World News

Ukraine PM Requests $27 Billion in Aid for EU Deal



Security forces are pulling back from crowds of protesters around a central square in Ukraine's capital after a night of clashes between police and pro-European Union demonstrators.

Scuffles between the two groups took place early Wednesday in Kyiv's city hall, as police wielding batons tried to drive protesters out of the building.

Reports say the protesters fought back by spraying water from fire hoses at the security forces. Police buses were later reported to be leaving the area.

Hours earlier, security agents stormed a protest encampment in the square and ripped down a tent city erected by the demonstrators.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement expressing "disgust" with the actions of Ukrainian authorities for introducing bulldozers and riot police to the scene, rather than exercising, in the words of Secretary of State John Kerry, "respect for democratic rights and human dignity."

Kerry said that "respect for democratic principles, including freedom of assembly" is fundamental to the United States' approach to Ukraine. He said these values are universal, not just American. He called for "utmost restraint" and said human life must be protected.

The protests began in late November, after the Ukrainian president backed away from a long-anticipated trade deal with the European Union, in favor of repairing and improving economic and political ties with Russia.

On Wednesday Ukraine's Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said Ukraine is requesting $27.5 billion in financial assistance from the European Union before it signs an association agreement with the 28-nation bloc.

Mr. Azarov said Ukraine is inviting the European Commission to consider under what conditions Ukraine's industry and economy will work.



On Tuesday, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met in the capital with senior government and opposition leaders in a push to ease the crisis. Later, Ashton walked through the square to view the protests and speak with reporters.

Also Tuesday, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych met with three former Ukrainian presidents, launching so-called round table talks reportedly aimed at the same objective.

In a nationally televised address following his meeting with his predecessors, Mr. Yanukovych called for the release of protesters arrested after a violent police crackdown November 30. He said good relations with both Russia and the European Union are necessary to protect the country's interests.

Moscow is seeking to form a trade bloc of former Soviet republics and satellite countries to rival the European Union, and has in recent months exerted strong economic pressure on its impoverished neighbor to scuttle the EU deal.

Earlier this year, it imposed restrictions on goods from Ukraine, cutting Ukrainian exports by 25 percent and dragging the country into recession.

Russia is Ukraine's largest foreign investor, trading partner and chief natural gas supplier. Moscow is reported to be dangling a deal with Ukraine that includes a $9 billion annual discount on gas pipeline shipments.

Analysts say Kyiv, which has also secured recent investment deals with China, still needs about $18 billion in outside help to pay government debt and meet energy payments to Russia by early 2014.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs