News / Europe

Western Powers, Russia Exchange Sharp Words Over Ukraine

Protesters stand on a barricade in central Kiev, Feb. 1, 2014.
Protesters stand on a barricade in central Kiev, Feb. 1, 2014.
Western powers and Russia exchanged sharp words over the future of Ukraine at the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Saturday.
Addressing the conference, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said nowhere was the "fight for a democratic, European future" more important than in Ukraine — which spiraled into chaos after President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of a European Union trade deal in favor of closer ties to Russia last November — and that the U.S. and EU stood "with the people of Ukraine in that fight."

Kerry later met with three of Ukraine's opposition leaders, Arseny Yatsenyuk, Petro Poroshenko and former boxing champion-turned-activist Vitaly Klitschko, who called the protesters' goal a modern, European state.
"Right now they say 'enough, enough to wait, enough corruption, enough of living without rules,' and they are getting slowly aggressive and we need a reaction from the president of Ukraine," said Klitschko, adding that Yanukovych bears "full responsibility for everything that happens in Ukraine."

Ukrainian businessman and politician Petro Poroshenko (2nd L) and U.S. Secretary of State Kerry shake hands as Klitschko (L) Arseniy Yatsenyuk look on, Feb. 1, 2014.Ukrainian businessman and politician Petro Poroshenko (2nd L) and U.S. Secretary of State Kerry shake hands as Klitschko (L) Arseniy Yatsenyuk look on, Feb. 1, 2014.
Ukrainian businessman and politician Petro Poroshenko (2nd L) and U.S. Secretary of State Kerry shake hands as Klitschko (L) Arseniy Yatsenyuk look on, Feb. 1, 2014.
Ukrainian businessman and politician Petro Poroshenko (2nd L) and U.S. Secretary of State Kerry shake hands as Klitschko (L) Arseniy Yatsenyuk look on, Feb. 1, 2014.
Yanukovych has said in recent statements that his opponents are escalating the crisis, unlike his own government, which, he says has fulfilled obligations to end the standoff by replacing the prime minister and granting amnesty to arrested protesters.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov echoed that sentiment while addressing the Munich conference, accusing European politicians of fomenting Ukraine's anti-government protests.
"Why don't we condemn those who seize and hold government buildings, attack the police, torch the police, use racist and anti-Semitic and Nazi slogans?" Lavrov said.

On Friday, Yanukovych signed legislation offering amnesty to protesters detained during anti-government demonstrations. But opposition leaders rejected the measure, saying that it only grants amnesty only if other protesters vacate the government buildings they have seized.
The standoff leaves outside powers with little direct influence to help end the crisis, says European Council of Foreign Relations analyst Olaf Boehnke.
"You have to put pressure on the government in certain ways, but by the end of the day it is pretty much an issue of the Ukrainian people and the demonstrators," Boehnke said in an interview over Skype, adding that the international community should keep up its criticism of human rights abuses by Yanukovych forces.
Tensions in Ukraine rose Thursday after opposition activist Dmytro Bulatov, missing since January 22, was found outside Kyiv with severe cuts and bruises to his face, along with other injuries. Bulatov said he was kidnapped by unknown abductors, tortured and held for days before being abandoned in a forest. Bulatov says he made his way to a nearby village, where he reached his friends by phone.
The U.N. human rights office has called on President Yanukovych to investigate recent reports of deaths, kidnappings and torture during the nation's political unrest. A spokesman for U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the commissioner is "appalled" by the reports.
Yanukovych issued a statement Thursday accusing opposition leaders of escalating the political crisis and saying the government has fulfilled its obligations to end the standoff.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he wants to wait for a new government in Ukraine before proceeding with a promised $15 billion loan to Ukraine along with substantial natural gas discounts.
Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous from: uk
February 01, 2014 5:48 PM
The Ukraine fought for many years to exit from Russia
why don't Putin and Russian authorities
let Ukraine people decide their own future with free elections for government and president

by: Frunze from: Australia
February 01, 2014 4:42 PM
I wonder why this "free" press publicationdidn't actually quote the Russians? Mentioned facts the "free" press didn't like perhaps?
In Response

by: Kharkivyan from: Australia
February 02, 2014 3:16 AM
This is because Russia has no "free press" and seeks to crush it everywhere... No need to "quote" Russians when they speak volumes by their actions - which fool nobody in the west, and only a small number in Ukraine today. Maybe when Russia creates a free press, and a real democracy, you can seek to lecture us about freedom - until then, Russia remains the enemy of freedom, evidenced by world opinion and the enmity of your nearest neighbours who know you the best. Those Russians in Australia who love Russia so much - are very welcome to return there anytime they wish. Until then, Australians will monitor your anti-democratic activity, until immigration rules are compromised... we know who you are Frunze!!!

by: Anonymous
February 01, 2014 12:32 PM
The ukraine wont see a cent of the 15 billion
In Response

by: Kharkivyan from: Australia
February 02, 2014 3:08 AM
The fifteen Billion was a tawdry bribe - and would only have lasted about 6 months anyway... as always, Russia thinks it can buy loyalty with blood money. Russia is wrong this time. Ukraine will triumph over them and their lackeys in Ukraine. Putin should look over his shoulder constantly... inflation rising, printing money with no value will soon see his dictatorship crumble and fall. Then the Russian people will demand entry into Europe themselves - and Ukrainians will welcome them!

by: John Stefanyszyn from: Canada
February 01, 2014 11:59 AM
Ukrainians Embracing and the USA Advancing the “god of fortresses”...FREEDOM

… and those that will not willingly receive / will not allow the mark, name, number of the beast to be glorified, will not be able to ”buy and sell...will suffer sanctions” in the name of the image (that has global authority) of the beast.

...The White House has confirmed it is discussing possible sanctions against Ukraine with the US Congress.

Mr. Kerry said:
..."The aspirations (ref. to democratic / self-rule freedom) of citizens are once again being trampled beneath corrupt, oligarchic interests..."

...that “Ukraine should (be free to) choose...that their futures do not have to lie with one country alone, and certainly not coerced". He said the "vast majority of Ukrainians want to live freely in a safe and prosperous country - they are fighting for the right to associate with partners who will help them realise their aspirations".

Mr Kerry added: "Nowhere is the fight for a democratic, European future more important today than in Ukraine. The United States and EU stand with the people of Ukraine in that fight." President Obama said that this “freedom is not given...but must be taken”.

This FREEDOM is glorified by man because they believe that it is right in their own eyes for their self-interests….to know good and evil for their own self-justified desires.

President Obama has proclaimed that this same FREEDOM is the “Light” of man’s righteousness….that it is the “will” of his ‘god’...the ‘god’ that dictates that it is right to serve and magnify the ‘self’ (XES).

And today, his ‘commanders / locusts’ ( political, national, religious, business leaders) advance and proclaim with authority and power that this FREEDOM is the RIGHT WAY….in the aim of uniting all mankind in "peace".

AND this FREEDOM also dictates that it is RIGHT (a right) for a man to marry a man….that it is RIGHT (a right) to be free (without consequence) to worship ANY ‘god / belief’.

BUT Jesus Christ, Son of the Only Creator God, said that we are to worship the One Lord Creator and Him Alone, His Will Alone to serve.

Soon, The Lord and King Jesus Christ will return to rule the earth in power according to and in obedience to the Will of the Only Creator God and NOT according to man’s first love for “his self-righteous freedom”.

John Stefanyszyn
….a bondman of the One King Jesus Christ, Son of the Only Jehovah Elohim

by: American from: USA
February 01, 2014 11:50 AM
The Ukraine is right next to Russia. What are we doing over there instigating? I can't figure it out. How would we feel if Russia was over here taking the side of revolutionaries against the U.S. in Mexico?

We pushed the Monroe Doctrine at Europe and the old Soviet Union but now we violate the principle in it all over the world with regards to everyone else. It's hypocritical and dangerous.

The U.S. has stumbled with regards to trade, immigration, financial reform, education, cultural/social issues, etc... and the average American and their society faces decline while the U.S. faces stronger competition abroad.

Yet we're running around the world inserting ourselves in everyone else's business telling them what they must do.

How about making America a moral prosperous place to live with a first class education system again instead?

by: whothefox from: Cheshire, UK
February 01, 2014 11:48 AM
Oh dear, Tony Blair is getting in on the picture. That means there will have to be a war, and thousands will die. He'll make money though. After all that is the only reason he should be there - he is NOT a part of politics any more, he's just a money-making champagne socialist.

by: Dr. Korn from: USA
February 01, 2014 11:16 AM
This picture depicts all New World Order PIGS, and Kerry is a member of BOHEMIAN GROVE.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs