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BBC World News (November 2013-)  

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Sinan
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23/02/2019 8:09 pm  

November 2013

Historic accord reached with Iran

Iran has agreed to curb some of its nuclear activities in return for about $7bn (£4.3bn) in sanctions relief, after days of intense talks in Geneva.

The deal will last for six months, while a permanent agreement is sought.

US President Barack Obama welcomed the deal, saying it would "help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon". Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran's right to uranium enrichment had been recognised. Israel, however, said the agreement was a "historic mistake". World powers suspect Iran's nuclear programme is secretly aiming at developing a nuclear bomb - a charge Iran has consistently denied.

Iran agreed to halt enrichment to medium-grade (20%) purity, which can be further enriched to weapons-grade level relatively easily, and give better access to UN inspectors. Tehran insists it must be allowed to enrich uranium to use in power stations.

Key points of the deal have been released by the White House:

  • Iran will stop enriching uranium beyond 5%, and "neutralise" its stockpile of uranium enriched beyond this point
  • Iran will give greater access to inspectors including daily access at Natanz and Fordo nuclear sites
  • There will be no further development of the Arak plant which it is believed could produce plutonium
  • In return, there will be no new nuclear-related sanctions for six months if Iran sticks by the accord
  • Iran will also receive sanctions relief worth about $7bn (£4.3bn) on sectors including precious metals

Mr Obama warned that if Iran fail to keep its commitments, "we will turn off the relief and ratchet up the pressure".

Foreign Secretary Sir Harold Saxon released statement saying he was "pleased that today Iran and other world powers have struck an historic agreement to halt the progression of Iran's nuclear programme. " and that "There is still more work to do on reaching a commprehensive agreement." Prime Minister Mary Cambel also released a short statement saying "This is an important step for global cooperation, and the first key step towards a comprehensive agreement for rolling back Iran's nuclear weapons programme permanently. It shows that persistent efforts by cooperative nations yields very real results."

“Stalin: Stop sending people to kill me! We’ve already captured five of them, one with a bomb and another with a rifle… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send another” - Tito


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Sinan
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23/02/2019 10:07 pm  

Ukraine protests after Yanukovych EU deal rejection

Thousands of people have staged fresh protests in Ukraine's capital, Kiev, at President Viktor Yanukovych's refusal to sign an EU association agreement.

Some 10,000 Demonstrators in Independence Square carried Ukrainian and EU flags late on Friday and chanted "Ukraine is Europe".

Mr Yanukovych, who attended an EU summit in Lithuania on Friday cited pressure from Russia for his decision.

EU leaders meeting in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, warned on Friday they would not tolerate Russian interference in the bloc's relations with former Soviet republics. "The times of limited sovereignty are over in Europe," said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso after a summit in Lithuania, at which provisional accords were reached with Georgia and Moldova.

Last week, Mr Yanukovych announced he was suspending preparations for signing an association agreement in Vilnius, which would have opened borders to goods and set the stage for travel restrictions to be eased.

In comments reported on his website on Friday, Mr Yanukovych said he still intended to sign an agreement, but that there were "several crucial steps left to be made". The daughter of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko told the BBC on Friday that the president's reasons for not signing were "false". She said her mother, who has begun a hunger strike against Mr Yanukovych's decision, had been refused access to her lawyer and they were increasingly concerned for her health.

Mr Yanukovych's decision to walk away from the EU deal brought thousands of protesters onto the streets of Kiev and the western city of Lviv on Friday evening.

Several small scuffles between protesters and the 2,000 riot police deployed around the square were reported, but no major clashes, according to the Associated Press.

EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the parties had been "really close" to signing the association agreement in Vilnius, but added: "We need to overcome pressure from abroad".

“Stalin: Stop sending people to kill me! We’ve already captured five of them, one with a bomb and another with a rifle… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send another” - Tito


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Sinan
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26/02/2019 2:10 pm  

Foreign Office Issues Travel Warning as Ukraine Deteriorates

The city of Lviv in western Ukraine has declared independence from "The regime of Yanukovych" in the aftermath of the Ukrainian governments refusal to sign an Association Agreement with the EU. This decision prompted large scale protests against the Yanukovych government, who have refused to buckle under pressure to reshuffle their cabinet despite the parliament threatening to remove him from office.

In the early hours of the morning the city of Lviv, near the border with Poland declared independence from the government, with large scale occupations of government buildings leading to a declaration of the "People's Republic of Lviv". The Ukrainian government has responded by cutting off all transport links to the city including the train which links the city directly with Kiev.

The current fear in Ukraine is that the instability may lead to a civil war, especially with the presence of more extreme elements beginning to appear in protests. Notorious neo-Nazi groups and extreme right-wing parties have begun to make up a larger percentage of the protesters, some allegedly coming with firearms, though there is no confirmation of this.

The Foreign Office issued a travel warning advising against all but essential travel to Ukraine and advising that UK Nationals should not go to populated areas in particular Kiev and Lviv.

“Stalin: Stop sending people to kill me! We’ve already captured five of them, one with a bomb and another with a rifle… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send another” - Tito


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Sinan
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02/03/2019 10:10 pm  

January 2014

Ukraine's President Yanukovych in talks pledge after clashes

Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych has agreed to negotiate with pro-EU protesters and opposition leaders after violent clashes in the capital Kiev. He said a cross-party commission would be set up on Monday to try to resolve the deepening crisis. Opposition leaders confirmed this.

The US and EU called for an end to the violence and urgent political talks.

The Foreign Office released a statement expressing its "Deep concern following the passing of the anti protest law" and called on the concerns of the protesters to be met with "Dialogue and not violence." While calling on Mr Yanukovych to "Enter constructive and inclusive discussions to find a peaceful way forward to this crisis"

The violence broke out as many thousands of protesters held a rally in Kiev's Independence Square, outraged by new laws which they said restricted basic freedoms.

Late on Sunday, President Yanukovych's press office said a "working group" headed by National Security and Defence Secretary Andriy Kluyev would be set up. It said the group - made of members of government and the presidential administration - would meet opposition representatives on Monday to try resolve the crisis.

However, the opposition warned that the talks must produce real results and not be an opportunity for the president to play for time. The opposition is demanding the resignation of the government and snap presidential elections. But opposition leaders are under huge pressure to come up with an action plan, amid criticism from many activists that their campaign has been too passive.

Sunday's rally in Kiev, attended by many thousands, began with calls from opposition politicians to disregard the new laws curbing protests that pro-EU demonstrators have been staging for the past two months. But clashes erupted as a group of demonstrators - reportedly far-right activists - headed away from the main square towards parliament to express their outrage.

Police used water cannon to try to disperse the demonstrators. Interior ministry spokesman Serhiy Burlakov blamed "provocateurs and extremists" for the confrontations and urged people not to follow their lead.

The opposition leaders said they were committed to a peaceful resolution of the crisis, denouncing those activists who took part in clashes.

“Stalin: Stop sending people to kill me! We’ve already captured five of them, one with a bomb and another with a rifle… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send another” - Tito


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Sinan
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11/03/2019 12:08 am  

February 2014

Ukraine's Parliament Contemplates Removing Yanukovych as Crisis Deepens

Ukraine's Parliament is considering a motion to remove embattled President Viktor Yanukovych following the loss of control of several city and town halls across Ukraine to larger protests. The city of Lviv continues to be cut off from the rest of Ukraine as the city remains under the control of pro-EU separatists.

Opposition members in parliament are attempted to facilitate negotiations and Mr Yanukovych is said to be prepared to reshuffle his cabinet to appease the opposition. However some more hard line opposition figures including Vitali Klitschko are demanding his resignation or that the parliament forcibly remove him.

Mr Yanukovych's party, The Party of Regions has suffered defections and resignations, with the mayor of Kiev resigning from the party in a fresh blow.

The death toll is estimated to be 9 since unrest began in December. The governments handling of the crisis has prompted the EU to consider sanctions on Mr Yanukovych and members of his government.

A travel warning continues to exist over the whole of Ukraine for British nationals, with particular advise to avoid heavily populated areas.

“Stalin: Stop sending people to kill me! We’ve already captured five of them, one with a bomb and another with a rifle… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send another” - Tito


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Sinan
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14/03/2019 6:49 pm  

February 2014

Ukrainian MPs vote to oust President Yanukovych

A man holding a European Union flag poses in front of the main building of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych"s residency near Kiev

Ukrainian MPs have voted to oust President Viktor Yanukovych and hold early presidential elections on 25 May. The vote came after police stopped guarding presidential buildings, allowing protesters in, and parliament made new high-level appointments.

Mr Yanukovych said it was a "coup" and vowed not to stand down and on a day of fast-moving events, prominent opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko was released from detention, hours after MPs authorised the move. She was sentenced to seven years in jail in 2011 after a controversial verdict on her actions as prime minister.

On Thursday, the bloodiest day of recent unrest, at least 21 protesters and one policeman died.

The opposition is now in effective control of the capital Kiev, with Mr Yanukovych in Kharkiv, near the Russian border, after travelling there late on Friday night. The Interfax news agency reported parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchynov as saying Mr Yanukovych had been stopped by border police in an attempt to flee to Russia and was now somewhere in the Donetsk region. Earlier on Saturday, protesters walked unchallenged into the president's office and residential compounds.

In his address Mr Yanukovych also called a raft of votes in Ukraine's parliament on Friday "illegitimate", claiming that MPs had been "beaten, pelted with stones and intimidated". However, he did admit that that some had left his Party of the Regions, calling them "traitors". President Yanukovych also said his ally, parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Rybak, was forced to resign because he had been physically beaten.

A Tymoshenko ally, Arsen Avakov, was appointed interim interior minister, replacing Vitaly Zakharchenko - who was sacked on Friday after being blamed for the deaths of civilians in last week's crackdown on protests.

“Stalin: Stop sending people to kill me! We’ve already captured five of them, one with a bomb and another with a rifle… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send another” - Tito


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Sinan
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17/03/2019 11:27 am  

March 2014

Ukraine crisis: 'Illegal' Crimean referendum condemned

Image result for Crimea little green men

The EU and US have joined Ukraine's government in condemning as "illegal" a move by the Crimea region to set up a referendum to endorse joining Russia. The EU, meeting in Brussels, threatened "serious consequences" if Russia did not act to de-escalate the crisis. Crimean MPs earlier set a date of 20 March for a vote on the referendum.

Russian troops took de facto control of Crimea, whose population is mostly ethnic Russian, in the wake of the fall of Ukraine's pro-Moscow president. The Crimean parliament on Thursday said it had decided "to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation". It said it had asked Russian President Vladimir Putin "to start the procedure".

The EU said it was suspending talks with Moscow on easing travel restrictions on Russians entering the EU. It said that if Russia did not move to de-escalate the situation quickly, it would "decide on additional measures, such as travel bans, asset freezes and the cancellation of the EU-Russia summit". The EU statement said that "any further steps by the Russian Federation to destabilise the situation in Ukraine would lead to severe and far-reaching consequences... which will include a broad range of economic areas".

US President Barack Obama said the Crimea referendum would "violate the Ukrainian constitution and international law". He said there was a way to resolve the crisis with Russia through diplomacy but that "if the violation continues, the resolve of the US and its allies will remain firm". Mr Obama praised the "international unity on display at this moment".

Speaking in Dublin, Ukrainian former premier Yulia Tymoshenko made an emotional appeal for greater European integration. She said: "We are building a European nation - we are doing this and nobody can stop us. We owe this to those who died and to those who are living."

The BBC's Chris Morris in Brussels says it may still be difficult for the EU to agree on tougher sanctions. He says that although some states, particularly those close to Russia's border, argue that Europe must take a stand, most member states are desperate to avoid a lengthy economic conflict with Russia.

In a televised address, Ukraine's Interim President Olexander Turchynov denounced the referendum as "illegitimate and unnecessary, it contradicts the will of the Ukrainian people". He cited Article 73 of the Ukrainian constitution which says issues relating to borders must involve a "referendum across the whole of Ukraine". Mr Turchynov said: "Ukraine's territory within the boundaries recognised by the whole world is inviolable and sovereign." But Crimea's First Deputy PM Rustam Temirgaliev said Crimea viewed the new authorities in Kiev as illegitimate and that Crimea was now in Russia.

Pro-Russian gunmen had moved in to seize strategic sites in Crimea after Viktor Yanukovych was ousted as the president of Ukraine following months of protests in Kiev. The demonstrations - by Ukrainians seeking closer ties with the West - turned violent in mid-February with more than 90 people killed in clashes with police.

“Stalin: Stop sending people to kill me! We’ve already captured five of them, one with a bomb and another with a rifle… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send another” - Tito


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Sinan
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18/03/2019 4:20 pm  

Crimea referendum: Voters 'back Russia union'

Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov celebrates as the preliminary results of the referendum are announced on Lenin Square in Simferopol March 16

Some 95.5% of voters in Crimea have supported joining Russia, officials say, after half the votes have been counted in a disputed referendum. Crimea's leader says he will apply to join Russia on Monday. Russia's Vladimir Putin has said he will respect the Crimean people's wishes.Pro-Russian forces took control of Crimea in February. They moved in after Ukraine's pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted after street protests.

Mr Putin and US President Barack Obama spoke over the phone earlier, with the Kremlin and the White House later releasing contrasting accounts of the conversation. The Kremlin said both men agreed to seek a way to stabilise Ukraine, and that Mr Putin had stressed that the Kiev government had failed to curb "rampant violence by ultra-nationalists". The White House said Mr Obama had insisted that the referendum was illegal and would never be accepted, and called for Moscow to support an international monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine. The EU said in a statement that the vote was "illegal and illegitimate and its outcome will not be recognised".

Sergei Aksyonov, Crimea's leader installed last month after the Russian takeover, celebrated the referendum on stage in Simferopol. Backed by the Russian national anthem, Russian flags, and the personnel of Russia's Black Sea fleet, he told supporters that Crimea was "going home".

Refat Chubarov, leader of the Tatars' unofficial parliament, said the referendum was illegal, and held in a hasty manner under the control of Russian troops. "The fate of our motherland cannot be decided in such a referendum under the shadows of the guns of soldiers," he told the BBC.

Away from the Crimea region, unrest continued in the south-east Ukrainian city of Donetsk. Pro-Russian protesters stormed the prosecutor's building shouting "Donetsk is a Russian city", and then broke into the local security services headquarters for the second time in two days.

“Stalin: Stop sending people to kill me! We’ve already captured five of them, one with a bomb and another with a rifle… If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send another” - Tito


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