News / Europe

Ukrainian Leaders Still Unsure About Russia's Intentions

An armed man, who is wearing black and orange ribbons of St. George - a symbol widely associated with pro-Russian protests in Ukraine, stands guard in front of barricades outside the mayor's office in Slovyansk April 18, 2014.
An armed man, who is wearing black and orange ribbons of St. George - a symbol widely associated with pro-Russian protests in Ukraine, stands guard in front of barricades outside the mayor's office in Slovyansk April 18, 2014.
A day after four-way talks in Geneva aimed at de-escalating a volatile standoff in eastern Ukraine, leaders in the former Soviet republic still remain unsure about Russian intentions.

Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia repeated concerns also voiced by President Barack Obama Thursday, regarding Russian promises to help de-escalate the tense standoff in eastern Ukraine between Moscow-backed separatists and the government in Kyiv.
 
"I don't know what Russia, President Putin, what Russia has in mind regarding the eastern Ukraine. However we still believe there are diplomatic means to de-escalate the situation," Deshchytsia said.
 
The foreign minister had just returned to Kyiv from Geneva, where top diplomats from the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union struck an agreement on a series of steps to tamp down violence and political unrest in Ukraine's restive east.
 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's denials that Moscow has fomented the unrest and sent intelligence operatives in to coach and assist the separatists made the day-long negotiations in Geneva tougher, Ukrainian officials say.
 
"He was cooperative and aggressive at the same time," Deshchytsia said of his Russian counterpart.
 
Geneva deal

The deal sketched out in Geneva provides amnesty for separatist protesters who evacuate government buildings in a dozen cities in eastern Ukraine they have occupied, except for those found guilty of capital crimes.
 
All illegal groups are required to disarm as well. It also outlines a commitment by the government in Kyiv to transfer more power to regional authorities.

But the first wrinkles have already appeared. Defiant pro-Russian militants say they won't leave government buildings they are occupying until Ukraine's interim government quits or until Ukrainian security forces have been pulled back.

Clashes in east

On Thursday, Ukrainian forces engaged pro-Russian separatists in the most intense clash yet in the crisis, killing three militants and wounding 13 after separatists attacked a military base in Mariupol, a southeastern port town on the Sea of Azov.

Ukraine's foreign minister isn't alone in doubting the Kremlin's promises to help defuse the crisis. The country's economy minister, Pavlo Sheremeta, also harbors doubts about the Geneva deal.
 
"I think we share President Obama's concern yesterday that he said that we are unsure what it all means, especially for Russia. We shall see. We will see, too. We are not terribly excited about it. It is much tougher to kid us into some kind of memos nowadays.
 
"Even the war of words is much better than the war of bullets," he added.
 
Challenges remain

But more challenges remain ahead - even if the deal holds, and the separatists accept it and leave the buildings they have seized.  Ukraine's foreign minister says there was much they could not reach an agreement on in Geneva.
 
"We also discussed the issue of the Ukrainian constitution; the issue of the so-called federalization," he noted. "We also discussed the issue of the Russian language. We also discussed the issue of the Russian involvement into the activities in eastern Ukraine. Those are the issues that we did not get agreement to discuss more deeply and to get a consensus."

Obama says the United State is ready to impose fresh economic sanctions on Russia if the Kremlin doesn't make good on its Geneva commitments.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
April 18, 2014 2:47 PM
If America represents the good (amabo) , then Russia represents the other side of the coin.One gives one takes, and Mr Putin is in the position of paying it all off in blood. If he fails to do this, then his own blood is on the line.That is how it has all ended up.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More