach from: Ohio
    November 18, 2014 1:08 AM
    Great. Ike is calling for "purges".
    In Response

    by: Zach from: Ohio
    November 12, 2014 6:53 PM
    Let the people vote, Ike. In the 21st Century, we do not use guns and heavy artillery to force a people to stay in a country they dont want to be in. We vote.
    In Response

    by: Ruslan
    November 06, 2014 3:04 AM
    Are you mad? Whatta flow of nonsense words?! Have you ever thought that the most dangerous terrorists in the world are Barak Obama and Unated States of America? While you are sitting on your island far far from the problems of the rest of this world, please consider that at least one half of the world think exactly this way. What the most dangerous weapon might be if not incompetent and arrogant politican running the most powerful country of the world? And before you open your mouth to talk about Ukraine, Russia please find time to read some books about their history, population, historical ties, and probably you will find that, oh God, these are practically one nation. Maybe after that your posts will be more sophisticated and tolerant.

    by: Shawn rainn from: UK
    November 05, 2014 2:06 AM
    Oh well the west lost eastern Ukraine now what oh that's right nothing go back to your school homework kids

    by: ibrahim from: malaysia
    November 05, 2014 1:47 AM
    So long the country does not tow the line of the US then US uses all the tools, the UN, the EU and host of other media to classify the nation or the people as terrorist or regimes or like. I hail the President Putin for pointing out to the blind world that USA had initiated the the first step to the Ukraine fiasco. I totally agree that USA was the element for the destabilization of the Arabian peninsula and north Africa starting from Tunisia, Libya, Egypt Syria and now to Iraq again..

    The money spent on these agitation could be well spent for good cause if only the arrogant regime of the west has some sens put in it. Otherwise this arrogant regime will have to go back to China to borrow again......till you grow broke. Wait till the east will step on you.....
    In Response

    by: Zach from: Ohio
    November 12, 2014 6:40 PM
    I cannot even name all the countries we have destabilized in the last 50 years. Iraq is a great example though, and ten years after our invasion it is run by ISIS now. Ooops.
    In Response

    by: Aplmustdie
    November 05, 2014 1:40 PM
    I also hail Putin for pointing out to the rest of the world that Russians are liars and thieves and can't be trusted. He has done more to destroy Russia's reputation in the world than Stalin and Lennon combined.

    by: Dellstator from: US
    November 05, 2014 1:20 AM
    simple solution to "vacationing" Russian special forces fighting in the Ukraine
    same as WWII
    if you aren't in a uniform showing a combatant country recognized to be in a declared war, they are a spy, and as such all legal protections as a soldier or citizen are default.
    declare mandatory 99 yr terms at hard work for all spies
    vacationing Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine might start fragging the officers "organizing" the tour groups and returning back home to their loved ones for a stay - cation instead. cheaper than those killer hotel rates in the Ukraine too, and with the recession in the USSR those soldiers need to save every dime they can
    In Response

    by: Zach from: Ohio
    November 18, 2014 1:12 AM
    Nice to know you are so against supporting ones ethnic brethren in their fight for independence. Although, of course, the US was much more involved, I take it you are just as strongly against US actions and the Mexican-American war that resulted in the California, Texas, and New Mexico territories joining the United States? With that said, I sincerely hope you are just as indignant that basically every state West of Texas was gained by means you most clearly oppose.
    In Response

    by: Zach from: Ohio
    November 12, 2014 6:44 PM
    Please explain how it came to be that Texas, California, Arizona, and New Mexico joined the United States?

    by: Fero from: Spain
    November 05, 2014 12:51 AM
    Russia is destabilizing the peace in the world. It is interesting the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of eastern Ukraine,where separatists appeared,have been regions with highest criminal activity. There are many bandits. And when pro-western government came to power in Kiev,bandits would have been forced to stop robbing entrepreneurs and ordinary people and go to work,but they didn't want it to happen and with help of Russia organized uprising. I hate Russians and Russia.
    In Response

    by: Zach from: Ohio
    November 12, 2014 7:05 PM
    There are a lot of delusional people on both sides of the aisle in this one. Call me crazy but i am in support of the human right of self determination and the right of people to vote and decide their political future. I dont care if it is Russians, Ukranians, Egyptians, or Turks. The people decide their future. Period.

    by: peacelover from: canada
    November 05, 2014 12:22 AM
    War will destroy almost everything and anything, from someone's love to houses to schools, roads...and the future of your people. After it end, who would pay for it? not only you guys do but your next generation, maybe the next and following one. Why? What the different between Ukrainian and Russian? Ideology? The West, the East or you are just the pawns on the chess games? Think about it, let your weapons down, shake hands and start rebuilding your damages, not only for yourselves but your kids and your grand kids. Please!!!

    by: mr. peace from: canada
    November 04, 2014 10:42 PM
    Now my wife hates me and asks me how can i support Russia since i am a black man, i dont hate her now but since she tried to play a racist card we will have to divorce. I have lived with ucranian and russian families and i know how the west hate the east and vise verse. So yes i support the east election.

    by: mr. peace from: canada
    November 04, 2014 8:29 PM
    When the crisis started in Ukraine a few months ago i accompanied my wife to many anti russian demonstration in Ottawa and Toronto my wife is half russian by her mom and half Ukrainian by her dad, but she choose to hate russian. well the same way ucranian didn't want to be Russians, some people in the east don't want to be ucranian
    In Response

    by: Zach from: Ohio
    November 07, 2014 7:40 PM
    Exactly. And their voice matters. You cannot use
    violence to force people to do something they do not want to. I respect free will and human right of people to choose their political future
    In Response

    by: Mr. Brilliant from: Canada
    November 05, 2014 12:33 AM
    Mr Peace, you are obviously very intelligent - but if the people in Eastern "Ucranian" (sic) want to be Russian, they have opportunity to move there without causing death and destruction.

    For example, what would you say if a group of people from Toronto suddenly took over Toronto's administration buildings, brought in tanks and heavy weapons from the United States, instituted Marshall Law, and declared that Toronto would be Novoamerica? Would you be cool with that?

    Then they threatened those who want to remain with Canada and jailed patriots. Then the US covertly sends in military to help those few radicals to succeed in taking over Toronto and US says they didn't do anything when it is clear they did but now Toronto is going to be seceded by America.

    What would you think then?

    by: Lena Lake from: Albany nY
    November 04, 2014 5:53 PM
    The majority of population on the east are Ukrainians, who did not want separation from Ukraine. If Russia would not support rebels with weapons, money and soldiers, and eastern separatists-terrorists would not torture Ukrainians, who do not support them, the outcome would be different. Ukraine is united! Glory to Ukraine!
    In Response

    by: Zach from: Ohio
    November 18, 2014 1:13 AM
    Nice dream. You must be reading the Ukrainian press. Please, Lena, how about we vote to resolve this.
    In Response

    by: Zach from: Ohio
    November 12, 2014 6:51 PM
    And Lena, what exactly is Ukraines long term plan for this situation? Using force to keep a people, against their will, in a country they do not want to be in is surely not a solution for future stability. Your claim that Eastern Ukrainians want to be in Ukraine is absolutely delirious. If you are so confident, then how about letting them vote and honoring that vote? For some reason though, a vote is the LAST thing the Ukrainian government wants. I wonder why...
    In Response

    by: Zach from: Ohio
    November 12, 2014 6:46 PM
    Lena Lake...please. There is only one way to determine what the people there want but the US and the West are completely opposed to it-How about some elections, Lena?
    In Response

    by: Opinionated from: new york
    November 04, 2014 10:30 PM
    Majority of Eastern Ukrainians are Russians and other ethnics that speak Russian. They want nothing to do with current Kiev's regime. Ukraine is divided and votes of Donbas and Lugansk should be respected.
    Comments page of 2
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