MOSCOW (Reuters) – An army assault on pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine will not have taken Vladimir Putin by surprise, but the ferocity of the clashes may have – and could be a game-changer if they spin out of control.
In the last two weeks, with Western sanctions starting to bite, the Russian president has softened his tone against the pro-European leadership in Kiev and promised to pull troops back from the frontier with Ukraine.
ST PETERSBURG, Russia, May 23 (Reuters) – President Vladimir
Putin appeared to hold out an olive branch on Friday by
suggesting he will work with whomever is elected Ukraine’s next
president and calling for better ties with the West.
But at the same time he fiercely criticised U.S. foreign and
In a speech to foreign and Russian businessmen at Russia’s
answer to the Davos World Economic Forum on the shores of its
elegant former imperial capital, Putin acknowledged that U.S.
and European Union sanctions were hurting the country’s economy.
ST PETERSBURG, May 22 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin
tried on Thursday to warm up relations with foreign investors
chilled by the crisis in Ukraine, but many senior executives
snubbed him by boycotting a conference billed as Russia’s answer
The St Petersburg International Economic Forum has for years
drawn global business leaders to the elegant former imperial
capital on the shores of the Baltic Sea, and deals worth
billions of dollars have been signed at it.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – One of Vladimir Putin’s most influential supporters was up early on Thursday explaining to puzzled Russians why the president has softened his stance on Ukraine.
Vladimir Solovyov, the outspoken host of a popular radio call-in, enthusiastically portrayed Putin’s unexpected appeal to separatists in east Ukraine to suspend a planned autonomy referendum as a masterstroke.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Western investors from a bank to a brewer reported trouble in their Russian operations on Wednesday due to the Ukraine crisis, while the Kremlin suggested Washington was trying to sabotage President Vladimir Putin’s flagship economic forum.
French Bank Societe Generale wrote down the value of its Russian subsidiary, Danish brewer Carlsberg blamed the ruble’s weakness for lower profits, and Britain’s Imperial Tobacco Plc said conditions in Russia had hurt its overall business in growth markets.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Vladimir Putin looks likely to go down in history as the Russian leader who won back Crimea, but he is fighting to avoid also being remembered as the man who let Ukraine escape from Moscow’s sphere of influence.
The next six weeks will be decisive in that battle as Ukraine prepares to elect a president on May 25, agree a new constitution and prevent pro-Russian separatists in the east breaking away.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin told his security chiefs on Monday to ensure Russia does not follow what he said was Ukraine’s example by letting the West use local civil rights groups to foment unrest.
In a speech to the Federal Security Service (FSB), the KGB’s main successor, the former spy called for more vigilance and better counter-intelligence to fight threats ranging from Islamist militants to computer hackers.
MOSCOW, April 2 (Reuters) – Russia accused NATO on Wednesday
of reverting to the “verbal jousting” of the Cold War by
suspending cooperation with Moscow over its annexation of
NATO foreign ministers agreed on Tuesday to suspend all
practical cooperation with Russia, draft measures to strengthen
defences and reassure nervous eastern European countries in the
worst East-West crisis since the Cold War ended in 1991.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Four years before he became Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin built himself a lakeside house in woodland outside St Petersburg.
Soon after he finished it in 1996, Putin was relaxing one day in the “banya” (sauna) when the building caught fire. He rushed upstairs to retrieve some money but realized the building was about to burn down with him in it.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – When President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty this week annexing Crimea to great fanfare in the Kremlin and anger in the West, a trusted lieutenant was making his way to Asia to shore up ties with Russia’s eastern allies.
Forcing home the symbolism of his trip, Igor Sechin gathered media in Tokyo the next day to warn Western governments that more sanctions over Moscow’s seizure of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine would be counter-productive.