News / Europe

Ukraine Wants West to Increase Economic Pain on Russia

A pro-Russia rebel wearing a gas mask places a Russian flag on the balcony of the city hall in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine May 7, 2014.
A pro-Russia rebel wearing a gas mask places a Russian flag on the balcony of the city hall in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine May 7, 2014.
Brian Padden
Now that Ukraine has begun a military offensive to subdue armed separatists, some leaders are calling for increased sanctions on Russia.  

In the past week Ukraine's military has engaged in deadly combat with insurgents planning an independence referendum on Sunday.  

Government troops quickly moved to set up perimeters around some rebel-held towns like Slovyansk, but have been slow to attack strongholds in highly populated areas to avoid civilian casualties.  In other parts of the southeastern region, security forces and pro-Russians fighters have battled over strategic positions or buildings.

While the military effort has not produced an immediate and overwhelming victory, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk says it sends a message to Moscow that Ukraine will respond to force with force.  So now he says it is the time for Western nations to also increase economic pressure on Russia.

"Ukraine does the anti-terrorist offensive and the West implements sanctions against Russia, because to wait and persuade will not work," said Kravchuk.

Ukraine's leaders accuse Russia of supporting the separatists to destabilize the country in advance of the May 25 elections, and to annex the southeastern region of country as it did earlier this year to Crimea.  The former Ukrainian president says Russia wants to dictate its own conditions and not only to Ukraine.

University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy politics professor Olexiy Haran says Russia's annexation of Crimea and destabilization efforts are not just problems for Ukraine.  They are, he says, an assault on the collective security of Europe.

“So this is the question to the international community," said Haran."How are you going to live with this direct annexation, because everything undermining the territorial status quo in Europe is undermined?”

Negotiations with Ukraine, Russia, the United States and European countries have to this point failed to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Russia says it has no control over pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine but did propose that further international talks to end the crisis include the rebel groups.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague was in Kyiv on Wednesday to support Ukraine's efforts to contain the separatists.  He said Western nations are preparing the next phase of sanctions against Russia.

“These are more far reaching measures covering economic and trade and financial areas.  And we are not saying they are only imposed If there is a military invasion of Ukraine," said Hague.

The limited sanctions have had some effect in stimulating capital flight and lowering some stock prices in Russia.  But the British foreign secretary says increased sanctions over time will cause real economic pain as other countries work to end their energy dependence on Russia.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid