WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry suggested on Thursday that the United States is drawing closer to imposing more sanctions on Russia by saying time was running out for Moscow to change its course in Ukraine.
WARSAW, Poland — Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said Thursday that the international community should not accept Russia's "aggression" in Ukraine and committed to help the country develop its democracy.
MOSCOW — Russia on Thursday demanded that the United States force the Ukrainian authorities to halt a military operation in southeastern Ukraine and withdraw units of the armed forces.
SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — Russia began new military exercises near its border with Ukraine, the defense minister announced Thursday, after Ukrainian forces launched an operation to drive pro-Russia insurgents out of occupied buildings in the country's tumultuous east.
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon sharply criticized Russia's announcement on Thursday that it was starting military drills near the border with Ukraine and called on Moscow to take steps to lower, not escalate, tensions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government not to relax its budget policy in order to finance the newly-annexed territory of Crimea amid fears of a new economic crisis in the country, a report said Thursday.
Now that our friend and colleague Simon Ostrovsky is safe and sound, let’s take a look back at some of the great work that he’s done for VICE News.
Ukraine could sign a deal on April 28 allowing the shipment of up to 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas a year from Slovakia, ministers from the two countries said, although Ukraine says its neighbor could pump three times that much. Russia's seizure of Crimea from Ukraine has set off the most serious East-West rift since the end of the Cold War, resulting in EU and U.S. sanctions, mostly in the form of visa bans and asset freezes for a number of Russian officials.
As the government in Kyiv begins its move to reopen roads and recapture government buildings in eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian militants in the town of Kramatorsk have been consolidating their hold. Over the weekend they seized the main municipal offices and earlier this week they took over the central police station, where bullet holes now mark the façade.
Simon Ostrovsky was said to be in good health after being released from captivity, three days after being detained by pro-Russia militia. An American journalist for Vice News detained by separatists in eastern Ukraine has been released and is in good health, the outlet confirmed on its website April 24.
At a newly erected checkpoint about 10km east of the separatist stronghold of Sloviansk on April 24, two soldiers named Dima and Vyacheslav were sitting in the turret of an armoured vehicle flying the Ukrainian flag – an increasingly rare sight in a region torn by separatist tensions. Vyacheslav said he had been there since the morning with orders to “stop people with weapons” from entering town; other soldiers had set up gun positions behind sandbags. Elsewhere in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, which has been a focus of the unrest, members of elite police units sporting red berets were stationed at other Kyiv-controlled checkpoints.
Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov has demanded that Russia stop meddling in Ukraine's affairs and halt its "blackmail." In a televised statement on April 24, the president demanded that Moscow pull back its troops from the Ukrainian border.
France will send four Rafale fighter jets to Poland next week as part of a show of NATO commitment to Central Europe and the Baltic states, which have been rattled by the escalation of tensions between Russia and Ukraine. The four warplanes will be sent to Malbork in northern Poland on April 28 on a double mission: to train the Polish air force and stand ready for air patrols over the Baltic states under NATO command, the French defense ministry said.
For a brief moment it seemed that eastern Ukraine’s slide into conflict might be halted. A deal struck in Geneva on April 17th between Russia, the United States, the European Union and Ukraine called for illegally occupied buildings to be vacated and armed groups to give up their weapons. But Denis Pushilin, head of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk, brushed it off, saying that, since the Ukrainian government was illegal, only if it left its buildings would his people do so.
Ukraine has asked Moscow, under European OSCE security arrangements, to explain and give details of its military exercises near the border within 48 hours, the Foreign Ministry said on April 24. In a statement in response to remarks by the Russian defense minister earlier in the day announcing exercises linked to tension in Ukraine, the ministry said Russia was trying to influence Kyiv's efforts to fight militants in the east.
Ukraine's interim government on April 24 called for the U.S. and European Union to impose broad sectorial sanctions on Russia "as quickly as possible" in response to what Kyiv says are the Kremlin's escalating efforts to destabilize eastern Ukraine. Ukraine's deputy foreign minister, Danylo Lubkivsky, also said his government needs increased military support from the West, including arms, to defend itself against Moscow's aggression.
Saying that Vladimir Putin's justification for the annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula is "eerily similar" to Adolf Hitler's justification of conquests, U.S. Sen. John McCain (Republican-Arizona) said the United States must arm Ukraine to deter Russia from further invasion.
Ukraine's foreign minister has blasted the Russian decision to start military maneuvers along Ukraine's border and said his country will fight any invading troops. Andriy Deshchytisa said Russia's decision April 24 to launch the military exercises "very much escalates the situation in the region."
A Russian court rejected a request by prosecutors to put Kremlin foe Alexei Navalny behind bars during a second trial on theft charges, leaving one of President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critics under house arrest.
The International Monetary Fund said on April 24 that its board would meet on April 30 to consider an aid package for Ukraine, saying that Kyiv had supplied the needed documents for it to determine whether conditions for a bailout had been met. The IMF tentatively agreed in late March to provide a $14 billion-$18 billion two-year bailout to help Ukraine recover from months of political and economic turmoil. The IMF board has yet to approve that package.