World News

Ukraine's Tymoshenko Urges Strong European Action Against Secession Try

Pro-Western Ukrainian opposition icon Yulia Tymoshenko has urged Europe to take strong action to prevent Ukraine's Crimean peninsula from joining Russia, saying such a move will destabilize the entire continent.

Ms. Tymoshenko, twice Ukraine's prime minister, spoke to European politicians Thursday in Dublin, Ireland, just hours after pro-Russian lawmakers in Crimea voted to join Russia. The parliamentary vote sets the stage for a March 16 Crimean referendum on the region's future that U.S. and European leaders are calling illegal.

Tymoshenko told a session of the European People's Party -- the largest bloc in the European parliament -- that democracy will suffer "if we allow Russia to hold a referendum at gunpoint."

Witnesses and Western analysts say thousands of Russian military personnel have crossed into Crimea since last week, setting off a groundswell of Western condemnation against Russian President Vladimir Putin, and warnings of stiff penalties if Moscow fails to withdraw.

Thursday's vote by the Crimean parliament triggered a flurry of political reaction in Kyiv, European capitals and Washington.

In Brussels, interim Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called the Crimean parliament's vote to leave Ukraine "an illegal decision." But he told European Union lawmakers his government remains open to crisis talks with Moscow.

The EU froze the assets in Europe held by 18 Ukrainians, including ousted president Viktor Yanukovych, former prime minister Mykola Azarov and 16 former ministers, business people and security chiefs.

In Washington, President Barack Obama authorized sanctions, including visa restrictions, against those found to have violated Ukraine's territorial integrity. Separately, the U.S. House of Representatives approved loan guarantees of about $1 billion to the Kyiv government.

Earlier Thursday, monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were stopped at the border and not allowed into the region. They later returned to Kyiv, where they described the situation in Crimea as tense, and questioned the legality of the upcoming referendum.

Separately, the international police agency Interpol said it had received an international wanted persons alert for the arrest of the fugitive former president Yanukovych. The ex-president fled Kyiv in late February, under intense pressure from anti-government protesters demanding his resignation. Interpol says the charges include abuse of power and murder.

Ukraine's crisis began when protests erupted in late November after Mr. Yanukovych rejected an economic deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia. What began as peaceful protests quickly turned violent, leading to the deaths of more than 80 protesters and charges that the Yanukovych government ordered snipers to shoot protesters.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs