World News

    Ukraine Launches 'Full-Scale' Assault on Pro-Russian Militias

    Ukraine says it is launching a "full-scale anti-terrorist operation" against pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine.

    In a televised speech Sunday, Ukraine President Oleksandr Turchynov vowed Kyiv will not let Russia take over eastern Ukraine after its annexation of the Crimean peninsula last month. He said he will grant amnesty to any pro-Russian separatists who lay down their weapons by Monday.

    He accused Moscow of carrying out a war against Ukraine, once part of its Soviet empire.



    The Russian foreign ministry immediately branded Ukraine's operation "a criminal order" and called for urgent consideration of it by the U.N. Security Council.

    Mr. Turchynov's speech came hours after Ukrainian special forces and pro-Russian militia exchanged gunfire in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk, with both sides reporting casualties.



    Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said a security service officer was killed and another five wounded, the latest skirmish in the aftermath of Moscow's Crimea take-over last month. At least one pro-Russian activist was also killed in the gunfire and two injured.

    The escalation of the Ukraine unrest came a day after pro-Russian gunmen took over the Slovyansk police station, and government facilities in the largely ethnic Russian cities of Donetsk and Kramatorsk.

    American ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, told ABC's "This Week" the unrest in eastern Ukraine "bears the tell-tale signs of Moscow's involvement."

    In a statement, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he was "extremely concerned" about the increased tensions in the region. He described it a "concerted campaign of violence by pro-Russian separatists" seeking to destabilize Ukraine.

    Fogh Rasmussen called on Russia to "de-escalate the crisis" and pull back thousands of troops from near the Ukrainian border.

    On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in a telephone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, warned there would be additional consequences beyond sanctions already imposed against Russian officials if Moscow did not move to ease tensions in eastern Ukraine.

    Lavrov said the crisis was caused by the Kyiv government ignoring the "legitimate needs and interests" of eastern Ukraine's Russian-speaking population.

    One pro-Russian protester pleaded with Russian President Vladimir Putin to send troops to support the Russians living in eastern Ukraine.



    "We are the residents of the town of Slovyansk, Donetsk region. The National Guard is coming here, there has already been a shootout this morning. We have nothing to hide . Here is my face. I want to ask,'Comrade Putin, you have promised to protect us, please come here and protect us.'"



    A White House National Security Council spokeswoman said Saturday the United States is concerned that Russian-speaking separatists - with apparent support from Moscow - are "inciting violence and sabotage" against the Ukrainian state.

    Moscow has repeatedly denied any role in Ukraine's unrest, which erupted in full two months ago when then-president Viktor Yanukovych fled the country amid anti-Russian protests in Kyiv.

    Despite Moscow's denials, Kyiv and a host of Western governments have cited overwhelming evidence of Russian involvement, including the presence of thousands of Russian troops that infiltrated the Crimean peninsula before last month's secession referendum.

    There were other signs of heightened cross-border tensions Saturday, with the Kyiv government saying it is suspending natural gas payments to Moscow. Details of the move were not immediately clear.

    Moscow says its neighbor owes $2.2 billion in back payments. Early this month, the Russian energy giant Gazprom announced two price increases that effectively raise Ukrainian gas costs by about 80 percent. Additionally, Russian leader Putin has hinted that Moscow may begin demanding energy payments from Kyiv at the time of delivery.

    Top diplomats from Russia, the United States, Ukraine and the European Union are set to hold emergency talks on the crisis April 17 in Geneva. White House officials say U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Kyiv April 22.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora