News / Europe

UN: 'Cool Heads' Must Prevail in Ukraine; US to Suspend Prep Meetings for G8 Summit in Russia

  • Armed men stand guard at the Simferopol airport in the Crimea region of Ukraine, Feb. 28, 2014.
  • An unidentified gunman aims his assault rifle while he and others block the road toward the military airport at the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea, Ukraine, Feb. 28, 2014.
  • Russian troops block the road way towards the military airport at the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea, Feb. 28, 2014.
  • Police stand guard at a local parliament in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine, Feb. 28, 2014.
  • Cossacks attend a pro-Russian rally in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine, Feb. 28, 2014.
  • An anti-Yanukovych protester sleeps at a barricade at Independence Square, Kyiv, Feb. 28, 2014.
  • Two priests pray at a memorial for the people killed in clashes with the police at Kyiv's Independence Square, Feb. 28, 2014.
Images from Ukraine
VOA News
The United Nations says now is the time for "cool heads to prevail" in Ukraine, as Russian lawmakers approved President Vladimir Putin's request to send troops to Crimea.

Ukrainian Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev told the Security Council Saturday that 15,000 Russian troops are already in Crimea under the pretense of protecting Russian citizens. He said Ukraine is calling on the U.N. to do everything possible to stop what he calls aggression against Ukraine.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin blamed the West for ratcheting up tensions in Ukraine and backing protests that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.

He said Russia wants to know why last month's agreement between the opposition and Mr. Yanukovych to form a new coalition government was not implemented. He said Ukraine has to return to that deal and sideline those he calls radicals.

Churkin said President Putin has not yet decided whether to authorize a military force in Crimea. He said such a move would not be against Ukraine, but only on the territory of Ukraine to protect Russian lives.

The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, said Russian actions speak louder than words. She said a Russian force in Ukraine could push the situation beyond the breaking point and again called for international mediation in Crimea.

Meanwhile, the White House says President Barack Obama held a long telephone conversation with President Putin Saturday, expressing deep concern for what it calls the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and international law.

The president said the United States is suspending participation in meetings to prepare for the G8 economic summit later this year in Sochi, Russia.

Russian news agencies say Mr. Putin told the president that Russia reserves the right to protect Russian speakers if there is violence in Crimea or eastern Ukraine.

Mr. Obama said such concerns must be brought up in direct negotiations with the Ukrainian government.

Acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov said he has put the country's armed forces on combat alert. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is warning Russia that military intervention would mean war.

Ukraine has been describing what it says is an ongoing deployment of Russian troops in Crimea since Friday.

VOA correspondent Elizabeth Arrott says unidentified soldiers and military vehicles have appeared in Crimea, well beyond their local base. She said at least a dozen were stationed outside parliament in the Crimean capital of Simferopol on Saturday.

Crimea is a Black Sea peninsula placed under Ukrainian control in 1954 by then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. It became part of Ukraine when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Crimea has a tiny border with Russia on its far eastern point. Most of the people living in Crimea are ethnic Russians, but the region also is home to ethnic Muslim Tartars who generally show disdain toward Russia.

Russia has said its troop movements in Crimea, where it leases a naval base in Sevastopol, conform to agreements with Ukraine.

Elsewhere, pro-Russian demonstrators fought with supporters of the new Ukrainian government in Ukraine's eastern city of Kharkiv Saturday. Pro-Russian demonstrations also erupted in other eastern cities.

Ukraine's troubles began in November when ousted president Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties and economic aid from Russia.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs