RUSSIALINK: “Ex-Crimea Prosecutor Poklonskaya Slams Russia’s Pro-War ‘Z’ Symbol” – Moscow Times

European Portion of Commonwealth of Independent States

(Moscow Times – April 20, 2022) Natalia Poklonskaya has issued a harsh criticism of the pro-war Z symbol that has spread across Russia, the latest anti-war comments from the former Crimean prosecutor and onetime Russian lawmaker. The Latin letter — first seen displayed on Russian military vehicles entering Poklonskaya’s country of birth — has come to symbolize the public’s support […]

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Fact vs. Fiction: Russian Disinformation on Ukraine

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

U.S. Department of State: Fact Sheet: Office of the Spokesperson …. Below are examples of Russian lies about the current crisis and its causes – and the truth […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The guns of January; As war looms larger, what are Russia’s military options in Ukraine?” – The Economist

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“The Kremlin’s aim would probably be to shatter Ukrainian military power and dictate terms.” “… Even with [various] advantages, Russia would struggle to occupy [Kyiv], let alone … Ukraine, … as large and populous as Afghanistan. … [O]ver 300,000 Ukrainians have gained … military experience … [M]ost have access to firearms. … [T]he Pentagon and CIA [reportedly] would both support […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia denies looking for pretext to invade Ukraine” – AP

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

According to the White House, U.S. intelligence officials believe Russia has deployed operatives to rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine to carry out acts of sabotage and blame them on Ukraine, in a ‘false-flag operation’ to create a pretext for possible invasion […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Says Still Waiting on Western Response to Security Demands” – Moscow Times

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jan. 18, 2022) Russia is still awaiting the U.S. and NATO’s response to its sweeping demands for a new security settlement in Europe, Russia’s top diplomat said Tuesday as tensions between Moscow and the West over Ukraine continue to mount. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after a series of high-level talks last week that the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Donetsk counts conflict cost as Russia, U.S. to meet” – AP

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“While Russia and the U.S. are preparing to meet for critical strategic talks over Ukraine, residents in the rebel-controlled Ukrainian city of Donetsk claim the Ukrainian army started heavy firing on New Year’s Eve.” “… A 2015 peace agreement brokered by France and Germany ended large-scale battles, but frequent skirmishes have continued. The [OSCE] … has reported an increasing number […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Rebuilt NATO to Face Down Russia. Putin Scrambled Those Plans” – WSJ

NATO Meeting File Photo

“Kremlin tests the alliance by undermining former Soviet republics, sowing disinformation and exploiting divisions.” “The U.S. and other NATO members have deployed thousands of troops and invested heavily in weaponry to rebuild the alliance’s front line facing Russia. Moscow has parried that strategy by opening up new fronts just beyond NATO’s reach. … Rather than confront NATO head-on … Putin […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Thinks America Is Bluffing” – Foreign Affairs

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

To Deter a Ukraine Invasion, Washington’s Threats Need to Be Tougher […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin: Russia-U.S. talks inspire no significant optimism” – AP

Wendy Sherman file photo, adapted from image at state.gov

“The Kremlin said Tuesday it saw ‘no significant reason for optimism’ …. The talks aimed at defusing tensions over Ukraine took place in Geneva on Monday and offered no sign of immediate progress. Moscow went in insisting on guarantees to halt NATO’s eastward expansion and even roll back the military alliance’s deployments in Eastern Europe — demands that Washington had […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How to Get What We Want From Putin” – Politico.com

Map of Europe, adapted from image at loc.gov

Talks on European security underway between the U.S. and Russia will be difficult because the two countries don’t trust one another, not even a little […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why the Russians Aren’t Coming!” – iAffairs Canada/ Egor Evsikov

Kremlin and River

“… Imagery of Russian forces assembling near the [Ukrainian] border is just one of … several indicators to consider …. Russia is … a semi-authoritarian ‘managed democracy’ …. The Russian population does not live in a constant state of war readiness. A significant state-controlled media effort would be required to prepare the population and ensure public support for the invasion […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S., Russia Hold High-Stakes Talks on Ukraine” – AFP

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“… [H]igh-stakes negotiations come amid fears of a Russian invasion of … pro-Western … Ukraine … with Moscow demanding wide-ranging concessions from Washington and … NATO …. Monday’s [Geneva] talks … launch[ed] a week of diplomacy … after Moscow amassed tens of thousands of troops at the Ukrainian border …. RIA Novosti on Monday quoted [Sergei] Ryabkov saying he feared […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Biden wants to turn Ukraine into a porcupine” – Washington Post

File Photo of Soldier Firing Javelin Shoulder-Mounted Anti-Tank Missile

“…. Russia is heading to Geneva with what amounts to an ultimatum: Unless … Putin gets security guarantees from the West, he’s prepared to invade. Biden administration officials say they want a diplomatic solution, but they’ve also been delivering warnings through public and private channels that an invasion would be bloody, protracted and extremely damaging for Russia. … The Air […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Toast of Emerging Markets in 2021, Russia Gives Pause” – Bloomberg

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“… For all the gains [Russia’s] assets … made in the past 12 months, a military incursion into Ukraine [reportedly] would transform the narrative instantly …. Unprecedented U.S. and European sanctions would leave Russia off-limits to many investors, rendering the benefits of rising commodity prices, record international reserves and the central bank’s hawkish turn all but irrelevant. … [T]ensions with […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Military Buildup Near Ukraine Is an Open Secret” – WSJ

Artist's Depiction of Spy Satellite in Orbit, With Stylized Depictions of Lines of Site and Data Points, adapted from image at iarpa.gov

Satellite images, social media posts and flight-tracking data allow private analysts to track details governments once classified […]

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Amid Rumblings About A Russian Invasion, ‘No Hysteria’ In Ukraine

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Amidst provocative comments from Putin targeting Kyiv, and Kremlin demands that Ukraine be kept out of NATO forever, U.S. and Ukrainian intelligence agencies have warned that Russia has been preparing for a possible military offensive […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “More than 10,000 Russian troops returning to bases after drills near Ukraine – Interfax” – Reuters

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Citing the Russian military, Russian news agency Interfax states that more than 10,000 Russian troops have been returning to permanent bases after month-long drills near Ukraine […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Joe Biden threatens Vladimir Putin with gas embargo over Ukraine” – The Times (UK)

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“Don’t dare try another Crimea, he warns Russian president.” “… Biden has warned … Putin that the West will target Russian gas exports and deploy more troops to eastern Europe if [Putin] orders an invasion of Ukraine. … [T]he U.S. national security adviser[] said … this … likely … include[d] stopping … gas … through … Nord Stream 2 …. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. intelligence-sharing convinces allies of Russian threat to Ukraine” – Financial Times

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Skeptical capitals including Berlin persuaded of the need to draw up threat of robust sanctions […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin Slams U.S. ‘Hysteria’ Over Ukraine Conflict” – Moscow Times

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Peskov’s comments come after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken … declined to say whether U.S. intelligence believed … Putin was aiming to seize land from Ukraine […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Air Force Bombers Are Rehearsing Their New Main Mission — Sinking Russian Ships” – Forbes

File Photo of B1 Bomber in Flight, adapted from image at defense.gov, with photo credit: U.S. Air Force Photo/Bennie Davis III

A pair of B-1s could shoot 48 LRASMs at Russia’s Baltic Fleet, enough, perhaps, to sink the entire fleet in a single pass and eliminate the major threat to U.S. and allied ships in the region […]

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Why the U.S. Should Rethink Its Russia-centric Ukraine Policy

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Nicolai N. Petro – Sept. 9, 2021) Nicolai N. Petro is a professor of political science at the University of Rhode Island, specializing in Ukraine and Russia. His latest book, “Ukraine in Crisis,” was published by Routledge in 2017. Ahead of this month’s visit to Washington, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy gave a sense of his […]

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Russia Says Ukraine Organized Gas Pipeline Attack In Crimea

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Oilprice.com – Charles Kennedy – Sept. 7, 2021) Russia accused on Tuesday Ukraine’s military intelligence of having organized an attack on a natural gas pipeline in Crimea at the end of last month, in another escalation of tensions between Moscow and Kyiv. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine back in 2014, straining the bilateral relations between one of Europe’s key natural […]

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West Using Ukraine to Undermine Russian National Identity and Dismember Russia, Markov Says

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, July 15, 2021) “Putin’s main mistake,” Sergey Markov says, was not introducing Russian military forces into Ukraine in the spring of 2014, a failure that has led to the rise of “an occupation regime” there and the formation of an “anti-Russia.” With his new article, the Kremlin leader has laid the foundation […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Some Investors Sense Buying Opportunity in Russia-U.S. Détente” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

Russian market could benefit from geopolitical calm, but Black Sea skirmish shows Russia has a habit of delivering negative surprises […]

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Russians Evenly Split on Whether Attacking Ukraine would Help or Hurt Putin, Lev Gudkov Says

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

The head of the Levada Center … says that 43 to 44 percent of Russians think another invasion would boost Putin’s ratings, but 40 percent say that it would have precisely the opposite effect and spark mass dissatisfaction and protests […]

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Zelenskiy Warns That Russian Troops Can Return At ‘Any Moment’

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

… Zelenskiy has urged the Ukrainian military to remain on alert despite Russia’s drawdown of its troops from the country’s borders, saying they could return “at any moment” […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia withdraws troops from Ukraine’s border” – bne Intellinews

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… Fears of an imminent invasion have been stoked by the large build-up of Russian forces on Ukraine’s eastern border and additional forces sent to Crimea. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed the announcement and thanked his international partners for their support. … [E]stimates … vary from around 40,000 new troops largely stationed in the city of Voronezh some 130 km […]

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‘Enemy Of My Enemy:’ In Ukraine, Mixed Feelings About Kremlin Foe Navalny

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Article text ©2021 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Dan Peleschuk – KYIV, Feb. 24, 2021 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/navalny-ukraine-attitudes-mixed-feelings-russia-nationalism-putin/31120106.html) Few patriots would appreciate an outsider comparing a chunk of their country to finger food. But when Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny did just that to Ukrainians in 2014 — saying that Moscow-annexed Crimea […]

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Banning Pro-Russian Media: Fighting Disinformation, Silencing Dissonant Opinions, or Both?

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

The basic questions at play … are not unique to Ukraine, though they are sharpened by Russia’s aggression in the Donbas and Crimea: Who defines the boundary between disinformation and dissonant opinions? […]

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Baku’s Success in Using Turkish Drones Raises Question: Could Ukraine Use Them Against Russia in Crimea?

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 17, Issue 179 – Paul Goble – Dec. 16, 2020) The Azerbaijani military’s use of Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), purchased from Turkey, played such a prominent role in Baku’s victory over Armenian forces during the Second Karabakh War (September 27–November 9, 2020) that defense analysts around the world are […]

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Is Crimea Now Costing Russia More Than It Is Worth?

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

… Not only did that aggressive breach of international law trigger Western sanctions … the authorities in Moscow also never gave the public an honest estimate of just how much money would need to be spent, nor for how long […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “UN urges Russia to immediately withdraw forces from Crimea” – AP

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“The U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution … urging Russia to immediately withdraw all its military forces from Crimea ‘and end its temporary occupation of the territory of Ukraine without delay.’ The vote in the 193-member world body was 63-17 with 62 abstentions …. Russia sent troops into Crimea and annexed the peninsula in 2014. It has supported separatist rebels […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Lawmakers Offer Bill to Boost Aid for Ukraine Military” – Reuters

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“… [S]enators [from both parties] introduced legislation to back Ukraine with $300 million of annual military financing …. The bill also authorizes up to $4 million to train Ukrainian military officers, requires a [DOD] … and State Department report on the requirements of Ukraine’s armed forces and a plan to supply security assistance and requires the appointment of a special […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine Cease-Fire Begins in Tense Climate” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

A cease-fire between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists … offer[s] the prospect of an end to a slow-burning conflict … claim[ing] thousands of lives in Eastern Ukraine … [Remaining] [p]oints of friction … includ[e] Russia’s control of … Crimea and Kyiv’s resistance to holding elections in separatist strongholds […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How Russian imperialism could bring down Putin” – The Hill/ Janusz Bugajski

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“… Putin has based his domestic support on economic growth and restoring the ‘Russian World.’ With the Russian economy in a nosedive, the Kremlin looks increasingly likely to attack a former Soviet neighbor to revive its imperial credentials. … Russia invaded Georgia to divert public attention from the 2008 financial crisis, and … invaded Ukraine to help quash growing protests […]

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New Russian Policy Toward Ukraine: Citizenship Beyond the Borders

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Kennan Cable No. 54 – Igor Zevelev, Global Fellow; Former Professor at George Marshall European Center for Security Studies; Former Director, MacArthur Foundation, Moscow Office – July 9, 2020) A major change in Russian policy towards Ukraine is underway. Policymakers, experts, and the media across the world have focused mostly on the conflict in eastern […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Where Can I Travel in Russia This Summer?” – Moscow Times

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Russia opened its domestic tourist season … as it continues to grapple with the deadly coronavirus pandemic … the world’s third-highest number of infections […]

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Kremlin Denies Eyeing Territorial Claims After Putin’s Comments In Documentary

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

The Kremlin has denied it has any territorial claims on former Soviet republics after … Putin appeared to question the redrawn borders of Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Pentagon announces $250 million in security assistance to Ukraine” – CNN/ Ryan Browne

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… ‘[DOD] announced … plans for $250 million in Fiscal Year 2020 Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds for additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s capacity to more effectively defend itself against Russian aggression,’ the Pentagon said in a statement …. the ‘funds — $125 million of which was conditional on Ukraine’s progress on defense reforms — […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Global Ambitions Are Upended by Coronavirus’s Heavy Toll in Russia” – Wall Street Journal/ Yaroslav Trofimov, Thomas Grove

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Russian president’s efforts to showcase the country’s strength abroad backfired amid virus troubles at home […]

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Zelenskiy’s First Year: He Promised Sweeping Changes. How’s He Doing?

File Photo of Zelenskiy Extending Handshake, adapted from image at a subdomain of senate.gov

“… the first year since the 42-year-old comedic actor’s election has been chock full of ups and downs and twists and turns, with plenty of serious criticism … from constituents and international observers, not to mention an array of opponents. …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “With the World Distracted by Coronavirus, Hopes for Peace in Ukraine Are Dimming” – Wall Street Journal/ Ann M. Simmons

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“Sound of gunfire and shelling has become part of everyday life in the city of Mariupol as hopes fade for an end to the war.” “… in eastern Ukraine … hopes for an end to the long-running war between Russian-backed separatists and Kyiv have faded since this winter’s tentative detente between … Putin and … Zelensky. … The conflict has […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “NATO enlargement: evaluating its consequences in Russia” – International Politics/ Kimberly Marten

NATO Meeting file photo

“… There is no question that Russia – its leaders, expert analysts, and public – reacted negatively to NATO enlargement right from the start. … But …. Russia’s unhappiness is overdetermined, and there is no evidence that if NATO enlargement had been avoided, delayed, or altered (while nothing else changed), that Russia could have been reconciled to the idea of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s moment of truth” – Kyiv Post/ Kurt Volker

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

“… As the novel coronavirus increasingly impacts the country, the Verkhovna Rada must finally pass the banking legislation necessary to free up $8 billion in International Monetary Fund lending, and a further $1.5 billion from other sources. … Achieving peace and restoring Ukrainian sovereignty in eastern Ukraine and Crimea will never come as the result of a military victory. Peace […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian Priests, Cossacks Negotiated Ukraine’s Surrender During Crimean Annexation – Meduza” – Moscow Times

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 16, 2020) Priests from the Russian Orthodox Church and Cossacks followed Defense Ministry orders to negotiate the Ukrainian army’s surrender during Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, the independent Meduza news website has reported ahead of the sixth anniversary of the land grab. On Feb. 27, 2014, masked troops in unmarked uniforms seized the Crimean parliament […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s population falls behind Poland’s for the first time, electronic census says 5mn people lost since 2000” – bne Intellinews

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“Ukraine’s population fell behind that of Poland … [with] an electronic census reveal[ing] the number of citizens … dropped by … 5mn … 37.289mn since the last census in 2000. Poland’s population was 37.98mn in 2018, according to Eurostat. The … Ukrainian number does not include … Crimea or [the] Donbass regions, which would add roughly another million …. The […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin wants to ‘understand’ Ukrainian leader’s approach to conflict settlement” – Interfax

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Interfax – Dec. 1, 2019) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has said that the expected meeting between Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris would be “very useful” for understanding the Ukrainian leader’s vision for the implementation of the east Ukraine conflict settlement plan known as the Minsk accords. The meeting will “certainly be very useful because we […]

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