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

Photogallery Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid