Newscast Media KIEV—Moscow believes that Kiev should take the first steps to
de-escalate the situation in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said
“We have no doubt that the first steps should be taken by Kiev’s authorities. This is
absolutely undeniable,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov added that the coup-imposed Kiev authorities should acknowledge their
responsibility in a February 21 reconciliation deal and last week’s international
agreement reached in Geneva.
On February 21, Ukrainian authorities and opposition leaders signed an agreement
backed by the European Union on settling the crisis, including the establishment of a
national unity government within 10 days.
The next day, Ukraine underwent a regime change resembling a military coup. The
country’s parliament ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, changed the constitution
and scheduled an early presidential election for May 25.
Moscow has repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of these actions and has called on
the sides to abide by the February 21 agreement. Eastern and southeastern cities of
Ukraine refused to accept the legitimacy of Kiev authorities and have been staging
protests since March.
In a bid to de-escalate the ongoing conflict, top diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, the
United States and the European Union approved a statement on April 17 calling on
the sides in Ukraine to refrain from violence, extremism and provocations, disarm
militants and launch a national dialogue on constitutional reform.
In violation of the Geneva deal, a group of unknown gunmen, allegedly members of
the Right Sector far-right group, killed at least three people in an attack on a
checkpoint near Slaviansk this weekend. The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the
attack as “provocation” that pointed to Kiev’s reluctance to disarm nationalists and
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Noting that diplomacy requires willing partners,
Secretary of State John Kerry said the four-nation talks in Geneva April 17 reached
an accord to end the spiraling tensions and escalating violence in Ukraine.
“We worked hard and we worked in good faith in order to try to narrow what are real
differences — some of them significant — and to find a way forward for the people of
Ukraine that helps them in achieving their aspiration to live in a stable, peaceful and
unified democracy,” Kerry told journalists at a press conference with European Union
High Representative Catherine Ashton.
Kerry met for seven hours with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia, Russian
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the EU’s Ashton before announcing the four-party
agreement. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—NATO should stop its belligerent rhetoric over the
crisis in Ukraine and return to normal cooperation with Russia, Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov said in an article published by The Guardian.
Below is part of the text of the article, obtained from The Guardian:
“The profound, pervasive crisis in Ukraine is a matter of grave concern for
Russia. We understand perfectly well the position of a country which became
independent just over 20 years ago and still faces complex tasks to construct a
sovereign state. Among them is the search for a balance of interests among its
various regions, the peoples of which have different historical and cultural
roots, speak different languages and have different perspectives on their past,
present and their country’s future place in the world…”
Meanwhile, the US has deployed a warship to the Black Sea as tensions between
the countries Russia, the US and Ukraine continue to rise.
Now that Crimea is not part of Ukraine, Russian President Vladmir Putin is making sure
that criminal elements from the former regime are dealt with harshly. Putin called on
the Federal Security Service (FSB) to prevent radicals or individuals with a criminal
past from working in the Crimean government.
“I ask that you pay special attention to the formation of the FSB’s subdivisions in
Crimea and Sevastopol,” Putin said during a meeting with FSB officials.
“They have the task of not allowing individuals with a criminal past or those with
radical and extremist tendencies, as well as those attempting to disrupt the normal
development of Crimea and Sevastopol, into government agencies,” the Russian
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that the
United States would not take military action in Ukraine against Russia.
“We are not going to be getting into a military excursion in Ukraine,” Obama said in an
interview according to Xinhua.
“I think even the Ukrainians would acknowledge, for us to engage Russia militarily
would not be appropriate and would not be good for Ukraine, either,” Obama said.
“What we are going to do is mobilize all of our diplomatic resources to make sure that
we’ve got a strong international coalition that sends a clear message,” he added.
In response to the Ukraine crisis, the Obama administration has focused on providing
economic aid to Ukraine and imposing sanctions against Russia.
On Monday, Obama announced sanctions against 11 Russian and Ukraine officials who
the United States said are responsible for threatening Ukraine’s sovereignty and
territorial integrity. He indicated that further sanctions could be on the way.
In defiance of condemnations and further sanctions by the West, Russian President
Vladimir Putin signed a treaty on Tuesday with leaders of Crimea to accept the
Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as part of the Russian territory.
“Crimea is part of our common heritage and a key factor of stability in the region. This
strategic territory should be under strong, stable sovereignty, which in effect can
only be Russian,” Putin told parliament.
The accession treaty followed Monday’s decision by the Crimean parliament to
declare independence from Ukraine and Sunday’s referendum in the peninsula of
Crimea showed an overwhelming 96.77 percent of Crimeans in favor of rejoining
The White House said on Wednesday that Russia was “directly responsible” for
casualties in Crimea amid reports that two people had been killed by sniper shots in
Newscast Media LONDON—Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov are holding talks in London on the Ukraine crisis.
Kerry, who has warned that the West would take “very serious steps” if Russia goes
ahead with the annexation of Crimea, said before the meeting the two would discuss
how best to smooth over their differences.
“Obviously, we have a lot to talk about. I look forward to an opportunity to dig into
the issues and possibilities that we may be able to find about how to move forward
together to resolve some of the differences between us,” Kerry said.
Kerry was expected to tell Lavrov that Russia risks concerted international sanctions
because of the March 16 referendum on Crimea joining Russia.
Lavrov told reporters in London that precious time has been wasted in resolving the
crisis: “I am also satisfied to have this meeting today. This is a difficult situation we
are in. Many events have happened and a lot of time has been lost, so now we have
to see what can be done.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that overnight violence in
eastern Ukraine demonstrates that authorities in Kiev are losing control and that
Russia reserves the right to protect its citizens.
Source: Radio Free Europe
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—As the Republicans have set the stage to sweep the
November mid-term elections, and expert predictions point to reclaiming the White
House in the 2016 presidential election, Barack Obama’s popularity and approval
ratings continue to drop nationwide.
According to the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, Americans surveyed said
they were less inclined to support a candidate if the person had been endorsed by
Mr. Obama or was a “solid supporter” of his administration. Approval of Mr. Obama is
particularly weak in the South and Midwest, regions where Democrats could have a
tough time defending Senate seats. CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>
Newscast Media SEVASTOPOL—Pro-Russia lawmakers in the parliament of Crimea,
which is now occupied by Russian forces, have approved a declaration on the
republic’s independence—a precursor to a referendum on the region becoming part of
The lawmakers announced that the March 11 adoption of the declaration is a
technical step ahead of a referendum on March 16 that will ask voters whether
Crimea should join Russia.
“If Crimean residents vote for the accession of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to
Russia as a constituent entity, Crimea will be declared an independent republic after
the referendum,” the declaration says.
Seventy-eight of the 81 lawmakers present voted in favor of the declaration.
Source: Radio Free Europe
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Viktor Yanukovych says he’s still the legitimate president
of Ukraine, and that the country’s current authorities are “fascist thugs.”
In his first public appearance since he fled Kyiv one week ago Yanukovych spoke at a
news conference in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don on February 28.
“The time has come for me to say that I intend to continue the fight for the future of
Ukraine against those who are trying, through terror and fear, to take charge over it,”
Yanukovych told reporters. “And I decided to speak publicly about that.”
Yanukovych denied that he had been removed from power, maintaining that he had
been forced to leave because of direct threats to his safety.
“Nobody has ousted me,” he said. “I was forced to leave Ukraine because of an
immediate threat to my life and the life of my loved ones.”
He added that he would return to Ukraine only after receiving guarantees of his
Yanukovych insisted that Ukraine should remain “united and whole,” including Crimea,
where there is a major Russian influence.
Yanukovych said he would not seek military assistance from anyone to return to the
seat of power in Kyiv.
He also apologized to Ukrainians for not maintaining stability. He denounced Western
powers for failing to implement the February 21 Western-brokered agreement that
Yanukovych signed with the opposition.
Radio Free Europe
Newscast Media MOSCOW—While the UN is busy trying to resolve the Ukraine crisis
through peaceful dialogue, a leaked phone call that was posted on Youtube indicates
that behind the scenes, Washington is a major player in the chess game.
This crisis is as a result of Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych’s decision to reject
a partnership agreement with the European Union, and instead accept aid from Russia
to solidify Ukraine’s relationship with its long-time neighbor. The EU had hoped to lure
Ukraine by offering it a path to membership within the bloc, but Putin advised
Yanukovych not to fall into the trap. CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>