News / Europe

    US, Europe Wary of Russian Actions, Pledge Support for Ukraine

    US, Europe Wary of Russian Actions, Pledge Support for Ukrainei
    X
    Jeff Seldin
    April 14, 2014 11:57 PM
    The intensifying violence in eastern Ukraine -- and fears of increased Russian involvement -- have gripped the attention of both the United States and Europe. Officials are now intensely working on a response to calm tensions across the region, even as President Barack Obama spoke again with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, about the crisis. VOA's Jeff Seldin reports from the Pentagon.
    The intensifying violence in eastern Ukraine -- and fears of increased Russian involvement -- have gripped the attention of both the United States and Europe. 

    Officials are now intensely working on a response to calm tensions across the region, even as President Barack Obama spoke again with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, about the crisis. 

    European ministers arriving for talks in Luxembourg, wary of the violent turn of events in eastern Ukraine, had no problem placing blame Monday.  British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, is pointing his finger squarely at Moscow.
     
    "It has all the appearances of a further gross, deliberate and premeditated violation of the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine," he said.
     
    Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt is equally blunt.

    “So far they've been escalating, and if they continue to escalate, I think we should escalate," he said.
     
    Which is what they did, by agreeing to expand sanctions and visa bans against Russia.
     
    Even as Europe moved for more actions, the U.S. military announced a Russian fighter jet, like these, made 12 low-altitude, close-range passes near the USS Donald Cook while patrolling international waters in the Black Sea Saturday.
     
    Pentagon officials said the Russian jet was not armed with missiles but called the actions “provocative and unprofessional."
     
    In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hit back… accusing the West of encouraging Kyiv to crack down.
     
    "This is an extremely dangerous development of the events, and those who encourage the current Kyiv authorities to act that way should bear full responsibility," he said.
     
    Lavrov also questioned what U.S. spy chief John Brennan was doing in Kyiv this past weekend, a trip White House spokesman Jay Carney defended as “standard,” to promote security cooperation, warning Russia to step back:

    “I can assure you that Russia’s provocations - further transgressions and provocation  - will come with a cost,” he said.

    Like the European Union, the U.S. says it is prepared to ramp up sanctions and, Monday, also announced a $1 billion loan guarantee for Ukraine.
     
    Yet military aid - requested by Ukraine - has not been forthcoming - -- even as NATO worries about the massing of Russian troops along the border.
     
    “It’s a question in which we hopefully do not revert to a Cold War in the sense really of the Western countries pairing up against Russia because Russian assistance in many worldwide situations is still very important,” said former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar.

    For now, though, there are plenty of questions in the West about just how far Russia will go.
     
    “These are not peaceful protesters, this is an armed force," said U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt who spoke to VOA’s Russian Service. "And I think there is a real risk that their actions could precipitate greater violence and any bloodshed, of course, is something that the United States will oppose."

    All the while, the tensions in Ukraine continue to rise.

    Jeff Seldin

    Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

    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’

    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