Poroshenko top Ukraine presidential contender, leading polling firms report

Maidan Square file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Concorde Capital – March 27, 2014) Confectionary magnate Petro Poroshenko has pulled significantly ahead of his competitors as the leading presidential candidate for the May 25 vote, according to a poll released on March 26 that was conducted by Ukraine’s leading polling agencies: the Razumkov Center, Sotsis, KMIS and the Reytynh agency. Almost 25 […]

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BNE: Without “Nominal Relations” with Russia, Ukraine is Doomed

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – March 26, 2014) One of the more sober accounts of Ukraine’s plight by Peter Boone and Simon Johnson (a former Chief Economist at the IMF). Their key conclusion:: Without normal relations to Russia, the outlook for the country looks dire. “Russia controls many of the levers for Ukraine’s success. It is Ukraine’s largest trading […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: New Assertiveness Signals a Fresh Foreign Policy Era for Russia

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Gevorg Mirzayan, special to RBTH  – March 26, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s address to both houses of Russia’s parliament last week signaled that Russia has had enough of what it perceives as Western double standards. The speech, alongside events in Crimea, herald the birth of a tougher approach to foreign policy. On Tuesday, […]

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RIA Novosti: Ukraine on Brink of Economic Bankruptcy – Acting PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Arseniy Yatsenyuk file photo

KIEV, March 27 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine is facing default if the country’s parliament fails to approve unpopular anti-crisis measures proposed by the government, Ukraine’s interim prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Thursday. “These decisions need to be approved, otherwise Ukraine will become bankrupt,” Yatsenyuk said in his address to the parliament on the economy which has slowed because of the […]

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Cooperation Between Russia, Ukraine On Atomic Energy Continues – Rosatom

Chernobyl File Photo

MOSCOW, March 27 (RIA Novosti) – Fuel deliveries to atomic stations in Ukraine are continuing with no interruptions, the head of Rosatom said on Thursday. “Today is probably not the simplest time in cooperation between Russia and Ukraine, but there has been no interruption in fuel deliveries to Ukraine’s atomic stations,” company head Sergei Kirienko said, adding: “We always fulfill […]

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Putin Draws His Own ‘Red Lines’ across Post-Soviet Space

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Seated at Desk

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, March 27, 2014) The Western powers have long talked about “red lines” in Syria and elsewhere, actions or events that they say have suggested underscore their concern and indicate where they will act. Now, Russian President Vladimir Putin has done the same, and his “red lines” underscore that his moves in Ukraine […]

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TRANSCRIPT: 2007 Putin Speech and the Following Discussion at the Munich Conference on Security Policy

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Valdai Club 2013 Meeting, Adapted from Screenshot of Valdai Club Video at youtube.com

(Kremlin.ru – March 10, 2007) Munich VLADIMIR PUTIN: Thank you very much dear Madam Federal Chancellor, Mr Teltschik, ladies and gentlemen! I am truly grateful to be invited to such a representative conference that has assembled politicians, military officials, entrepreneurs and experts from more than 40 nations. This conference’s structure allows me to avoid excessive politeness and the need to […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: Johnson’s Russia List contents with links :: 2014-#67 :: Wednesday, 26 March 2014

St. Basil's file photo

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: 2014-#67 :: 26 March 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support […]

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TEXT: Joint Statement by the United States and Ukraine

File Photo of Russian Nuclear Missile on Mobile Launcher Near Woods

(The White House – Office of the Press Secretary – For Immediate Release – March 25, 2014) On the occasion of the third Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, the United States and Ukraine today reaffirm their strategic partnership and emphasize the important role of nuclear nonproliferation in that relationship.  The United States values its 20-year partnership with Ukraine on […]

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Ukrainian Troops In Crimea Face ‘Stay Or Go’ Dilemma

Russian Naval Vessel in Ukrainian Port

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Iryna Shtogrin and Ron Synovitz – SEVASTOPOL, Crimea, March 25, 2014) Olha’s husband was a Ukrainian military specialist at the Belbek base near Sevastopol, Ukraine’s main air base in Crimea, until it was stormed by Russian troops on March 22. Now Crimea’s crisis is forcing the couple to choose the least bad option for their future. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Press Conference with President Obama and Prime Minister Rutte of the Netherlands [excerpts re Russia]

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(The White House – Office of the Press Secretary – For Immediate Release – March 25, 2014) Gemeentemuseum Den Haag The Hague, The Netherlands Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  You’ve been criticized during this dispute with Russia as not understanding President Putin’s motivations.  As recently as last month, you and others in your administration said you thought Putin was reflecting […]

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Interfax: Despite sanctions, Russia continuing to share intelligence on drug trafficking with U.S. – official

Russian Drug Den File Photo

MOSCOW. March 26 (Interfax) – Despite the U.S. sanctions against Russia, the two countries are continuing to share intelligence concerning drug trafficking, says Russian Federal Drug Control Service chief Viktor Ivanov. “Exchange of information is under way,” Ivanov said in an interview with Interfax. Ivanov is among the Russians against whom the U.S. recently imposed sanctions because of the situation […]

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Interfax: Most Russians were impressed by Putin’s speech on joining Crimea – poll

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW. March 26 (Interfax) – An overwhelming majority of Russians (87%) know that Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an address on the joining of Crimea to Russia on March 18, and 66% of them said they were impressed by it, shows a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation. The poll, which surveys 1,500 respondents living in 43 regions of […]

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The Hague Declaration

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

(The White House – Office of the Press Secretary – For Immediate Release – March 24, 2014) 1. We, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission met in The Hague to reaffirm our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and […]

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From Estonia to Azerbaijan: American Strategy After Ukraine

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(Stratfor.com – Geopolitical Weekly – George Friedman – Tuesday, March 25, 2014 – 03:08) As I discussed last week, the fundamental problem that Ukraine poses for Russia, beyond a long-term geographical threat, is a crisis in internal legitimacy. Russian President Vladimir Putin has spent his time in power rebuilding the authority of the Russian state within Russia and the authority of […]

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Putin Tasks Trusted Lieutenant With Economic Development Of Crimea

Russian Naval Vessel in Ukrainian Port

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – March 24, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin named Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, his long-time trusted lieutenant and trouble-shooter, on March 21 to oversee the economic development of the Re public of Crimea. Crimea and the city of Sevastopol were formally incorporated into the Russian Federation as individual federation subjects on March 17. Putin then designated […]

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Russian official admits Crimean economy depends on links with Ukraine

Maidan Square file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, March 24, 2014) The potential of the Crimean economy will depend to a large extent on the development of its economic ties with Ukraine, Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Andrey Klepach told a briefing in Moscow on Monday. Asked what contribution the Crimean economy would make to the Russian economy, the deputy minister said that “it […]

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Right Sector coordinator Muzychko killed in shootout with police – Interior Ministry

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Interfax – March 25, 2014) Oleksandr Muzychko, also known as Sashko Biliy, a member of an organized criminal group earlier placed on a wanted list, was gravely injured during his detention because he opened fire on law enforcement officers. “While he was being detained, he was still alive and the ambulance, which was called, pronounced him dead,” Ukrainian First Deputy […]

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Why Putin Should Thank Obama

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(jackmatlock.com – Jack Matlock – March 23, 2014) Jack Matlock is a career diplomat who served on the front lines of American diplomacy during the Cold War and was U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union when the Cold War ended. Igor Oleynik, CEO of International Business Publications in Washington, DC, has sent me a spoof letter from Putin to Obama. […]

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Russia: position of Ukrainian politicians creates serious threat to NPT

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

MOSCOW. March 25 (Interfax) – Russia has rejected the claims of a Ukrainian delegate to the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague that Russia is allegedly threatening the security of nuclear sites in Ukraine. “This is a pure and simple attempt to shift the blame,” the Russian delegation said in a statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday. […]

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BNE: No one can kick Russia out of G8

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – March 25, 2014) “I would never want to be member of a club that wanted me as a member,” Marco Grouch famously said. Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov came out with pretty much the same defence after Russia was suspended from participating in the G8 meetings and international leaders due in Russia for the […]

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The challenges for Ukraine’s presidential election

Maidan Square file photo

(opendemocracy.net – Janek Lasocki – March 24, 2014) Janek Lasocki is Advocacy Coordinator at the European Council on Foreign Relations. On Sunday 25 May, President Putin permitting, 36.5 million voters will go to the polls in Ukraine to vote for a successor to President Viktor Yanukovych, ousted after three months of protests, and over 100 dead The problems of holding […]

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Russian Foreign Ministry plans to complete White Paper on Ukraine soon

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

(Interfax – March 25, 2014) The work on White Paper on events in Ukraine will be completed very soon, Russian Foreign Ministry Human Rights Ombudsman Konstantin Dolgov said. “Such a White Paper will appear very soon,” Dolgov told Interfax. At the same time, Dolgov said he could not specify the timeline of its release because “the work on the paper […]

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Russian Cabinet Outlines Costs of Crimea

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anatoly Medetsky – March 25, 2014) The costly consequences of expanding Russia’s territory became clearer Monday when Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev revealed a Crimea to-do list for the government and its corporations. Russia will need to take care of entitlements and services ranging from retirement pensions to tax rebates to electricity supply in a peninsula […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: Johnson’s Russia List contents with links :: 2014-#65 :: Monday, 24 March 2014

St. Basil's file photo

[check back for updates, including more links; links also posted to facebook and twitter] Johnson’s Russia List :: 2014-#65 :: 24 March 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support […]

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Russia-Ukraine: Return of the Prometheans

Russian Naval Vessel in Ukrainian Port

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer, Macro Advisors – March 24, 2014) “Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear the most” Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment The threat is more important than existing sanctions. The sanctions announced so far do not directly cause any material disruption to the economy. But the actions taken […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia Slams Robbery of Russian Train Passengers in Ukraine

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

MOSCOW, March 24 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday denounced as an act of anarchy the robbery of Russian passengers on board a train in Ukraine by ultranationalists last week. On Friday, a group of uniformed men boarded a train from Moscow in the southwestern Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia under the pretext of an ID check. “Passengers […]

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Russians Must Oust Putin Rather than Suffer for His Imperial Ambitions, Felshtinsky Says

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, March 24, 2014) Russians must recognize that Vladimir Putin is “an aggressor and instigator of war,” that he is making them into “victims and participants in state crimes,” that he will eventually lose to the democratic world, and that he, they and their country will suffer and be held accountable just as […]

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Ukraine-EU Pact Signals Step Towards NATO – Russian Ministry Source

EU Map

MOSCOW, March 24 (RIA Novosti) – The signing of a political pact between Ukraine and the European Union is a hasty step which points to the prospect of closer military ties between Kiev and NATO, a Russian foreign ministry source said Monday. “The political provisions of the association deal pave the way for further entrenchment of Ukraine into the foreign […]

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Moscow restaurants impose “entry ban” on Obama

File Photo of Barack Obama Sitting at Desk with Mike McFaul Standing Next to Him Facing Him

MOSCOW. March 22 (Interfax) – Moscow restaurants are introducing sanctions against U.S. President Barack Obama. Notices saying an “entry ban” has been imposed on Obama have been put up at the entrances to Dolma restaurants in central Moscow, an Interfax correspondent reported. The manager of a Dolma restaurant, Lasha Churgulia, said that, “the ban only applies to Obama for now.” […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Putin and Lavrov at Meeting with permanent members of the Security Council

Russian Naval Vessel in Ukrainian Port

(Kremlin.ru – March 21, 2014) Vladimir Putin held a meeting with the permanent members of the Security Council, during which a detailed discussion on the situation in Ukraine took place. Taking part in the meeting were Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Ivanov, […]

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Interfax: Russians support Crimean accession to Russia – poll

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW. March 24 (Interfax) – An overwhelming majority of Russians (93%) support Crimea’s accession to Russia and only 4% have a negative opinion, the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) said. In the opinion of 89% of Russians, Crimea means Russia. Some 65% of people who share this opinion say that Crimea is a historically Russian land, which had been […]

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Interim Ukraine government in the same hole as Yanukovych

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – KYIV BLOG – Ben Aris in Moscow – March 24, 2014) The interim Ukrainian government signed off on the long-mooted Association Agreement with the EU at the weekend, setting the impasse with Russia in stone. However, the “Maidan” government baulked at signi ng the economic part of the deal. Is the new administration about […]

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Will the Ukrainian conflict turn hot?

Russian Naval Vessel in Ukrainian Port

(rbth.ru – March 24, 2014 – Nikolai Gorshkov, special to RBTH) Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has warned Russia than any attempt to annex areas of Eastern Ukraine will meet a very tough response, including a military one. EU in Brussels also spoke of measures beyond the already agreed, should Russia move into Ukrainian mainland. But does Russia have […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: Johnson’s Russia List table of contents :: 2014-#63 :: Friday , 21 March 2014

St. Basil's file photo

Johnson’s Russia List :: 2014-#63 :: 21 March 2014 E-Mail: davidjohnson@starpower.net A project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs: www.ieres.org JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php To subscribe to the JRL email version, email David Johnson at davidjohnson@starpower.net […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia not forcing Ukraine to pay back loan early – Finance Minister Anton Siluanov

Anton Siluanov file photo

(RIA Novosti – March 20, 2014) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has addressed Russia with a proposal to take part in developing a programme of structural reforms in Ukraine, the Russian RIA Novosti reported on 20 March, quoting Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. The implementation of the programme will be a condition for allocating an IMF loan to Ukraine. Siluanov […]

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Russia says close to agreement on OSCE monitors for Ukraine

File Photo of OSCE Banners

Reuters reports on statements by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe is close to reaching an arrangement to send observers to Ukraine: ‘We have already practically agreed a draft decision’ on an observer mission, Lavrov told President Vladimir Putin in televised remarks, adding that observers would be sent to western and central […]

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Former Ambassador McFaul: Putin May Be Just Getting Started

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – By Albert R. Hunt – March 19, 2014) Albert R. Hunt is a Bloomberg View columnist. Michael McFaul, who recently stepped down as U.S. ambassador to Russia, says President Vladimir Putin is riding “an ugly nationalistic fervor that’s off the charts,” and is likely to escalate tensions with the U.S. and Europe over Ukraine. McFaul, who […]

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Hagel Gets Assurances About Russian Troops on Ukraine Border

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Defense.gov – American Forces Press Service – Jim Garamone – WASHINGTON – March 20, 2014) Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu assured Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Russian troops along the Russia-Ukraine border are there solely for exercise purposes and will not cross over into Ukrainian territory, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today. At a Pentagon news […]

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Interfax: Russia’s ruling party distances itself from MP Vladimir Zhirinovskiy’s territorial claims on Ukraine

Vladimir Zhirinovsky file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, March 20, 2014) The parliamentary majority does not share [LDPR party leader] Vladimir Zhirinovskiy’s view that Russia has to expand its borders by incorporating Donbass [industrial area of Ukraine around Donetsk] and some other regions of Ukraine. “I would like to comment on the LDPR leader and say that some of his calls and judgments are not […]

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Medvedev: Ukraine owes $16 billion to Russia

File Photo of Blue Flame from Natural Gas

(Interfax – March 21, 2014) Ukraine’s debt to Russia stands at $16 billion, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told President Vladimir Putin at a session of the country’s Security Council on Friday. “Ukraine has quite a significant debt to the Russian Federation, both state and corporate,” he said. “In my opinion, we cannot afford to lose this money since our […]

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BNE: Russia won’t move into East Ukraine unless there is a massacre of its citizens – Sergei Mironov

Sergei Mironov

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – March 20, 2014) “Russia won’t deploy troops in eastern Ukraine unless there is a “massacre” of its citizens there, says Sergei Mironov, leader of pro-Kremlin Just Russia party and a Putin ally, reports Bloomberg. “It would be highly undesirable and I think it’s unlikely, unless we see large-scale massacres, if something awful happens and […]

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RIA Novosti: Death Toll From Unrest in Ukraine Rises to 103

Ukraine Map and Flag

MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti) – The death toll from the unrest in Ukraine that led to the ouster of the country’s president last month has risen to 103, the country’s Ministry of Health said Thursday. Previous casualty figures stood at 102 dead and 1,419 injured. The ministry said on its website that 128 people injured in the conflict remain […]

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Putin’s Crimea Move Cripples Opposition

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – March 21, 2014) During his triumphant speech on Crimea’s annexation earlier this week, President Vladimir Putin stressed that his policy was supported by an “absolute majority of Russians,” saying those who opposed it were “national traitors” acting on behalf of Western countries. While such a bold statement was embraced by some as […]

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Interfax: Lavrov dubs signing of EU-Ukraine deal political provisions geopolitical game

Maidan Square file photo

MOSCOW. March 21 (Interfax) – The purpose of signing the political provisions for the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is not to take care of the interests of the Ukrainian people. This is an attempt to score in a geopolitical game, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “In my opinion, this step was not dictated by the interests of the Ukrainian economy, […]

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Kasparov: It’s time to stop Putin

Garry Kasparov file photo

In a Washington Post op-ed, Garry Kasparov argues that Putin’s motives in seizing Crimea are shaped more by greed than Russia’s national interests, and that assessments of possible future Kremlin actions should be based on pragmatic assessments of what Putin actually does: When Vladi­mir Putin formally annexed Crimea this week, he acted in defiance of the predictions of many pundits, […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin Signs Final Crimea Reunification Decree

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

MOSCOW, March 21 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Friday on the ratification of the treaty providing for the reunification of the Crimean Peninsula with Russia. The treaty had been already ratified by both houses of the Russian parliament. Under the decree, the Russian Federation will have 85 regions, up from the previous 83. The Republic […]

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RIA Novosti: Ukraine to Deploy More Troops on Border With Russia

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

KIEV, March 19 (RIA Novosti) – The head of Ukraine’s security advisory body said on Wednesday the country will deploy more troops along the border with Russia and introduce visas for Russians in a bid to “enhance border security.” Moscow and Kiev are on the brink of conflict following last month’s overthrow of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych and subsequent dispute […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia Gathering Facts on Violence, Nationalists in Ukraine

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti, March 21) – Russia is collecting facts on lawless extremists and neo-nationalists in Ukraine as well as on the violence that has racked the country, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday. “We are scrupulously collecting all of the facts that show the lawlessness of neo-nationalists and extremists and would like to complete this work as quickly […]

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