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WORLD
April 6, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams
MOSCOW - It can take Moscow residents two hours in dense traffic to drive the first 10 miles on the highway to St. Petersburg, in the direction of their country cottages surrounded by lakes and birch groves. Then the road's real limitations become apparent. The potholed two-lane route connecting Russia's two largest cities has never been upgraded into a proper highway. Anyone who cares to drive its entire 440-mile length - mostly truckers - will need at least 12 hours. But 5,600 miles away, the government spent more than $1 billion on less than a mile of bridge connecting Vladivostok with Russky Island, previously inhabited only by a military garrison so isolated that four soldiers starved to death in 1992.
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WORLD
April 2, 2014 | By Henry Chu
LONDON - It was a German-born Russian empress, Catherine the Great, who first annexed Crimea more than two centuries ago. Can another strong-willed German woman - who keeps a portrait of Catherine in her Berlin office as a symbol of visionary leadership - loosen Russia's renewed grip on the peninsula? Many in the West are pinning their hopes on Angela Merkel, Germany's long-serving chancellor, to stand at the forefront of a potent, united response by Europe to Russia's seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.
WORLD
April 1, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams
NATO foreign ministers suspended civilian and military cooperation with Russia on Tuesday and ordered plans for bolstering defenses in Eastern Europe to show the Kremlin that it will protect allies in the region from any further Russian aggression, alliance sources told news agencies in Brussels. In their first meeting since Russia occupied and annexed Ukraine's Crimea territory, the top diplomats from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's 28 member states closed ranks in unanimously voting to increase pressure on Moscow to cease massing troops on Ukraine's border.
WORLD
March 30, 2014 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - The top U.S. and Russian diplomats agreed Sunday to work with Ukrainian officials to ease the crisis triggered by Russia's decision to annex Crimea, but remained far apart on most other key points after four hours of talks in Paris. Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the meeting constructive and said they wanted to continue talks to resolve how the polarized country should be governed. But while Lavrov demanded that the interim government in Kiev rewrite the constitution to allow provinces to exercise broad autonomy, Kerry insisted that any such decisions could only be made by the authorities who ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich one month ago. “In the end, Ukrainians are going to have to make that decision,” Kerry said.
WORLD
March 30, 2014 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - In speeches and remarks last week in Europe, President Obama made it clear that he considers Russia's annexation of Crimea a very big deal. But he also defined what it's not: an overwhelming national security threat, such as the U.S.-Soviet rivalry in the Cold War, that would trump all other foreign policy priorities. In appearances before European Union leaders, Obama called for a sustained effort to isolate Russia to discourage further encroachment on its neighbors, but emphasized that Russia is not the West's top geopolitical challenge.
WORLD
March 28, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey
RIYADH - Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Obama Friday to talk about a “U.S. proposal for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement. Putin called to discuss a proposal put forward by Secretary of State John F. Kerry, the White House said. Kerry presented a plan to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier this week. The statement did not detail the proposal, but said it was being developed with Ukrainian and European partners.
WORLD
March 28, 2014 | By Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- President Obama said Russia should move its troops back from its border with Ukraine and ease tensions by opening direct negotiations with that country's new government. The Russian troops massing near the border are doing so “under the guise of military exercises,” Obama said in a television interview that aired Friday. But those exercises “are not what Russia would normally be doing,” Obama told "CBS Evening News" anchor Scott Pelley. “And, you know, it may simply be an effort to intimidate Ukraine or it may be that they've got additional plans.” If Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to ease the situation, Obama said, Kremlin officials need “to move back those troops and to begin negotiations directly with the Ukrainian government as well as the international community.” The remarks aired as Obama made his way to Saudi Arabia on a mission to smooth relations with the longtime U.S. ally, recently dismayed by Washington's policy in Syria, Iran and Egypt.
WORLD
March 27, 2014 | By Paul Richter, This post has been updated. See the note below for details.
The United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a resolution declaring Crimea's referendum on independence illegal, a move that U.S. and European diplomats hope will help deter Russia from seizing more of Ukraine. The measure, sponsored by the new Ukrainian government and backed by the United States and the European Union, won by a vote of 100 to 11. Fifty-eight nations of the 193-member body abstained. The resolution did not mention Russia by name but pointedly rejected Moscow's position.
WORLD
March 27, 2014 | By Victoria Butenko and Sergei L. Loiko
KIEV, Ukraine -- Yulia V. Tymoshenko, the former prime minister of Ukraine who led her nation's "Orange Revolution," declared her intention to run for the presidency, pledging Thursday to lead her nation out of economic and political turmoil and "return" Crimea to Ukraine sovereignty after its annexation by Russia. “I think I can create a powerful defense system for the country, create a modern and efficient army and make all necessary steps … to rearm our army with the most modern weapons,” Tymoshenko told supporters Thursday.
BUSINESS
March 27, 2014 | David Lazarus
Airlines will never win a prize for sensitivity to customers' problems. They typically won't budge on change fees and ticketing costs. But you'd think that even the most hard-hearted carrier would acknowledge that, all things considered, this isn't the best time for a family trip to Russia. The situation in Ukraine prompted the U.S. State Department to issue a travel advisory March 14 warning Americans about "the possibility of violence or anti-U.S. actions directed against U.S. citizens or U.S. interests.
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