Ukraine | KUOW News and Information

Ukraine

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Cordelia Revells anxiously peers down the arrival gate a Sea-Tac Airport.

“We’re looking for a family of six,” Revells says. “You’ll know it’s them because refugees typically carry a white and blue bag from the IOM.” (That’s the International Organization for Migration, which helps coordinate refugee travel from overseas.)


When Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, many of the region's most precious artifacts were on loan to a museum in Amsterdam.

This kicked off a two year legal battle over where The Netherlands should return the priceless collection of gold and jewels: to Ukraine or to the four Crimean museums that lent the objects.

The chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign says he never received a single off-the-books cash payment for political work in Ukraine.

The statement from campaign chairman Paul Manafort comes after The New York Times reported that his name appears in a so-called "black ledger" recording under-the-table payments made by the political party of Ukraine's former pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych.

Russia is issuing a new 100-ruble banknote commemorating the annexation of Crimea.

But the new bill may serve as a reminder of the country's current economic pain. At the present rate of exchange, the 100-ruble note is worth about $1.41 — around half of what it was worth in February 2014, just before Russia seized the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine.

Jeannie Yandel talks with Anastasia Podlazova, the founder of DroWa, an annual festival for the Russian-speaking community in Washington, about how the Ukrainian conflict impacts the event.

"Armed pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said Friday that they were not bound by an international deal ordering them to disarm and were looking for more assurances about their security before leaving the public buildings they are holding," Reuters reports.

AP Photo/Jim Bourg

Steve Scher talks with Columbia University Professor Stephen Sestanovich about today's meeting between U.S., Ukrainian, EU and Russian officials in Geneva. Sestanovich also discusses what President Vladimir Putin's strategy might be in his involvement in Ukraine.

Courtesy of Wayne Buck

When there’s daylight in Seattle, it’s usually night time in Ukraine. But that time difference doesn't matter to many Ukrainians here, who are anxious for news of the crisis unfolding in their motherland.

“We have 32 channels from Ukraine so we can watch every day,” said Peter Drogomiretskiy during a recent interview at his home in Brier, Wash. He sometimes watches Ukrainian news coverage with his wife, Valha Drogomiretskiy, until 3 a.m. and only sleeps a few hours before work.

This post was updated with a new top at 4:10 p.m. ET.

Diplomats from the U.S., Ukraine, Russia and the European Union emerged Thursday from a meeting that wasn't expected to accomplish much saying they had made progress toward resolving the crisis in Ukraine.

"We worked hard and we worked in good faith in order to narrow our real differences," Secretary of State John Kerry said following the meeting in Geneva. He and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that the four parties at the negotiating table agreed:

Confusion continues to reign in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia gunmen remain in control of many government offices even as the Ukrainian military sends in troops, tanks and armed aircraft in an attempt to dislodge them.

According to NPR's Ari Shapiro, who is in eastern Ukraine, locals who are pushing to separate from the central government and join the Russian Federation claim that at least some Ukrainian troops are refusing to move against them.

Ukraine's acting president says his nation's military has begun "an anti-terrorist operation" aimed at pushing armed pro-Russia demonstrators out of the government buildings in eastern Ukraine that they have occupied for several days.

"A deadline set by the Ukrainian government for pro-Russian gunmen to leave government buildings in eastern Ukraine and surrender weapons passed early Monday," The Associated Press writes, "with no immediate sign of any action to force the insurgents out."

In the political battle between Ukraine and Russia, one of the biggest pawns is chocolate.

That's because the current front-runner in Ukraine's presidential race is Petro Poroshenko, known as "the Chocolate King." His billion-dollar empire was founded on candy factories.

Riot police and other Ukrainian forces are cracking down on pro-Russian demonstrators in eastern Ukraine, drawing a warning from neighboring Russia on Tuesday that also alleged an American military contractor is helping Ukraine.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov says Ukraine has arrested around 70 demonstrators who had seized a regional administration building in Kharkiv, the country's second-largest city. Avakov described it as an "anti-terrorist" operation.

Saying again that Russia's annexation of Crimea and insertion of military forces there violate international law and the sovereignty of Ukraine, President Obama declared Wednesday that while the U.S. and European union stand united, "Russia stands alone" on the world stage because of its actions.

Russia's 20 years of having a seat at the table when leaders of the world's most powerful industrialized nations meet came to at least a temporary end.

President Obama and his counterparts from six other major nations announced in The Hague that because of Russia's actions in Crimea, "we will suspend our participation in the G-8."

Ukraine announced the pullout of its troops from Crimea after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula and took control of the military bases there. The decision comes as President Obama arrived in the Netherlands on Monday for a summit of the G-7 group of industrialized nations that is certain to focus on discussion of the international crisis.

Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov said Monday that the Defense Ministry has been ordered to redeploy Ukrainian servicemen from the Crimea to Ukraine's mainland, in remarks confirmed by his office.

There will be few days that better symbolize the crisis in Ukraine.

On Friday:

As Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was signing an agreement on closer relations with the European Union ...

... Russian President Vladimir Putin was signing the laws his country has put in place to take Crimea from Ukraine and make it part of the Russian Federation.

More senior Russian officials are being added to the list of those who the U.S. will seek to penalize for their nation's interference in Ukraine's affairs, President Obama announced Thursday morning.

Ukraine's plans to withdraw its troops from Crimea, which as we reported were announced Wednesday, have apparently been complicated by the issue of whether they will be allowed to take their weapons and other equipment with them.

Flickr Photo/Danielle Bauer (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer about Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's upcoming visit to Ukraine while truckers continue to strike at Port Metro Vancouver. Vaughn also has the latest update in the Quebec elections.

AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov

Marcie Sillman talks with Eurasia Group analyst Cliff Kupchan about the latest in Ukraine after the pro-Russian self-defense force stormed the Ukrainian naval headquarters in Sevastopol, Crimea, on Wednesday.

This post was last updated at 4:50 p.m.

A day after Russia claimed Crimea as its own, Ukraine's security chief said they were drawing up plans to withdraw troops and their families from the area.

The BBC reports Andriy Parubiy said during a press conference that Ukraine wanted to move the troops "quickly and efficiently" to mainland Ukraine and that they would also ask the United Nations to declare Crimea a demilitarized zone.

We updated this post as Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke and other leaders reacted.

Wasting no time and showing no sign that he's concerned about Western objections or economic sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea on Tuesday.

U.S. Legislators Show Progress In Washington, D.C.

Mar 17, 2014
Flickr Photo/Humberto Moreno (CC BY-NC-ND)

Steve Scher talks with Andrea Seabrook, founder of DecodeDC, about how the so-called lame-duck Congress may be turning over a new leaf.

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET.

Russia has officially recognized Crimea as a sovereign independent state, after President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to that effect late Monday, according to a release from the Kremlin. The decree takes effect immediately, naming "the Republic of Crimea, in which the city of Sevastopol has a special status."

Ukraine: The Eve Of Diplomacy Or War?

Mar 14, 2014
AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool

Marcie Sillman talks with Scott Radnitz about the upcoming vote over Crimea's independence and whether Russia and the West would reach a diplomatic solution.

Radnitz is the associate professor in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies and director of the Ellison Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies at the University of Washington.

This post has been updated.

Update at 12:45 ET: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry came away from talks Friday in London saying they had not come any closer to an agreement about how to end the crisis in Ukraine.

Lavrov told reporters after the two men met that Russia intends to "respect the choice of the Crimean people" — who will vote Sunday on whether to join the Russian Federation. That was a sign that Russia may indeed move to annex the region if Crimeans indicate that's their wish.

"Crimea's regional legislature on Tuesday adopted a 'declaration of independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea,' " The Associated Press reports. "The document specified that Crimea will become an independent state if its residents vote on Sunday in favor of joining Russia."

That's just one of several developments Tuesday as the crisis in Ukraine continues. Among the other news:

Russia continues to try to wrest control of Crimea from Ukraine and now has an estimated 20,000 troops there, Bloomberg News reports.

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