World News

    US, EU Declare Sanctions on Russian Officials, Ukrainians

    The White House has declared a freeze on assets of 11 Russian officials linked to the political push for Crimea's independence from Ukraine and possible annexation by Russia.

    The Obama administration announced the sanctions Monday following the European Union, which designated 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine for travel bans and trade sanctions.

    The moves came in response to Crimea's declaration of independence from Ukraine Monday and it plans to apply to become part of Russia. Crimea's regional assembly declared independence for the region after a referendum on Sunday indicated voters' overwhelming support for joining the Russian Federation.

    In addition to responses from the U.S. and the European Union, NATO released a statement Monday calling the vote "illegal and illegitimate." It said the vote violates the Ukrainian constitution and international law, and added that the circumstances under which the referendum was held were "deeply flawed and therefore unacceptable."

    Despite objections from the international community, a delegation of Crimean lawmakers is traveling to Moscow Monday to discuss additional procedures required to become part of the Russian Federation.

    Ukraine's parliament has approved a partial mobilization of reservists in response to the crisis.



    Crimea's election chief announced Monday that nearly 97 percent of the voters cast ballots supporting secession and a move to join Russia. However, those opposed to the move had been advised to boycott the referendum.

    Crimea's pro-Moscow leader, Sergei Aksyonov, announced that his government will formally apply on Monday to join the Russian Federation.

    In Kyiv, Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called the Moscow-backed Crimea vote "a circus spectacle" directed at gunpoint by Russia.

    An earlier White House statement said no decision should be made about the future of Ukraine without the Ukrainian national government.

    It also said the presidential election planned for May 25 will provide a legitimate opportunity for all Ukrainians to make their voices heard on the future of their country.

    Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Sunday agreed to push for Ukrainian constitutional reforms for power sharing and decentralization as a solution to the crisis.

    In Kyiv, Ukraine's acting defense minister told reporters that Ukraine and Russia have agreed on a truce in Crimea until March 21.

    Sunday's vote came a day after Russian forces seized a natural gas facility just outside Crimean territory. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called the move "a military invasion by Russia."

    Ukraine provides the peninsula with all of its water and energy needs, and some analysts say the seizure may be aimed at ensuring the peninsula's energy requirements are met in the event Kyiv were to cut off supplies.

    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