World News

Ukraine, Russia Presidents Meet as Protests Continue

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych met with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, Friday, in a move that could further escalate Ukraine's mass anti-government protests.

A statement on President Yanukovych's website said the talks focused on trade, economic cooperation and preparations for a new "strategic partnership" agreement between Ukraine and Russia. The two leaders met in the Russian resort city of Sochi.

Mr. Yanukovych made the unannounced stop in Russia on his way back from a state visit to China.

The Ukrainian leader's travel comes as he faces political turmoil at home. Thousands of protesters have swarmed the streets of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, for more than two weeks, since Mr. Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the European Union. The government announced instead that it would seek to preserve and strengthen its economic lifeline with Moscow. Demonstrators, in turn, have called for Mr. Yanukovych's ouster.

As the unrest enters its third week, many countries have expressed concern about Ukraine's violent police response to the demonstrations.



On Friday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland called violence or the threat of violence "impermissible in a democratic state." She said it is "past time" for Ukraine's leadership to listen to its people and "restore a path to European integration and economic health."

And Russia had strong words of its own. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Friday that foreign politicians who participated in the pro-European Union demonstrations in Kyiv were acting inappropriately. He said he considered their actions "interference in internal affairs."

Mr. Medvedev's remarks referred to German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle's appearance at a pro-EU rally in Kyiv earlier in the week. Western diplomats gathered in Kyiv this week for a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

On Thursday, several Western officials attending the OSCE meeting challenged the Ukrainian government to consider the protesters' concerns.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said his government was "ready for dialogue."

Russia -- Ukraine's largest foreign investor, trading partner and chief natural gas supplier -- has in recent months exerted strong economic pressure on cash-strapped Kyiv aimed at derailing the EU deal.

Earlier this year, Moscow imposed restrictions on goods from Ukraine, forcing a 25 percent drop in Ukrainian exports and dragging the Ukrainian economy into recession.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs