News / Europe

Ukraine's Poroshenko Vows $3 Billion for Military

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko sings the national anthem during a parade to celebrate the country's Independence Day in Kyiv, Aug. 24, 2014.
Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko sings the national anthem during a parade to celebrate the country's Independence Day in Kyiv, Aug. 24, 2014.
VOA News

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has vowed to increase military spending by $3 billion over the next few years because of the ongoing pro-Russian separatist threat in the east of Ukraine.

Poroshenko made the comment Sunday in Kyiv during a speech marking Independence Day, 23 years after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

He told a crowd of thousands gathered in Independence Square to view a military parade that it is clear the separatist threat will "hang over Ukraine" for the foreseeable future, and the country must be prepared to defend itself.

On Saturday, Western monitors said the Russian aid convoy that crossed into Ukraine Friday had gone back to Russia, easing international tensions as German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Ukraine's capital voicing renewed hopes for peace.

German chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Aug. 23, 2014.German chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Aug. 23, 2014.
x
German chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Aug. 23, 2014.
German chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Aug. 23, 2014.

Merkel met with President Poroshenko, and pledged $660 million in German aid to help rebuild cities in eastern Ukraine battered by months of fighting.  

Pro-Russian rebels in the Russian-speaking east launched their rebellion in April.  Since then, an estimated 2,000 people have been killed as government forces seek to regain control of the region.  

Merkel said her visit, just three days ahead of a meeting between the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, comes at "a difficult but decisive time" for Ukraine's territorial integrity.  She also warned that Moscow could face further economic sanctions if its support for the rebellion continues.

As the high-level diplomacy unfolded in Kyiv, at least six civilians were reported killed by artillery fire in the key rebel stronghold city of Donetsk, as Ukraine's forces press their fight against rebels near the Russian border.

In a related development, the U.S. State Department voiced shock Saturday over reports that a top Lithuanian diplomat was abducted and murdered by rebels in the the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk.  Spokeswoman Marie Harf also extended condolences to the diplomat's family and said U.S. authorities were still "seeking information on the circumstances of this tragedy."

Lithuanian authorities reported Friday that Honorary Consul Mykola Zelenec was kidnapped and killed, but did not immediately provide details.

Trucks from Russian aid convoy to Ukraine stand in line as they return to Russia on the border post at Izvaryne, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 23, 2014.Trucks from Russian aid convoy to Ukraine stand in line as they return to Russia on the border post at Izvaryne, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 23, 2014.
x
Trucks from Russian aid convoy to Ukraine stand in line as they return to Russia on the border post at Izvaryne, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 23, 2014.
Trucks from Russian aid convoy to Ukraine stand in line as they return to Russia on the border post at Izvaryne, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 23, 2014.

The entry of Russia's convoy into Ukraine, following days of waiting as delivery details were negotiated with Kyiv, raised an outcry from Ukraine, the United States, NATO and the European Union.

White House officials called the crossing a flagrant violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and demanded Russia remove the convoy or face consequences.

In acknowledging the incursion, the Russian Foreign Ministry referred to "endless delays hampering the initial deliveries" and said those delays had become "intolerable."  It also described the aid as "urgently needed by women, children and the elderly."

Ukraine and its allies had for days expressed fears Russia could use the aid trucks to smuggle arms to pro-Russian separatists inside Ukraine, or use the convoy as a prelude to a full-scale military operation.

There were no reports by late Saturday of either Russian smuggling linked to the convoy or ongoing Russian military operations in Ukraine territory.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid