News / Europe

    Ukraine Not Convinced as Putin Talks Peace

    Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a meeting with deputies of the Russian Parliament and other politicians and officials at Sanatorium Mriya near Yalta, Crimea, August 14, 2014.
    Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a meeting with deputies of the Russian Parliament and other politicians and officials at Sanatorium Mriya near Yalta, Crimea, August 14, 2014.
    Gabe Joselow

    Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country will do everything in its power to stop the conflict in eastern Ukraine raging between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian armed forces.  But the Russian leader's remarks ring hollow in Ukraine, where many blame Moscow for stoking tensions between the two countries.

    In an out-of-town address before Russian lawmakers Thursday, President Putin expressed his concern about the growing crisis in eastern Ukraine, saying the country has fallen into “chaos” and warning of a major “humanitarian catastrophe.”

    Ukrainian leaders and many Western governments have accused Russia of send fighters, weapons and supplies into eastern Ukraine through the porous parts of the border between the two countries.

    Even the location of Putin's speech - he spoke in Crimea mainly before Russian Duma members who traveled with him to the peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine in March - has angered officials in Kyiv, who insist the region remains part of Ukraine.

    In a further escalation of tensions, a convoy of some 300 Russian trucks said to be carrying relief aid to residents of Ukraine’s east is now said to be nearing a part of the border controlled by rebels.

    Ukraine and its allies have voiced suspicion that the Russian humanitarian convoy could be a guise or create a pretext for further military intervention in the east.

    In the small Ukrainian town of Volchansk, near the Russian border, some residents, like Alexander Kutsenko expressed doubts about Russia's intentions.

    “I think it's extremely cynical, he said, “for Russia to be killing our people in the east and then to send humanitarian aid.”

    Russia says it is shipping nearly 2,000 tons of baby food, medical supplies, water and other relief items to the residents of the Luhansk region, which borders Russia and remains largely controlled by separatists.

    Ukrainian officials have said they would not allow the trucks to enter Ukrainian territory, but would permit the items to be distributed through the Red Cross.

    Moscow claims it is coordinating the delivery through the Red Cross. The aid agency said on its official Twitter feed Thursday it has made contact with the Russian convoy, but that “many practical details are still to be clarified.”

    Back in Volchansk, a doctor from Luhansk said she had to leave the region as the situation deteriorated.

    Larisa Zhatova said it felt “like the whole world had crashed on us” and that the people of eastern Ukraine need assistance, no matter where it comes from.

    “I think people of goodwill,” she said, “including Russia, should give help not only to Luhansk, but to everyone in Donetsk, Kramatorsk, Slovyansk, to help them survive.”

    The Red Cross has said thousands of people are in need of assistance in areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where the Ukrainian military says it is closing in on the remaining separatist strongholds, and has stressed that aid delivery should not be politicized.

    You May Like

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.