World News

Ukrainian Leader: Crackdown Against Pro-Russian Separatists Underway

Ukraine's interim president says he has launched a crackdown on pro-Russian demonstrators who have taken over state buildings in eastern Ukraine.

Oleksander Turchynov says government forces began a gradual and cautious operation in the Donetsk region, where pro-Moscow forces have ignored Kyiv's previous ultimatums to surrender.

Mr. Turchynov told lawmakers Moscow has intentionally inflamed the situation in the east.

to be on fire. They want the whole south and east of Ukraine to be on fire - from Kharkiv region to Odessa region.''

END OPT. SOUNDBITE))

Opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko urged Mr. Turchynov to send Ukrainian armed forces to the region to drive out the separatists.



Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow will withdraw from an emergency international summit scheduled for Thursday in Geneva if Kyiv uses force in eastern Ukraine.



Lavrov was questioned about the situation Tuesday during a visit to China.



And Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Mevedev told reporters at a Moscow news conference Tuesday that he believes Ukraine is on the brink of civil war, a prospect he said is "scary."

Tensions over the crisis spilled into the streets of Kyiv on Tuesday when dozens of activists assaulted pro-Russian lawmaker Oleh Tsaryov outside a television studio. Tsaryov is a candidate in presidential elections to be held May 25.

Meanwhile, Russian state media say at least two people have been injured in the clashes near an airport at Kramatorsk, but those reports were not independently confirmed.

Western governments have accused Moscow of backing the protests in eastern Ukraine. U.S. President Barack Obama warned Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call Monday that Moscow will face further costs if its actions in Ukraine persist. He urged the Russian leader to use his influence to persuade the demonstrators to leave the buildings they have seized.

In turn, Mr. Putin urged Mr. Obama to discourage the Ukrainian government from using force against protesters.

The demonstrators are demanding a referendum on whether to split with Ukraine and join Russia - similar to the recent vote in Crimea.

A report issued Tuesday by the U.N. human rights commissioner accuses Russia of manipulating the March 16 vote through propaganda, harassment and torture of anti-Russian activists. It said ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine have falsely claimed to be under assault, to justify Russian intervention. The report warned that if the propaganda persists, it will have an impact on Ukraine's May 25 presidential election.

White House officials say U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Kyiv on April 22.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs