Category Archives: Russia

Ukraine ceasefire said to be holding – but only just

A pro-Russia militant stands at a checkpoint in the outskirts of Donetsk, Ukraine.

France and Germany believe the ceasefire in Ukraine is “generally” being observed, a statement from the French presidency says. But the countries’ leaders, who helped broker the truce, said some “local incidents” must be “quickly” resolved. Shelling has continued around the besieged town of Debaltseve. However, fighting in the area is reported to have lowered in intensity since the ceasefire began at midnight Saturday (22:00 GMT). Pro-Russian rebels had previously said they were entitled to fire in the town, as they believe the territory belongs to them. Meanwhile, a military spokesman said Ukrainian troops had come under fire 60 times in the hours after the truce came into force, AFP … Continue reading

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Putin and Putina bring 30-year marriage to amicable end

President Putin and his former wife Putina who have finally divorced after living apart for so long.

T he Kremlin has confirmed that the divorce of Russian President Vladimir Vladimovich Putin from his wife of 30 years, Lyudmila Alexandrovna Putina, has been finalised. The country’s best-known couple who have two daughters, Maria, born in 1985 and Yekaterina, born a year later, went on state TV last June to announce the break-up of their marriage. A former flight attendant with the Russian national airline Aeroflot, Alexandrovna married Vladimovich in July 1983. A linguist who graduated from Leningrad State University in 1986, Alexandrovna always maintained a low profile on the Russian political stage and often avoided any limelight. Ranked among the world’s most powerful people, Putin made headlines last … Continue reading

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Professor sacked for criticising Russian foreign policy

Prof Andrei Zubov:  "We must not behave the way Germans once behaved, based on the promises of Goebbels and Hitler."

A Russian philosophy professor at a prestigious state university has been sacked after comparing Moscow’s actions in Ukraine with Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria in 1938. In an op-ed earlier this month on the day Russian lawmakers voted to give President Vladimir Putin permission to send troops into Ukraine, Andrei Zubov warned against war, saying: “We must not behave the way Germans once behaved, based on the promises of Goebbels and Hitler.” The Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), a diplomatic school with ties to the foreign ministry where Zubov has worked since 2001, said it had dismissed him for criticising Russia’s foreign policy. “Let the inappropriate and offensive … Continue reading

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Remove troops from Crimea or else – Obama warns Putin

Ukraine PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk meets President Barack Obama at the White House Wednesday.

US President Barack Obama has welcomed Ukraine’s interim prime minister to the White House and pledged to “stand with Ukraine” in its dispute with Russia. He warned Russian President Vladimir Putin the international community “will be forced to apply costs” if Russia does not remove its troops from Crimea. Ukraine PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk, speaking after meeting Mr Obama, said Ukraine “will never surrender” to Russia. It is absolutely unacceptable to have Russian boots on the Ukrainian ground in the 21st century, violating all international deals and treaties,” he said. The diplomatic appeals to Moscow come ahead of Sunday’s referendum in Crimea, in which citizens will be asked if they want … Continue reading

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Crimea sets date for holding referendum to rejoin Russia

Col. Yuliy Mamchuk, center, commander of the Ukrainian military garrison at the Belbek airbase, and a colleague with the regimental flag confront troops under Russian command Tuesday. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The Crimean parliament sharply escalated the stakes Thursday in a standoff over the region’s future, voting to join the Russian Federation, calling a referendum in 10 days to validate its decision and vowing to nationalize Ukrainian state industries. In Washington, President Obama condemned the moves Thursday, saying the referendum “would violate the Ukrainian constitution and violate international law. He also called for international monitors to be allowed into all of Ukraine, including Crimea, to ensure that people’s rights are being respected, including the rights of ethnic Russians. Speaking from the White House on Thursday, President Obama called “unconstitutional” a planned referendum in the Crimea over whether people there want to … Continue reading

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Russia’s President Putin plays Middle East peace broker

Russian President Vladimir Putin who in the past has sent his commandos to wipe out his opponents, is now playing world peace broker to stop a US attack on Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a direct personal appeal to the American people over the Syrian crisis. He wrote in the New York Times that a US military strike against Syria could unleash a new wave of terrorism. The US had threatened strikes, accusing the Syrian regime of killing hundreds in a poison-gas attack on 21 August. Instead, Russia, an ally of Damascus, proposed that Syria hand over its chemical arsenal. The US and Russia are due to meet later to discuss that plan. The Syrian government, which denies that it has used chemical weapons on its own people, has agreed at least partially to the Russian proposal. The … Continue reading

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President Obama asked to call off coming Putin meeting

President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin get up to leave after their meeting in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, Monday, June 17, 2013.

Two American officials have called on President Barack Obama to call off his upcoming meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin after Moscow granted asylum to American whistle-blower Edward Snowden. “I would urge the president to cancel the bilateral summit he’s having with Putin,” Sen. Charles Schumer told CBS News on Sunday.  “President Putin’s behaving like a schoolyard bully, and in my experience, I’ve learned that unless you stand up to that bully, they ask for more and more and more.”  The two presidents are scheduled to meet later this month before the G20 summit, which is set to be held in Russia next month. The US-Russia relationship “is more … Continue reading

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Obama trade and human rights bill angers Moscow

President Barack Obama on Friday signed a bill that brings U.S. trade relations with Russia into the 21st century but also ushers in a potentially testy era in which the United States could publicly “name and shame” Russian human rights violators. The measure, which the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed by overwhelming margins, allows Obama to establish “permanent normal trade relations,” or PNTR, with Russia by lifting a Cold War-era restriction on trade. It also directs Obama to bar Russian human rights violators from entering the United States and freeze any assets they have in U.S. banks. The provision is named in honor of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian … Continue reading

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Woman who killed Russian Sufi Muslim leader identified

Russian police on Wednesday identified the female suicide bomber who killed an influential Muslim leader in a terrorist attack that could worsen a longstanding confrontation between radical Islamists and moderate Muslims in the volatile Caucasus region. Said Afandi, 74, the powerful leader of a Sufi Muslim brotherhood in Russia’s unstable province of Dagestan, was killed Tuesday along with six other people, including an 11-year-old boy, in the central village of Chirkei by the bomber, who approached his house disguised as a pilgrim. Afandi’s tens of thousands of followers included influential officials, clerics and businessmen. Police in Dagestan said Wednesday that the bomber was Aminat Kurbanova, a 30-year-old resident of Dagestan’s … Continue reading

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West ‘blackmailing’ Russia on sanctions – Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Western attempts to get Moscow to discuss sanctions against Syria contain “elements of blackmail”. Mr Lavrov said the West had threatened to end a UN observer mission if Russia opposed its draft resolution. Peace envoy Kofi Annan arrived in Moscow Monday and was expected to urge Russia to put more pressure on Syria’s leaders to begin a political transition. Russia has strong ties with Syria and has vetoed foreign intervention calls. It has circulated its own draft resolution calling for the extension of the observer mission’s mandate, which runs out on Friday. It does not contain any threat of sanctions against Damascus. Mr … Continue reading

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