More than $3 billion is needed to overhaul the Soviet-era natural gas transit network in Ukraine, Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan said Wednesday.
SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — While Russia and the United States traded warnings and accusations over developments Wednesday in Ukraine, the promised Ukrainian military effort to reassert control over the restive eastern part of the country got off to a halting start, and the international agreement reached last week in Geneva that was meant to defuse the crisis in the country frayed even further.
MOSCOW — The founder of Russia's leading social media network — a wunderkind often described as Russia's Mark Zuckerberg — has left his post as CEO and fled the country as cronies of President Vladimir Putin have made steady inroads into the company's ownership.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's approach to pro-Russian militants destabilizing southern and eastern Ukraine differs from his strategy on Crimea, where Russian forces took a more active role in breaking away the peninsula from Kyiv. Massing Russian soldiers along the Ukrainian border mirrors the troop build-up that preceded Moscow's annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
Russia's foreign minister on April 23 promised a firm response if its citizens or interests come under attack in Ukraine — a vow that came after Ukraine announced a renewal of its "anti-terror" campaign against those occupying buildings in its troubled east.
Simon Ostrovsky, a journalist for the Brooklyn-based Vice News, has been held captive since April 22, a spokeswoman for pro-Russia insurgents in Slovyansk, Ukraine, has confirmed. Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the self-described mayor of Slovyansk, said there are no plans to release the American journalist.
International Monetary Fund staff endorsed a $17 billion loan to Ukraine to help the government pay its bills amid a projected economic contraction of 5 percent this year, according to government officials who have seen the recommendations.
The analysis of the situation around the freedom of the press in Ukraine, conducted by the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic is nonobjective and undermines the authority of this organization, the Russian foreign ministry said. "We have noticed the surprisingly nonobjective analysis of the situation around freedom of the press in Ukraine, which was mentioned by Mijatovic, who visited this country, in an interview with CNN," the ministry said on its website.
Russia's Foreign Ministry on April 23 said it believed that both the West and Kyiv had distorted an agreement reached in Geneva last week aimed at defusing the Ukraine crisis. Moscow said it believed that both the Ukrainian provisional government and Washington had been "closing their eyes" to "provocative actions" by Ukrainian nationalists. It called for a de-escalation of the situation after Ukraine re-launched military operations against pro-Kremlin separatists late on Tuesday, adding that talks should take place involving all parties.
As friends and family waited impatiently to hear from Simon Ostrovsky, the American journalist kidnapped by pro-Russian insurgents April 22, an image of a scantily dressed woman crawling across a bed appeared on his Facebook page April 23, likely the work of hackers. Also April 23, the self-proclaimed mayor of the Ukrainian city of Slovyansk said he would not free Ostrovsky.
The question of water deliveries for Crimea requires a legal framework, said Volodymyr Hroisman, the Ukrainian Minister of Regional Development, Construction and Housing and Communal Services. "Today there is no reason to supply water. I think Crimea, too, needs to work harder on this issue, and then it will be possible to settle the issue. It is a matter for two businesses which must agree on how to carry out these operations," the minister said at a briefing on April 23.
Vitali Klitschko, leader of the party UDAR, was nominated for the post of Kyiv mayor at a recent conference of the party's Kyiv city organization. Klitschko reiterated that his priority is to destroy the barriers that keep Kyiv from developing freely and successfully, the UDAR press service reported on April 23.
The Ukrainian Security Service's Anti-Terrorist Center has said that if illegal armed groups in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions do not surrender their weapons, law enforcement will use whatever means and possibilities available to restore order in the regions. "In accordance with the Geneva agreements, all illegal armed groups and certain individuals who have armed themselves illegally must stop and surrender weapons. Otherwise, law enforcement authorities will be using all forces, means and possibilities to discontinue criminal actions and restore the law and public safety," the security agency said in a statement posted on its website on April 23 evening.
U.S. journalist Simon Ostrovsky has been detained by the pro-Russian activists in Donetsk and is now under arrest, Sloviansk "people's mayor" Viacheslav Ponomariov told Interfax on April 23. "This journalist, who, according to our information, has U.S. and Israeli citizenship, has indeed been detained by the self-defense forces. According to our information, he is an informer for Right Sector," Ponomariov said. "The journalist has normal living conditions and is being fed," he said.
A contingent of U.S. Army paratroopers arrived in Poland on April 23, the first of what will be a "persistent presence" of U.S. troops as the crisis in nearby Ukraine continues to unfold. The company-sized contingent will conduct training exercises with Polish counterparts and is visiting at the request of Poland.
The words of the senior figure in Pravy Sektor, a far-right Ukrainian nationalist movement, were clear and adamant. "The revolution is not finished yet," said Andriy Tarasenko. "And the aim of the revolution is to break the old system." Mr Tarasenko was speaking not of the separatist crisis in eastern Ukraine, but of the protesters who remain camped in Independence Square in the heart of Kyiv more than two months after they braved snipers' bullets to overthrow Viktor Yanukovych, the fallen president.
Russia and China have blocked a proposal by the United States and France to impose U.N. sanctions on Central African Republic's former President Francois Bozize and two other people linked to the conflict there, diplomats told Reuters on April 23.
LONDON (AP) — Four centuries after his death, William Shakespeare is probably Britain's best-known export, his words and characters famous around the world. It's fitting they were first staged at a playhouse called the Globe. Now the modern-day Shakespeare's Globe theater in London is setting out to test the Bard's maxim that "all the world's a stage" by taking "Hamlet" to every country on Earth, more than 200 in all.
JASCE, Poland (AP) — In imaginary emergency drills, Polish security forces evacuated the Interior Ministry and rescued foreigners supposedly injured in a cross-border helicopter crash as part of Poland's first nationwide security exercises for decades.
The German and French Foreign Ministers, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Laurent Fabius, respectively, have called on Russia to help de-escalate the conflict in Ukraine. They made the appeal during a press conference held jointly with Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca in Chisinau on April 23 evening. The speakers expressed their concern about the developments in Ukraine and said they are closely monitoring compliance with the Geneva agreements on Ukraine.