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March 21, 2014 | By Sergei L. Loiko, This post has been updated.
MOSCOW -- Russian leader Vladimir Putin completed his nation's annexation of Crimea on Friday, signing legislation to make the Ukrainian breakaway peninsula part of Russia. Putin appeared to be in high spirits chairing Russia's Security Council session in the Kremlin to the extent that he was making jokes at the sanctions imposed by the West in reaction to the recent Russian armed  seizure of Crimea. He added that Russia would refrain for now from further tit-for-tat sanctions.
April 26, 2014 | By Sergei L. Loiko, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
SLOVYANSK, Ukraine -- Pro-Russia gunmen refused Saturday to release a group of European observers and accompanying Ukrainian army officers seized a day earlier in this eastern Ukrainian town, the epicenter of the pro-Moscow rebellion. “These guys are not hostages, but they are our POWs and we intend to keep them in custody,” Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, a local separatist leader and self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk, said in an interview with The Times. “They are NATO officers and spies who infiltrated our territory illegally, without our permission.” The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe inspectors -- from Germany, Poland, Denmark, Czech Republic and Sweden -- “represent the countries which supply the illegitimate government in Kiev with arms and money,” Ponomaryov added.
February 26, 2014 | By Sergei L. Loiko
KIEV, Ukraine --Clashes in Ukraine on Wednesday between demonstrators supporting Russian involvement in the Crimea region and those opposed left one person dead of an apparent heart attack and many others injured, officials said. The violence in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea in southern Ukraine, came as thousands of members of the Tatar ethnic minority rallying in support of Ukraine's interim government clashed with demonstrators who favor Russian influence on the area. The opposing sides gathered outside the parliament building in Simferopol.
April 25, 2014
Re “Biden in Ukraine in show of support,” April 22 For a nation that espouses democracy, the U.S. is showing its dictatorial side in Ukraine. We have no more business being involved in Ukraine than I do in the marital affairs of the couple down the street. We decry Russia putting troops on its border with Ukraine, but we then put our troops in Poland and ships in the Black Sea on its border. At least the Russians are in their own domain; we are not. Phil Wilt Van Nuys As the Russians consolidate their hold on Crimea and begin their move into the rest of Ukraine, as the Iranians move toward a nuclear weapon capability that will change the balance of power in the Middle East, and as the Chinese expand their territorial claims into the waters of their neighbors, President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John F. Kerry threaten “consequences” and try to engage each of them in negotiations that inevitably will lead nowhere.
March 12, 2014 | By Christi Parsons, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
WASHINGTON -- President Obama is scheduled to host the new Ukrainian prime minister at the White House on Wednesday as the U.S. and allies prepare for a coming referendum on whether the Crimea region of the European nation should become independent. White House advisors say Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk's Oval Office visit is meant to send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the U.S. supports the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian government. It comes as leaders of the Group of 7 nations called Wednesday on Russia to drop its efforts to change the status of Crimea.
March 31, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday paid the highest-level Kremlin visit to Crimea since the territory was seized from Ukraine last month, and promised lavish investment and aid for the newly annexed region's 2 million residents. Medvedev led a Russian government delegation to Crimea's capital, Simferopol, and convened a Cabinet meeting at which the Russian officials proclaimed the region a special economic zone entitled to tax breaks and other incentives for investors.
March 13, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that his country wasn't responsible for the turmoil in Crimea, describing Sunday's vote on whether the strategic peninsula should secede from Ukraine as a crisis of a purely "domestic nature. " Western nations nonetheless stepped up the pressure on Putin to defuse the explosive conflict or face punishing economic sanctions. The most serious note of caution, though, came from the Russian stock market, where share values fell Thursday to their lowest level in nearly four years and the ruble continued its nosedive against the dollar and euro.
April 7, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams
Russian President Vladimir Putin's unimpeded success in annexing Crimea has inspired Russian nationalists in eastern Ukraine to seize territory and sown fear region-wide that such provocations will spur Moscow to intervene on behalf of ethnic Russians. The occupation of government buildings in the Ukrainian cities of Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkiv on Sunday mirrors what happened in Crimea, where Russian forces barricaded themselves in local authorities' offices and demanded a referendum on whether to the peninsula should secede and join Russia.
March 24, 2014 | Eugene Kontorovich, Eugene Kontorovich is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law, specializing in international and constitutional law
It has become a truism in discussions of Russia's takeover of Crimea that in the post-World War II international order, countries no longer rewrite borders through force -- or if they do, rarely find themselves faced with determined opposition from other states. As Secretary of State John F. Kerry put it, the Crimea campaign is a "19th century act. " Such statements ignore major pieces of inconvenient history. Though it is too early to say much about the 21st century, the late 20th century saw countries gobble up foreign territory.
March 26, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey
BRUSSELS - The crisis over Crimea has not restarted the Cold War but has revived a "contest of ideas" between belief in powerful leaders and in democratic ideals, President Obama declared Wednesday as he laid out his case for firm opposition to Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula. Speaking in this European capital as two decades of diplomacy on the continent unraveled, Obama cast the crisis as a fight between "the old way of doing things" and "a young century. " Obama dismissed as "absurd" Russian President Vladimir Putin's justifications for annexing Crimea and sought to gird Europe for a drawn-out dispute.
April 25, 2014 | By David Horsey
Besides sending a chill up the spine of the international community, Vladimir Putin has accomplished one other thing by seizing Crimea and threatening the rest of Ukraine: Putin has brought back the bear.  Like Uncle Sam, the Republican elephant and the Democratic donkey, the Russian bear was a stock character in decades of political cartoons drawn by pretty much every caricaturist in the business, including me. The dissertation I wrote for my...
April 24, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams
The vast majority of Ukrainian voters oppose Russian military intervention in their country, even in the east and south where large Russian minorities live, a U.S.-funded poll by a Gallup affiliate showed Thursday. The April 3-12 survey of 1,200 randomly selected Ukrainians of voting age by Baltic Surveys/The Gallup Organization found a nationwide average of 85% against any Russian military intervention, the International Republican Institute said in a summary of the poll paid for by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
April 24, 2014 | By Olga Grigoryants, guest blogger
After pro-Russia forces entered Crimea this year, many of my American friends were aghast and worried that the situation might escalate. But in Russia, where I grew up, it's an alternate universe.  My friends and family are outraged at those who oppose the intrusion. Instead of being appalled by the violence threatening Ukraine's sovereignty, they are irate about Western critiques of President Vladimir Putin and his policies. Every time I post something supporting Ukraine on Facebook, such as a recent article about members of pro-Russia forces attacking opposition leaders in Crimea, my Russian friends lash out, calling me brainwashed.
April 24, 2014 | By Sergei L. Loiko and Carol J. Williams
SLOVYANSK, Ukraine -- Ukrainian government troops killed at least two pro-Russia separatist gunmen in Slovyansk on Thursday and drove away others occupying key public buildings in the city of Mariupol in an operation the Kremlin condemned as the Kiev government attacking "its own people. " Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the actions in eastern Ukraine and the deployment of NATO forces in member states bordering Russia to the west had "forced" the Kremlin to order more military drills of its troops amassed on Ukraine's border.
April 24, 2014 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - As President Obama warned of possible new U.S. sanctions against Russia, a senior Ukrainian official Thursday urged the West to move immediately to impose penalties against entire sectors of the Russian economy. Danylo Lubkivsky, Ukraine's deputy foreign minister, said the United States and Europe need to move beyond sanctions on individuals to the more far-reaching “sectoral” sanctions because Russia “has already crossed the red line.” With Russia sending more troops to its region bordering Ukraine, “we have to do it right now,” he said in an appearance at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.
April 23, 2014 | By Sergei L. Loiko and Carol J. Williams
DONETSK, Ukraine - Ukrainian government troops on Wednesday claimed to have swept out pro-Russia gunmen from a town in embattled eastern Ukraine, an operation the Kremlin warned could spark retaliation. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry statement that Svyatogorsk was under government control was dismissed as "a propaganda lie" by a leader of insurgents holding nearby Slovyansk, scene of the most violent and destabilizing clashes of the separatist movement that has been gaining momentum since Russia's annexation of Crimea last month.
March 15, 2014 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - Russia stood alone Saturday in vetoing a United Nations Security Council resolution declaring illegal a Russian-sponsored referendum on whether Crimea should secede from Ukraine. In an illustration of Russia's isolation on the issue, 13 council members voted for the U.S.-sponsored resolution at the session in New York. China, which almost always allies itself with Russia on council votes, abstained. It has been clear for days that the resolution would be vetoed. But U.S. officials and allies pushed ahead with it to put Moscow in a difficult spot in hopes of convincing it not to annex Crimea following the Sunday referendum.
March 2, 2014 | By Paul Richter, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
WASHINGTON -- Obama administration officials on Sunday accused Moscow of reinforcing an estimated 6,000 ground and naval forces in Crimea with additional troops as they announced that Secretary of State John F. Kerry will fly to Kiev on Tuesday to offer a show of U.S. support for the beleaguered Ukrainian government. In a conference call with reporters, senior Obama administration officials said the Russian military was “settling in” and strengthening its hold on Crimea, a peninsula in southern Ukraine with a heavily ethnic Russian population.
April 23, 2014 | By Jaak Treiman, Juris Bunkis and Daiva Navarrette
After Russia's recent actions in Ukraine, it's no surprise that other countries bordering Russia are wondering where they stand on Vladimir Putin's shopping list. That they are on the list is a given. Article 61 of Russia's Constitution promises that "the Russian Federation shall guarantee its citizens defense and patronage beyond its boundaries. " In other words, Russia shall protect any Russian citizen who is mistreated while outside Russia. On its face, Article 61 may seem reasonable.
April 22, 2014 | By Sergei L. Loiko, This post has been updated. See the note below for details.
KIEV, Ukraine -- The United States will stand by Ukrainians against Russian aggression that threatens their nation's sovereignty and territorial integrity, Vice President Joe Biden pledged Tuesday during a visit to Kiev. “No nation has the right to simply grab land from another nation, and we will never recognize Russia's illegal occupation of Crimea, and neither will the world,” Biden said after meeting with Ukraine's acting prime minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk. “No nation should threaten its neighbors by amassing troops along the border.
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