World News

Ukrainian Police Move Against Protesters in Central Kyiv

Hundreds of Ukrainian police began storming a protest encampment in central Kyiv early Wednesday, clashing with anti-government demonstrators and ripping down their makeshift tent city.

Witnesses quoted by Reuters said a Ukrainian singer on stage at the huge encampment used a loudspeaker to urge police not to carry out their orders and not to harm protesters.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement expressing "disgust" with the actions of Ukrainian authorities for introducing bulldozers and riot police armed with batons to the scene, rather than, in the words of Secretary of State John Kerry, "respect for democratic rights and human dignity."

Kerry said in the statement that "respect for democratic principles, including freedom of assembly" is fundamental to the United States' approach to Ukraine. He said these values are universal, not just American. He called for "utmost restraint" and said human life must be protected.

The crackdown unfolded hours after European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met in the capital with senior government and opposition leaders in a push to ease the crisis. Later, Ashton walked through the square to view the protests and speak with reporters.



Earlier Tuesday, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych met with three former Ukrainian presidents, launching so-called round table talks reportedly aimed at the same objective.

The protests began in late November, after the Ukrainian president backed away from a long-anticipated trade deal with the European Union, in favor of repairing and improving economic and political ties with Russia.

In a nationally televised address Tuesday following his meeting with his predecessors, Mr. Yanukovych called for the release of protesters arrested after a violent police crackdown November 30. He said good relations with both Russia and the European Union are necessary to protect the country's interests.

Moscow is seeking to form a trade bloc of former Soviet republics and satellite countries to rival the European Union, and has in recent months exerted strong economic pressure on its impoverished neighbor to scuttle the EU deal.

Earlier this year, it imposed restrictions on goods from Ukraine, cutting Ukrainian exports by 25 percent and dragging the country into recession.

Russia is Ukraine's largest foreign investor, trading partner and chief natural gas supplier. Moscow is reported to be dangling a deal with Ukraine that includes a $9 billion annual discount on gas pipeline shipments.

Analysts say Kyiv, which has also secured recent investment deals with China, still needs about $18 billion in outside help to pay government debt and meet energy payments to Russia by early 2014.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs