News / Europe

    Obama to Host Ukraine's Interim PM

    FILE - Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaks during a press conference in Brussels on March 6, 2014. FILE - Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaks during a press conference in Brussels on March 6, 2014.
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    FILE - Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaks during a press conference in Brussels on March 6, 2014.
    FILE - Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaks during a press conference in Brussels on March 6, 2014.
    VOA News
    U.S. President Barack Obama hosts Ukraine's interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, at the White House Wednesday.
     
    The White House says the president will stress his strong support for the Ukrainian people and talk about economic aid.  The United States has already pledged $1 billion in aid to Ukraine.

    Yatsenyuk's visit comes just a day after the U.S. House of Representatives voted 403 to six to condemn Russia for violating Ukraine's sovereignty in Crimea. The resolution also calls for international monitors to go to the region.
     
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held another telephone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Tuesday on the ongoing situation in Ukraine.
     
    A State Department spokeswoman said Kerry told Lavrov that it is "unacceptable" for Russian forces and "irregulars" to keep taking matters into their own hands in Ukraine.  Kerry said the U.S. respects the fact that Russia has interests in Crimea, but added that it does not justify military intervention in the region, particularly the use of force.
     
    The White House says there are no credible reports that the rights of ethnic Russians in Crimea and eastern Ukraine are being violated.

    Giving money to 'bandits'

    Ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich during a news conference in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, March 11, 2014.Ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich during a news conference in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, March 11, 2014.
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    Ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich during a news conference in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, March 11, 2014.
    Ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich during a news conference in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, March 11, 2014.
    ​Also Tuesday, ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych emerged again in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don to blame the interim government for Crimea's moves to break away from Ukraine. Yanukovych said he is still president and commander-in-chief. He called the interim leaders in Kyiv "extremists" and denounced presidential elections, set for May 25, as illegal.

    Yanukovych also criticized the United States for promising monetary aid to Ukraine's new government, and said he would appeal to the U.S. Congress and Supreme Court to assess the legality of giving such aid, insisting U.S. laws prohibit giving money to "bandits."

    Confusing referendum ballot

    Meanwhile, Crimea, whose regional legislature adopted a "declaration of independence" Tuesday, is moving ahead with plans to hold a referendum on the peninsula's unification with Russia. However, Ukraine's parliament warned Tuesday that the Crimean Assembly faces dissolution unless the March 16 vote is called off by Wednesday.

    A poster calling for people to vote in the upcoming referendum is seen in Simferopol March 11, 2014.A poster calling for people to vote in the upcoming referendum is seen in Simferopol March 11, 2014.
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    A poster calling for people to vote in the upcoming referendum is seen in Simferopol March 11, 2014.
    A poster calling for people to vote in the upcoming referendum is seen in Simferopol March 11, 2014.
    A sample of the ballot published on the assembly's website appears to offer no option for staying with Ukraine for those voters who might be opposed to joining Moscow. Both options appear to result in Crimea passing under Russian control.
    Crimea closed its airspace to commercial flights but allowed several planes from Moscow to land, Reuters reported, five days ahead of the referendum that the government in Kyiv and its Western backers say is illegal.

    In Crimea, Voting Under the Guni
    X
    Elizabeth Arrott
    March 11, 2014 7:04 PM
    Crimea's regional government is going ahead with plans to hold a referendum on breaking away from Ukraine and joining Russia. But with Russian troops and pro-Russian self-defense forces in control of the peninsula, those in favor of Crimea remaining in Ukraine say it couldn't possibly be fair. VOA’s Elizabeth Arrott has more from Crimea's regional capital, Simferopol.
    In Crimea, Voting under the Gun
    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told France Inter radio Tuesday the West could impose sanctions against Russia as early as this week if Moscow does not work for calm in Crimea.

    And, after repeatedly being denied entry to Crimea, an unarmed OSCE military observer mission is scheduled to visit other parts of Ukraine, including Kyiv, soon.

    Some information provided by Reuters.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Igor from: Russia
    March 11, 2014 11:35 PM
    Arseniy Yatsenyuk is too stupid to be Ukraine president In a country where one half of the population is pro-russian and the other half is pro-western. The president is the one who represents the interests of the whole population. Arseniy Yatsenyuk is a pro-western extremist who never wins trust of all Ukrainians.

    by: Michael from: Sydney
    March 11, 2014 6:45 PM
    Obama to host Yatseynuk in the White House ! Really! This will surely underline his foreign policy failures for all to see. The Obama administration seriously lacks negotiation skills.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 11, 2014 5:02 PM
    TRUTH BE TOLD..... The US and EU put-up unrealistic obstacles for a diplomatic resolution between the US and EU and Russia..
    The US and EU insist that Russia must recognize and negotiate with the violent (neo-Nazi, Right-Sector, and ultra-right-wing Ukraine extremist terrorists), who ousted the Democratic elected President, and Parliament, and seized the Democratic government of Ukraine by force..
    YOU DON'T NEGOTICATE WITH TERRORISTS .. (everybody knows) .. and Putin and Russia won't negotiate with these (Ukraine terrorists that seized the Ukraine government), who the US and EU support, no matter what the US and EU say..
    WHY? ... Can't the US and EU accept the truth, and get on with some serious negotiating with the Russians, instead of spreading lies in the western news media? ........ REALLY?

    by: Dr. Hans from: Germany
    March 11, 2014 3:49 PM
    unfortunately, as expected, the US "policy" is led by incompetents in search of definition. Really, the US can not do anything... it can only issue vacuous statements that mean nothing, and call Putin some childishly disgusting names... which he shrugs off. The sense in the EU is that the US has lost all sense of direction, it is confused, disoriented and inconsistent.
    Obama betrayal of Egypt is stunning... his irresolution on Iran is appalling - we all saw his "policy" in Syria... his betrayal of Israel (which is a virtual US genetic clone) is being talked about in Japan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia...

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