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

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora