World News

U.S. Says "Overwhelming" Evidence Russia Behind Ukraine Unrest

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman says the "evidence is overwhelming" that recent pro-Russia uprisings in eastern Ukrainian cities were a "very carefully orchestrated, well-planned, well-targeted" effort to take over buildings in several different cities in the same 24-hour period.

Victoria Nuland, the top U.S. diplomat for Europe, made the remarks when asked by a U.S. lawmaker if the U.S. has any proof that Russia was involved in the unrest.

Nuland testified Wednesday that events in Ukraine are "a wake-up call" and said "everything we have stood for over 40 years as a community of free nations" is at risk if "aggressive actions" are allowed to go unchecked and unpunished.

She said the United States does not have high expectations for upcoming four-way talks on Ukraine, but it is important to keep channels of communication open.

Earlier Wednesday, Ukraine's interior minister warned that standoffs with pro-Russian demonstrators in three eastern regions must be resolved in the next 48 hours, either through negotiations or by force.

Arsen Avakov told reporters Wednesday that a "political solution" is still possible. But he vowed protesters who want conflict "will get a forceful answer from Ukrainian authorities."

Pro-Moscow groups seized several government buildings in eastern Ukraine and demanded a vote on joining Russia, in a dramatic escalation of the protests against the country's Western-friendly interim government.

Authorities said shots were fired and at least 60 protesters arrested in Kharkiv Tuesday, while demonstrators held on to government offices captured Sunday in Donetsk.

In Luhansk, Ukrainian authorities said more than 50 people were allowed to leave state security headquarters early Wednesday where the pro-Russians were allegedly holding 60 hostages. The officials said the protesters wired the building with explosives.

On Tuesday U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry accused Russian agents and special forces of stoking separatist unrest in eastern Ukraine. He called the Russian actions "a contrived pretext for military intervention just as we saw in Crimea."

A buildup of troops along Russia's border with Ukraine has raised concerns that Moscow could move to take parts of eastern Ukraine, following its annexation of the largely pro-Russian Crimean peninsula last month.

Russia's foreign ministry on Wednesday said Moscow is not carrying out any "unusual or unplanned activity on its territory near the border with Ukraine that would be of military significance."

But many are not convinced. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told lawmakers Russia has not taken sufficient steps to ease tensions. She urged an international observer mission in Ukraine be bolstered to include 500 people.

Ukraine's pro-Russian government was ousted earlier this year following weeks of anti-government protests. It was replaced by a Western-friendly government.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs