MOSCOW (Reuters) – Vladimir Putin risks becoming an international pariah over the Ukraine crisis but the Russian president is battening down the hatches for the gathering economic and political storm.
The United States and the European Union saw the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 as a chance for Putin to distance himself from pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine and seal the border across which they say arms are reaching the rebels.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin is in the “last chance saloon” over the Ukraine crisis but appears to be doing little to get out of it.
Since Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was brought down over east Ukraine, Putin has been under intense international pressure to persuade pro-Russian separatists accused by the West of shooting it down to stop fighting.
MOSCOW, July 7 (Reuters) – Three weeks before Ukraine’s army
forced rebel fighters out of the strategic eastern city of
Slaviansk, their commander made a desperate plea for military
help from Russia.
“A week will pass, two, three, maybe a month, and the
rebellion’s best fighters will be bled dry and, sooner or later,
crushed and destroyed,” Igor Girkin, who is better known as
Strelkov, said in a comments widely viewed online.
MOSCOW/CHISINAU, Moldova, June 27 (Reuters) – Moldova hailed
political and trade pacts signed with the European Union on
Friday as a David-and-Goliath triumph after decades of
domination by its former Soviet masters in Moscow.
The pro-Western leaders of the impoverished country of 3.5
million may still have a struggle on their hands after Russian
warnings not to sign accords that put it on a course taking it
further out of Moscow’s sphere of influence.
KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s leaders are puzzling over how to cut off Russian support for a separatist rebellion in the east of the country but one of its richest men thinks he has the answer.
Billionaire businessman Ihor Kolomoisky has suggested building a wall along the almost 2,000 km (1,200-mile) land border with Russia to prevent fighters and weapons flooding in.
KIEV/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia accused Ukraine’s acting foreign minister on Sunday of “going beyond the limits of decency” by calling President Vladimir Putin a “dickhead” during a violent protest outside its embassy in Kiev.
A senior member of Russian parliament called for Andriy Deshchytsia to resign and Moscow protested to Kiev about Saturday’s violence, during which cars were overturned, windows broken and a Russian flag ripped up.
KIEV/DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) – Church bells rang out over Kiev’s Maidan square and hundreds of mourners bowed their heads in silence on Sunday, a national day of mourning, to honor 49 Ukrainian servicemen killed by pro-Russian separatists.
But some 600 km (375 miles) away to the east in the city of Donetsk, heart of an armed insurgency against central rule by Kiev, there were few signs of mourning as people enjoyed a lazy stroll, sipped coffee in cafes and watched their children play.
KIEV/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Senior Russian parliamentarians urged Ukraine on Sunday to sack its foreign minister for calling President Vladimir Putin a “dickhead” during a violent protest outside Russia’s embassy in Kiev.
Acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia tried to persuade protesters not to use violence at the rally on Saturday evening, during which the Russian flag was ripped up, vehicles overturned and stones and eggs thrown at the embassy.
KIEV, June 13 (Reuters) – Ukrainian government forces
reclaimed the port city of Mariupol from pro-Russian separatists
in heavy fighting on Friday and said they had regained control
of a long stretch of the border with Russia.
The advances are significant victories for the pro-European
leadership in a military operation to crush the armed separatist
rebellion that began in east Ukraine in April and hold the
former Soviet republic of 45 million together.
KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine accused Russia on Thursday of allowing separatist rebels to bring three tanks and other military vehicles across the border into the east of the country to fight the Ukrainian army.
Evidence that Russia is sending in weapons or assisting the rebels militarily would implicate Moscow in the uprising against Kiev’s pro-Western leaders, making a mockery of its denials that it has played a role in weeks of fighting.