World News

US: Russian Troops Seize Ukraine Border Checkpoint, Deploying Troops by Ferry

The United States says Russia is moving troops into Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula by ferry, after Russian soldiers on Monday seized a border post on the Ukrainian side of a waterway separating the two countries.

Washington's United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power confirmed the troop movement Monday at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York. Earlier Monday, Reuters news agency quoted Ukraine border guards as saying they had seen Russia assembling an armored column on its side of the Kerch Strait.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin used the Council session to read a statement from Ukraine's ousted pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, who fled Kyiv for Russia last week after weeks of anti-government protests.

Churkin said Yanukovych has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene militarily in Ukraine to establish "peace" and "stability" in his homeland. For his part, Mr. Putin insists Moscow has the right to intervene in Ukraine to protect Russian citizens.



Earlier Monday, the U.S. State Department said Washington is preparing to impose sanctions on Moscow. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not elaborate.

European Union Council President Herman Van Rompuy said EU leaders will hold an extraordinary meeting on the Ukraine crisis Thursday in Brussels.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke Monday by telephone with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The White House said Biden urged Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine, support the immediate deployment of international monitors and begin a "meaningful political dialogue" with the Ukrainian government.

Russian media quoted Mr. Medvedev's press secretary as saying that the call was initiated by the United States and the Russian prime minister stressed the need to "protect Ukrainian citizens, including in Crimea, as well as citizens of the Russian Federation located on the territory of Ukraine."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that the use of Russian troops in Crimea is necessary "until the normalization of the political situation" on the peninsula. He spoke at the opening of the U.N. Human Rights Council session in Geneva and said his country's troops are protecting Russian nationals.

Lavrov met Monday with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is hoping to prevent a further escalation in the region.

Russia's foreign ministry on Monday strongly criticized the Group of Eight major industrialized nations for suspending preparations for the G8 summit schedule to take place in the Russian city of Sochi in June over the events in Ukraine. The ministry said in a statement the move damages not only the G8 countries, but "the whole international community."

In a separate statement Monday, Russia's foreign ministry criticized what it called "unacceptable threats" made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who on Sunday called Russia's dispatch of troops to Crimea "a brazen act of aggression, in violation of international law."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague is in Ukraine to meet with leaders, and on Monday visited Kyiv's Independence Square. He said in a BBC radio interview that Russian forces have taken "operational control of the Crimea" and that they must return to their bases there.

Kerry is due to travel Tuesday to Ukraine.

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

Ukraine's troubles began in November when President Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties and economic aid from Russia. The move triggered weeks of pro-Western demonstrations in Kyiv and elsewhere in Ukraine, and forced the pro-Russian Yanukovych to flee the capital in late February.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs