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WORLD
April 20, 2014 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON - The fragile diplomatic accord to resolve the Ukraine crisis frayed Sunday as an armed clash erupted in eastern Ukraine and top Russian and Ukrainian officials, appearing on television talk shows, each demanded the other side lay down its weapons. Russia's ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, said a gunfight early Easter morning that left at least three people dead at a checkpoint outside the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk showed the need for all sides to disarm.
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WORLD
April 19, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams
Amid low expectations, it came as a surprise to Western diplomats when Russia signed off on an agreement calling for armed separatists in eastern Ukraine to lay down their weapons and surrender the public buildings they have been occupying for weeks. What hasn't been surprising in the days since is Russia's apparent unwillingness to ensure that those terms are quickly and cleanly enforced. Russian President Vladimir Putin has two objectives in what the Ukrainian and Western governments say is his thinly disguised backing of the separatists.
WORLD
April 16, 2014 | By Sergei L. Loiko and Carol J. Williams
MOSCOW - Russia's economy has been hit hard by the turmoil in neighboring Ukraine, Kremlin officials said Wednesday, as pro-Russia separatists battled to take over more territory in Ukraine's east - and potentially add to Moscow's economic burden. Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region last month and the instability it created in Russian financial markets were cited by government officials for record capital flight and sharply downgraded growth forecasts for the country. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that instead of projected 2.5% growth this year, Russia's economy might show no growth at all. Russia's economic slide has accelerated since a rebellion in Ukraine ousted President Viktor Yanukovich, a Kremlin ally, in late February.
WORLD
April 16, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams
Russia's economy has been hit hard by the Ukraine crisis, prompting finance officials to cut growth forecasts for this year to near zero and draining the country's hard currency reserves as investors flee an uncertain market, Kremlin officials disclosed Wednesday. In an address to the lower house of parliament, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said $63 billion had been converted from rubles to hard currencies and taken out of the country in the first quarter of this year.
WORLD
April 12, 2014 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State John F. Kerry accused Russia on Saturday of organizing attacks on government offices in eastern Ukraine and warned that there would be new U.S. economic sanctions unless Russia took steps to ease tension. In an afternoon phone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Kerry "expressed strong concerns that attacks today by armed militants in eastern Ukraine were orchestrated and synchronized, similar to previous attack in eastern Ukraine and Crimea," the State Department said.
WORLD
April 12, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams
Russian President Vladimir Putin has massed tens of thousands of troops along Ukraine's eastern border, a reminder of his vow to protect ethnic Russians in the neighboring country. Using his army, however, is probably Plan B. Rather than repeating the "Crimean scenario" - invading, seizing and annexing territory - the Kremlin would prefer to keep Ukraine weak and divided by forcing a change in how it is governed, analysts say. Increasing regional autonomy at the expense of the central government would force Ukrainian authorities to constantly balance competing visions of the country to hold it together, and in effect give Moscow veto power through its influence among ethnic Russians in the east.
WORLD
April 11, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams
The Russian government has cut off broadcasts of Voice of America after a leading state media figure denounced the U.S. government-funded radio as "spam on our frequencies. " VOA's contract with the Russian media oversight agency wasn't renewed after it expired at the end of March because the Kremlin could no longer tolerate "its subversive, sanctimonious, self-serving propaganda," the Voice of Russia said in its account of the cutoff. The internal silencing of the broadcasts that beamed news and cultural programs into the Soviet Union during the Cold War represented the latest attempt by the Kremlin to eliminate media providing an alternative to those whose content and editors are controlled by the Russian government.
WORLD
April 8, 2014 | By Sergei L. Loiko
MOSCOW - Heavily armed separatists held Ukrainian government buildings and hostages Tuesday as tensions increased sharply and threatened to push a dispute over treatment of the country's ethnic Russians into bloodshed. Ukrainian government officials said pro-Russia separatists had rigged explosives in a building in Luhansk and were holding hostages inside. Officials dispatched a deputy prime minister to another city, Donetsk, to try to negotiate a peaceful solution to the takeover of an administration building in that mining city.
WORLD
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.
WORLD
March 30, 2014 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - The top U.S. and Russian diplomats agreed Sunday to work with Ukrainian government officials to ease the crisis triggered by Russia's annexation of Crimea, but remained far apart on other key points after four hours of negotiations in Paris. Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the meeting constructive. Lavrov's remarks suggested that Moscow may now be more willing to work with the interim Ukrainian government, which it has previously dismissed as illegitimate.
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