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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid