News / Europe

Ukraine Riot Police Move Against Protesters in Central Kyiv

Pro-European integration protesters attempt to push back riot police at Independence Square in Kyiv December 11, 2013.
Pro-European integration protesters attempt to push back riot police at Independence Square in Kyiv December 11, 2013.
VOA News
Hundreds of Ukrainian police began storming a protest encampment in central Kyiv early Wednesday, clashing with anti-government demonstrators and ripping down their makeshift tent city.
 
Witnesses quoted by Reuters said a Ukrainian singer on stage at the huge encampment used a loudspeaker to urge police not to carry out their orders and not to harm protesters. 

The U.S. State Department issued a statement expressing "disgust" with the actions of Ukrainian authorities for introducing bulldozers and riot police armed with batons to the scene, rather than showing, in the words of Secretary of State John Kerry, "respect for democratic rights and human dignity."
 
Kerry said in the statement 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 crackdown unfolded hours after 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.
 
Earlier Tuesday, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych met with three former Ukrainian presidents, launching so-called round table talks reportedly aimed at the same objective.
 
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.
 
In a nationally televised address Tuesday following his meeting with his predecessors, 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.
 
"I am strongly against opposing relations with Europe in favor of relations with Russia and vice versa.  We need to find a way to reunite.  I think Europe will sleep peacefully in warmth if Ukraine has good relations with Russia, if there are no such conflicts like when we were shut off from gas.  This is unacceptable, so we need to protect our own interests,” said Yanukovych.'
 
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.

Check out our Storify feed of the latest social media images from Kyiv:

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid