Britain: Possible New Measures Against Russia Over Ukraine

23 February, 2015

British Prime Minister David Cameron says Russia's actions in Ukraine are "illegal." Mr. Cameron made the comment in parliament on Monday. He accused Russia of enabling pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to violate ceasefire agreements. He warned of possible new measures against Russia if the rebels attempt to expand their territorial control.

Also, the Ukrainian military said it cannot begin withdrawing heavy weapons from the country's east because the rebels continue to carry out attacks. Military officials said there can be no talk of withdrawing weapons as long as the attacks continue.

On Sunday, both sides agreed to withdraw their heavy weapons from the battle area. The withdrawal is required under a truce that came into effect more than a week ago.

Britain: Possible New Measures Against Russia Over Ukraine
Pro-Russia separatists walk after inspecting a destroyed Ukrainian army tanks for weapons near Debaltseve, Feb. 22, 2015.

U.S. and Iran continue nuclear talks

The United States and Iran say they made "some progress" Monday in their talks about Iran's nuclear program. But the two sides say they are still far from reaching an agreement.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met for a second day of talks in Geneva, Switzerland. Both sides described the negotiations as "serious, useful and constructive." But Mr. Zarif told Iran's Fars news agency that "There is a long way to reach a final agreement."

The two sides hope to reach general agreement on a nuclear treaty by March 31, with July 1 as the time limit for a permanent deal.

More negotiations are set for next Monday in Switzerland.

The United States and five other countries are seeking to end the possibility that Iran could develop a nuclear weapon. The Iranian government has repeatedly said its nuclear program is for civilian purposes.

France bars citizens from traveling to Syria

French officials say they have blocked six citizens from leaving the country and going to Syria. Officials say the six were stopped under a new anti-terrorism law designed to restrict the flow of foreign fighters to militant groups overseas.

Under the law, the citizens' passports and identification cards will be held for six months. The French government has the right to extend the order to keep the documents longer.

French officials believe hundreds of citizens are fighting with the Islamic State and other militant groups in Syria.

Also on Monday, France's top warship, the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, officially joined the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group in Iraq.

Greek officials to provide economic reform details after time limit passes

A time limit for Greece to give economic reform proposals to its European creditors passed on Monday. But Greek officials said they would work out details of the proposals Tuesday morning as part of a deal to extend the country's financial rescue plan for four months.

Last week, European finance ministers gave Greece until Monday to present proposals that would persuade the creditors to approve the four-month extension. Nineteen European finance ministers are planning to consider the Greek plan on Tuesday.

The proposals are aimed at helping the country's economy and cutting government spending. In exchange, more than $270 billion dollars in loans would be extended. The loans are currently set to end this week.

*This report was based on material from VOA's News Division. George Grow wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Jim Tedder was the editor.


Words in This Story

illegal - adj., not legal; in violation of a law

ceasefiren., a halt in fighting, usually by agreement; a truce

progress - n., movement forward or toward improvement or a goal

passport(s) - n., an official government document that shows a person's identify and citizenship and permits a citizen to travel to another country