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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora