World News

    Yanukovych Says He Remains Ukraine's Leader

    Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych blamed his opponents Tuesday for Crimea's moves to break away from Ukraine and said he remains the country's president and commander-in-chief.

    Mr. Yanukovych spoke from Rostov-on-Don, Russia, in his second public appearance since he fled Kyiv last month following months of anti-government protests.

    Denouncing Ukraine's interim authorities as "extremists," the ousted leader called the new government's planned May 25 elections "illegitimate" and "illegal."



    "I declare that the elections for the president which are scheduled to be held on May 25 by a clique which seized power through an unconstitutional coup are absolutely illegitimate and illegal. They don't correspond to article 103 of Ukraine's constitution. Any organ of power that is formed as a result of those illegal elections will also be illegitimate and illegal."



    He also blamed the interim government for the tensions in Crimea and elsewhere in southern and eastern Ukraine.



    "Ukraine is going through a difficult time now. Your actions have led to the fact that the Crimea is splitting off, that even at the point of a submachine gun, the population of the southeast is demanding respect for themselves and their rights."



    Mr. Yanukovych had strong words for the United States and its offer of $1 billion in loan guarantees to the interim government, saying the U.S. government does not have the right to "give money to bandits."

    Meanwhile, Crimea's regional legislature adopted a "declaration of independence" Tuesday stating that the peninsula will declare itself an independent state if Crimean residents vote Sunday for the region to join Russia as a constituent republic. Ukraine's national government has said that all of Ukraine must vote on any referendum allowing Crimea to join Russia.

    And acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov announced the formation of a new National Guard in response to the conflict with Russia. Ukraine's interim leaders blamed mismanagement by the previous administration, that of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych, for the weakness of Ukrainian forces. The interim administration says Ukraine presently has only about 6,000 in its combat-ready infantry.

    Russia and the West are locked in a tense standoff over seizure of the Ukrainian peninsula by pro-Russian forces. The crisis in Crimea began late last month after Mr. Yanukovych's ouster.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Tuesday on the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

    A State Department spokeswoman said Kerry told his Russian counterpart it is "unacceptable" that Russian forces and "irregulars" continue to take 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.

    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 respond positively to proposals to calm the crisis in Crimea.



    Fabius said the sanctions could include freezing the assets of individual Russians or Ukrainians and sanctions on travel visas.

    But if the Russians respond favorably to the proposals, the French foreign minister said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will go to Moscow and sanctions will not be immediate.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has complained that the U.S. proposals amount to "moving forward on the basis of a situation born out of a state coup."

    Moscow and Mr. Yanukovych have consistently described his ouster as an "unconstitutional" overthrow. The ousted leader reiterated Tuesday that he will return to Kyiv as soon as circumstances allow it.

    The situation is further complicated by the Crimea region's plans to hold a March 16 referendum on joining Russia -- a vote Fabius and other Western leaders have called "illegal."

    In Kyiv Monday, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt reiterated that Washington also will not recognize the results of the Crimean referendum.

    NATO said Monday it is deploying reconnaissance aircraft along the borders of member states Poland and Romania to monitor the crisis in Ukraine. It said the deployment is designed "to enhance the alliance's situational awareness." The U.S. has also initiated a new deployment of fighter jets to the region.

    Moscow has officially denied that its troops are participating in the occupation of Crimea. But witnesses say military personnel in unmarked uniforms arrived in Russian-registered vehicles earlier this month and freely admit to being Russian.

    On Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama will meet Ukraine's interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, at the White House. A White House statement Monday said the visit will highlight the United States' strong support for the people of Ukraine, and will include talks on economic aid and preparations for May elections in Ukraine.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora