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U.S.: Russia’s ‘actions, incredibly, are heading towards escalation of the crisis’

July 23rd, 2014
03:21 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Far from the moderating role Russian President Putin says he is seeking, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine on Wednesday said that Russia is “escalating the military confrontation.”

“The fact is, we have worked through every diplomatic channel available to us. We have exercised economic leverage,” Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said.

“But so far, and sadly – although there have been occasional positive statement from Moscow – the actions are going in the wrong direction at this point. The actions, incredibly, are heading towards escalation of the crisis.”

The Netherlands on Wednesday paid solemn respects to the first of the victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 to be flown to Holland.

In Ukraine, where so many of the victims remain – some not even yet found – the conflict rages on. Two Ukrainian military jets were shot down in areas controlled by pro-Russian rebels, the Ukrainian government says.

“It’s simply incredible, but it’s an established fact that even after the shootdown of the Malaysian Airlines flight you still have heavy weapons, tanks, rocket systems moving across the border from Russia, enflaming the conflict, escalating the military confrontation, at a time when President Poroshenko has made very clear his desire to find a political solution,” Ambassador Pyatt said.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine

Russia: It’s decision time ‘for everybody’

July 22nd, 2014
03:05 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The downing of MH17 was indeed a "game-changer" as many Western leaders have called it, Vladimir Chizhov, Russian ambassador to the EU, told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

"I agree it's a game-changer," he said. "It should serve as a wake-up call for everybody to stop instigating violence, stop supporting the Ukrainian government in its military campaign against civilians."

In the past 24 hours, Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken tentative steps to quell the mounting public outrage over the botched recovery and investigation of the MH17 crash site in eastern Ukraine.

Nonetheless, Putin has said that in fact Ukraine is at least indirectly to blame for the downing of the civilian airplane, because, he alleges, of its continuing offensive against pro-Russian separatists.

"I think it's a time of decision for everybody, including those Western countries that have been supporting Ukraine," Chizhov said.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko: The world must choose sides

July 21st, 2014
03:10 PM ET

In the wake of the attack on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, "every country, including Russia," must determine whether it is "together with the terrorists or together with the civilized world," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Monday.

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Poroshenko said, "Every country and every person, and every leader should find out their own place."

"We know exactly" where a missile was shot that hit the plane Thursday, killing all 298 people aboard, and where the flight crashed, he said. "And all this territory is firmly controlled by Russian-supported terrorists."


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine

Why did reporter quit Russian TV station?

July 18th, 2014
04:02 PM ET

Why did reporter Sara Firth quit her job on Friday at RT (Russia Today)?

“The truth is the truth,” she tells CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “And facts are facts. And they exist. And I wish that RT would acknowledge that sometimes.”

Click above to watch.

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine

Ukraine blames Russia for ‘continuous inflow of weapons and heavy weaponry’

July 16th, 2014
03:21 PM ET

Click here to watch Amanpour's full interview with Klimkin.

By Mick Krever, CNN

As conflict intensifies in Eastern Ukraine, that country’s foreign minister on Wednesday accused Russia of massive interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs.

“We have continuous and intentional destabilization of Donetsk and Luhansk,” Pavlo Klimkin told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

“They keep saying their influence is limited, but it’s also about continuous inflow of weapons and heavy weaponry from Russia.”

“We have inflow of weapons, of mercenaries, of heavy weaponry – tanks, everything.”

“And as you know, you can probably buy Kalashnikov in a kind of shop on the black market, but you can’t buy tanks or you can’t buy anti-air missiles there.”

Just three weeks ago, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared a unilateral cease-fire and he told Amanpour that he believed peace was possible in a matter of weeks or months.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine

NATO Commander: Bergdahl hasn’t been debriefed yet

June 6th, 2014
02:53 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, whose release from five years in Taliban captivity has been mired in controversy, is not “actually being debriefed yet,” NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, General Philip Breedlove, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Friday.

“What we're concentrating on right now is his health. He has been in a very tough place for a long time. Landstuhl Medical Center [in Germany] is the perfect place for this. It is the best place in the world to do it. That's what we're focussed on right now."

Breedlove and Amanpour spoke in Normandy, France, where world leaders marked 70 years since the Allied D-Day invasion during World War II.

Bergdahl’s release has become a political football in the United States since it was announced last week.

Critics believe he was a deserter (an Army investigation found that he walked off his Afghan base voluntarily) and say he was not worth the five Taliban members who were released from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for his freedom.

“The Army has given all of our forces a great culture, and that culture is no soldier left behind,” General Breedlove said. “So no soldier, no sailor, airman, nor marine we leave behind.”


Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine

Dramatist fighting for freedom in Belarus

June 6th, 2014
06:02 AM ET

“We have a joke,” Natalia Kaliada, co-founder of the Belarus Free Theatre, tells Christiane Amanpour.

“The head of electoral committee [comes] to [President Alexander] Lukashenko and [says] that, ‘We have bad news and good news.”

“And he said, ‘Start from good news.’”

“‘You are the president again.’”

“‘So what bad news?’”

“‘Nobody voted for you.’”

Belarus is considered the last dictatorship in Europe. Lukashenko has ruled with an iron fist there for 20-years, stamping out any dissent.

Kaliada unsurprisingly is an outspoken critic of Lukashenko, through theatre, and that has forced her into exile.

“When KGB arrived they said we will not allow you to organize a second Maidan – freedom square in Ukraine.”

Click above to watch Amanpour’s full conversation with Kaliada.

Filed under:  Belarus • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia

U.S., Europe may have prevented invasion of Ukraine, Polish foreign minister says

June 2nd, 2014
03:28 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

American and European action “has possibly prevented a full-scale invasion of Ukraine,” Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

“America provided leadership on Ukraine,” Sikorski said, countering the common narrative that the West stood weakly in the face of Russian aggression.

U.S. President Barack Obama is headed to Europe this week on a trip that will end by commemorating the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy. His first step, however, will be Poland, which played a key role in the Ukraine crisis.

“We are always glad to see President Obama in Europe,” Sikorski said.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Poland • Russia • Ukraine

Donetsk governor: Must stabilize situation

May 29th, 2014
04:37 PM ET

At least 14 people, including a general, were killed Thursday when a Ukrainian military helicopter was shot down by "terrorists" near Slovyansk, according to the country's acting president. This is a major blow to the Ukrainian military which on Monday toughened its approach to pro-Russia separatists in the country's east.

On tonight's program Hala Gorani, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour, spoke to Serhiy Taruta, the Kiev-appointed governor of Donetsk. Taruta told Gorani about ongoing negotiations with the rebels and how he hopes to bring calm to the region.

Click above to watch the full interview.

Filed under:  From the Show • Russia • Ukraine

With 40+ dead, Ukrainian and Russian officials trade barbs

May 27th, 2014
03:54 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

On a day when at least 40 people were killed in eastern Ukraine, a Russian and Ukrainian official traded accusations in separate interviews with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

“What we keep asking and demanding from Russia: ‘Stop feeding terrorism and separatism in Ukraine,’” Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.N. Yuriy Sergeyev told Amanpour.

Those separatists, Russian Senator Andrey Klimov also told Amanpour, “are not under Moscow’s control.”

“They are not members of my army or our special forces but they are citizens of that country,” he said. “The problem is not in Moscow. The problem is inside [the] Ukrainian state and their society.”


Russia: 'The problem is inside Ukraine'

CNN's Christiane Amanpour speaks with Russian Senator Andrey Klimov about unrest in eastern Ukraine.

A battle between pro-Russia separatists and government forces at Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine has claimed 40 lives, authorities said Tuesday, in the deadliest outbreak of violence yet in the flashpoint city.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine
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