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March 14, 2014 | By David Wharton
The Russian coach did not want to talk about troops on the Crimean peninsula or any other aspect of his country's conflict with Ukraine. Speaking through an interpreter, Christakis Alexandridis preferred to focus on his wrestlers and their chances in an international championship at the Forum this weekend. “Our politics is wrestling,” he said. But current events cannot help but intrude on the 42nd FILA Freestyle World Cup, not with a Saturday schedule featuring two politically charged matches.
March 14, 2014 | By Henry Chu and Sergei L. Loiko
LONDON - The top U.S. and Russian diplomats tried but failed Friday to avert escalation of the conflict over the Crimean peninsula, leaving Moscow and Washington badly divided over the legality and consequences of a Sunday referendum on whether Crimea should secede from Ukraine. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Western nations would not recognize the vote and that if the vote goes forward they would swiftly begin imposing sanctions on Moscow, whose proxies in Ukraine are driving the secession bid. He also warned that any move by the Russian government or lawmakers to ratify the outcome of the referendum, almost certain to endorse secession, would amount to an illegal "backdoor annexation" of Crimea.
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.
March 12, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams
The leaders of Germany and Poland warned Russia on Wednesday that it has until Monday to agree to work with an international "contact group" to resolve the crisis in Ukraine's Crimea region or face immediate sanctions. At a meeting in Warsaw, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and German Chancellor Angela Merkel put the Kremlin on notice that what are seen as its provocative moves aimed at annexing Crimea -- despite Moscow's disavowal -- threatened to dramatically escalate tensions throughout Europe.
March 12, 2014 | By Christi Parsons and David S. Cloud
WASHINGTON - President Obama assured acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk on Wednesday that Russia would suffer significant consequences if it stayed on its military path toward Ukraine, a threat the Pentagon bolstered by acknowledging plans to fortify the U.S. military presence in the region. Speaking in the Oval Office on Wednesday with Yatsenyuk at his side, Obama vowed that the U.S. and other countries would be "forced to apply a cost" to Russia if President Vladimir Putin didn't loosen his grip on Ukraine's Crimea region.
March 12, 2014 | By Henry Chu
KIEV, Ukraine - For all its moral outrage and vows never to be partitioned, this country has become almost a bystander to the struggle over its future. With Russian forces looming over a disputed vote on secession in Crimea, it's increasingly clear that what happens to Ukraine will be decided not here in its capital, Kiev, but in Moscow, Washington and Brussels, the real power brokers in Europe's worst geopolitical crisis this century. By itself, Ukraine lacks the political, economic and military clout to take on its giant neighbor to the east.
March 11, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON -- The House overwhelmingly agreed Tuesday to condemn Russian military action in Ukraine, a vote that provided more symbolism than substance as Congress continues to wrestle over its response to the crisis in Crimea. The resolution won bipartisan backing on the eve of Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk's visit to the capital, where he is expected to meet with House and Senate leaders Wednesday, and hold talks with President Obama at the White House. Yet Congress has struggled to provide a more substantive package of $1 billion in loan guarantees for the new Ukrainian government, or slap additional sanctions on Russia beyond those imposed last week by the White House.
March 11, 2014 | By Sergei L. Loiko and Carol J. Williams
MOSCOW - Ukraine's Crimea region would become an independent country if voters approve secession in a hastily organized referendum Sunday, the Russian-controlled regional parliament declared Tuesday in a shift away from plans for immediate annexation to Russia. The change appeared to mark a change in strategy by Moscow to shield itself from accusations that it has orchestrated an illegal seizure of another country's territory. European Union and U.S. officials have threatened trade and travel sanctions against Russia if it persists in encouraging the predominantly ethnic Russian-populated Crimean peninsula to vote for cleaving itself from Ukraine.
March 11, 2014 | By Sergei L. Loiko
MOSCOW -- Ukraine is on the verge of civil war, warned ousted President Viktor Yanukovich, who reemerged in the Russian southern city of Rostov-on-the-Don to make a statement more than a week after his first news conference in Russia. His statement came as Moscow reportedly reinforced its forces in the Ukrainian region of Crimea and held new military exercises. In Crimea, the regional parliament declared independence ahead of a referendum planned for Sunday, when the peninsula's voters are to decide whether they want to join Russia.
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