News / Europe

Kyiv Formally Ends Easter Truce; Offensive Will Resume

Masked pro-Russia militants stand guard outside a regional government building they seized in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, April 22, 2014.
Masked pro-Russia militants stand guard outside a regional government building they seized in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, April 22, 2014.
VOA News
Ukraine's government has formally ended an Easter truce and is relaunching the “active phase” of an “anti-terrorist operation” to eliminate armed pro-Russian separatist groups in the east, First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Yarema said on Wednesday.
 
Yarema, who has a role in security matters, told reporters on the sidelines of a weekly cabinet meeting the new action was not yet underway, but added: “In the near future, appropriate measures will be taken and you will see results.”
 
Speaking a day after Vice President Joe Biden visited Kyiv, he added: “We have obtained the support of the United States, that they will not leave us alone with an aggressor. We hope that in the event of Russian aggression, this help will be more substantive.”

Earlier, Ukraine's acting president accused Russia of aiding “terrorists,” urging a crackdown on pro-Moscow separatists in the east on Tuesday that could hamper international efforts to defuse the crisis.

Since Russia signed up to the four-way accord in Geneva along with Ukraine and Kyiv's U.S. and EU allies, militants who deny taking orders from Moscow and whom Russia denies it controls, have if anything tightened their grip on about a dozen public buildings they seized over the past two weeks in eastern towns and cities.
 
Turchynov's call may not lead to much more action but it may fuel recriminations between Moscow and Kyiv about who is failing to honor the deal.
 
Washington has called on Moscow to live up to commitments made in Geneva last week to put more pressure on the pro-Russian protesters to vacate state buildings.
 
Blaming Kyiv for the tensions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his U.S. counterpart, John Kerry, in a phone call on Tuesday that authorities there must take "urgent steps" to implement the Geneva accord, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said.

Speaking with with Ukraine's Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, Secretary of State John Kerry praised the important steps taken to de-escalate, in accordance with the Geneva agreement.

Many of the separatists demand referendums in Ukraine’s eastern regions similar to the poll last month in Crimea which precipitated the peninsula’s annexation by Russia.
 
Biden visit

Wrapping up a two-day visit to Kyiv, Vice President Biden called on Russia to live up to its recent agreement to resolve the crisis, adding that Ukraine is "in the struggle for its very future."

During a joint appearance Tuesday with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Biden said it is time for Russia "to stop talking and start acting" on commitments it made to withdraw support for pro-Russian separatist forces in Ukraine’s east.

"We've heard a lot from Russian officials in the past few days. But now it's time for Russia to stop talking and start acting," he said. "We will not allow this to become an open-ended process. Time is short in which to make progress."

Watch related video by Henry Ridgwell:
 
Biden: Russia Must ‘Stop Talking And Start Acting’ on Ukrainei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 22, 2014 8:03 PM
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is calling on Russia to live up to its recent agreement to help defuse the crisis in eastern Ukraine. Vice President Biden spoke in Kyiv Tuesday as pro-Russian protestors in eastern Ukraine refuse to leave the state buildings they stormed two weeks ago. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

The U.S. vice president said Ukraine "is and must remain one country."  He said the United States would not let Ukraine "walk down this road alone... we will walk it with you."
 
Biden also said the U.S. would provide an additional $50 million for the Ukrainian government, including $11 million to help fund the May 25 presidential election.
 
A White House statement Tuesday said the U.S. will provide Kyiv with $8 million in non-lethal military aid, including communications equipment and vehicles.

U.S. boosting regional troop presence

The U.S. is sending about 600 soldiers to Poland and the three Baltic states for infantry exercises, the Pentagon said on Tuesday, one of its highest-profile steps yet to reassure NATO allies after Russia's seizure of Crimea.

Groups of 150 soldiers will be sent to Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia in rounds of month-long exercises in each country in what the Pentagon calls a “persistent rotational presence” that stops short of permanently basing troops.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, a top Defense Department spokesman, said the deployments sent a strong message to NATO allies about U.S. commitments to the alliance following events in Ukraine.

“If there's a message to Moscow, it is the same exact message that we take our obligations very, very seriously on the continent of Europe,” Kirby said, leaving open the possibility that the drills, set to last through 2014, could continue into 2015.

The United States and NATO have made clear they will not intervene militarily in Ukraine, which is not a NATO member.

They say they are instead focusing on temporarily boosting their presence in eastern Europe in a drive to reassure allies, such as former Soviet republics Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that NATO would protect them if they ever faced Russian aggression.

With their own Russian-speaking minorities, the three Baltic countries have been increasingly worried that Russia's annexation of Crimea, partly on ethnic grounds, could herald destabilization in their own region by Moscow.

Some reporting by Reuters.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs