News / Europe

Kremlin Questions Ukraine Cease-Fire

  • Pro-Russian troops prepare to travel in a tank on a road near the town of Yanakiyevo, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, June 20, 2014.
  • People carry their belongings as they walk to cross the border into Russia at the Ukrainian-Russian border checkpoint in Izvaryne, eastern Ukraine, June 20, 2014.
  • A man examines a destroyed building after fighting between Ukrainian and pro-Russian fighters in the city of Artyomovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, June 20, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian fighters wave a white flag to start a handover of the bodies of Ukrainian troops killed in a plane shot down near Luhansk, at a check point in the village of Karlivka near Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, June 18, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian fighters wait for representatives of the Ukrainian troops at a checkpoint in the village of Karlivka for the handover of the bodies of Ukrainian troops who died in a plane shot down near Luhansk, Ukraine, June 18, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian separatists stand guard at a check-point as a car drives past outside Luhansk, Ukraine, June 18, 2014.
  • Miners, one of them carrying a sign with the name of the mine Trudovskaya, march in support of peace in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, June 18, 2014.
  • Residents collect water at a pumping station in the eastern Ukranian city of Slovyansk, June 17, 2014.
  • A woman walks past portraits of protesters who were killed in clashes with police in February in Independence Square in Kyiv, June 18, 2014.
  • People take part in a rally to press demands for parliament to be dissolved and early elections outside the assembly in Kyiv, June 17, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian fighters walk past remnants of a downed Ukrainian army aircraft Il-76 at the airport near Luhansk, Ukraine, June 14, 2014.

Developments in Ukraine

VOA News
Ukrainian government forces on Friday announced a week-long cease-fire in their fight against pro-Russian separatists in the country's east, the interior ministry said.

The ministry's website said the cease-fire would continue until June 27. It quoted President Petro Poroshenkoas saying that the order did not mean Ukrainian forces would not fight back if attacked.

Ukraine’s new president called it a first step in a peace plan designed to end the deadly pro-Russian insurgency. The Ukrainian government publicized some of the plan's provisions on Friday, ahead of the official announcement.

The plan calls for a unilateral cease-fire that would give rebels a chance to disarm or leave the country. It also includes establishing a corridor allowing separatist fighters to leave Ukraine for Russia, the creation of a 10-kilometer buffer zone along the Ukrainian-Russian border, decentralization of power in the country and protecting the use of the Russian language.

Poroshenko emphasized the need for effective border control and the release of hostages seized by the rebels.

According to Valeriy Chaly, deputy head of the presidential administration, the plan also calls for early local and parliamentary elections.

Addressing reporters in Kyiv, Chaly called the plan dynamic and subject to change, explaining that is also includes a $1.5 billion development and jobs provision that he described as “absolutely necessary” to addressing the high unemployment that has been cited as a primary reason for conflict.

Chaly said the plan has received support from international organizations, including the European Union and United Nations, and that major international allies such as the United States have been informed of its provisions and schedule.

The Ukrainian president discussed details of the plan on the phone Thursday with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to the French news agency AFP, Poroshenko sought to shore up the Kremlin’s support for a truce in the fighting.   

The Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Friday quoted Valery Bolotov, a separatist leader who heads the self-declared Luhansk People's Republic, as saying the rebels would not disarm until government forces completely withdrew from eastern Ukraine.

The government said fresh clashes erupted in eastern Ukraine Friday after seven soldiers were killed in fighting late Thursday. According to press reports and a video posted to the Internet, a pro-Russian separatist armored column made up of several tanks and armored personnel carriers was seen moving in the Donetsk region.

Russian reaction, troop buildup

According to a Reuters news report, the Kremlin released a statement vowing to review Poroshenko's plan. However, the statement was critical of the week-long cease-fire.

"This is not an invitation to peace and negotiations but an ultimatum to militias in the southeast of Ukraine to lay down their arms," the Kremlin statement said. "So far one major element is missing — a proposal to start negotiations.''

A seperate statement released by Russia's foreign ministry cited an attack at a Novoshakhtinsk border checkpoint that injured a customs officer, calling it a "direct provocation," Reuters reported.

While Putin has reportedly reacted favorably to Poroshenko's cease-fire proposal, Ukrainian and Western officials say Moscow has resumed its troop build-up on the border.

Deputy White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, said Friday that the United States is concerned about the buildup of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine.

His comment came a day after NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said "at least a few thousand more" Russian troops had been deployed to the border region, a moved he called a "very regrettable step backwards."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said a deployment of Russian forces along the Ukrainian border had been planned in advance and was designed to reinforce Russia's border security.

A NATO military officer who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity told VOA, "These troops don't appear to be engaged in border-patrol duties. Rather, they appear to be concentrating in staging areas and preparing and awaiting future orders."

Earlier in the conflict, up to 40,000 Russian troops had been deployed near the border with Ukraine.

Signing date set for EU agreement

Poroshenko announced Thursday that he would sign an association agreement with the European Union on June 27. 

The refusal by Ukraine's former pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, to sign the EU association agreement last November triggered the unrest that led to his ouster earlier this year.

Anita Powell contributed to this story from Kyiv. Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: uduak udom from: akwa ibom nigeria
June 21, 2014 3:04 PM
The seperatists fully know that one on one they are no match for pro govt forces. Moscow is backing themm


by: Cayman
June 21, 2014 2:37 PM
Ukraine cease-fire really looks like an ultimatum!
They left no chance for the pro-Russian people to express their opinion except die for it!
Poroshenko does not want to hear that people!
And why if the cease-fire order starts there is much more Refugees crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border? And now even the border become a place of fighting? Or the Ukrainian army does not follow Poroshenko's orders?


by: Lion from: Chicago
June 21, 2014 2:30 AM
Putin is the most dangerous terrorist in the world! We must set free the World of this dictator who is trying to eliminate Ukrainians! We have all leverages in our arm and more severe sanctions must be imposed on Russia!


by: Hewadmal from: AFghanistan
June 21, 2014 12:07 AM
The subject of Kiev is completely similar to the Durand issue in Afghanistan, Kiev has annexed to Russia, but Durand line is still ignored.


by: Sunny Enwerem from: Abeokuta Nigeria
June 20, 2014 10:40 AM
Putin will get his buffer zone but its not going to be a 10km zone but the whole of the eastern Ukraine until he is challenged .


by: meanbill from: USA
June 20, 2014 9:24 AM
AN UNDENIABLE FACT; -- Poroshenko's always offers the same old rehashed peace plan, "It demands the Pro-Russian separatist to disarm, before any ceasefire or negotiations begin" -- (AND?) -- if they turned their weapons over to the Right Sector Kiev government -- (in my opinion?) -- they'd be slaughtered like cattle, like the NAZIS did to the Russians in WW2 Ukraine, wouldn't they?

MY OPINION? -- If the pro-Russian separatists would have trusted Hitler making this same peace plan, (then), you'd trust Poroshenko and his peace plan.. .... REALLY?

In Response

by: Igor from: Russia
June 20, 2014 10:35 PM
Great idea! It is the matter of trust. No one can forget the Odessa's massacre. If people in the East lay down their arms, they will be hunted and killed like rabbits. So the best idea is that Russia will send thousands of advanced peace-keeping troops to Eastern Ukraine to monitor the sincerity of those in Kiev.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid