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Separatist rebels kill nine Ukraine soldiers ahead of presidential vote

Separatist rebels killed at least nine Ukrainian soldiers in the restive east on Thursday, dealing a heavy blow to the beleaguered government just three days before a crunch presidential poll. The attacks were the deadliest for the military since it launched an offensive six weeks ago against a pro-Moscow insurgency…

Moscow demands ‘official explanation’ for Prince Charles remarks

Russia’s foreign ministry on Thursday demanded an official explanation after Britain’s Prince Charles reportedly compared President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine to those of Hitler. “If these words were really said, then undoubtedly they are not worthy of a future British monarch,” foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in Moscow.…

Putin’s ‘New Russia’ takes shape in eastern Ukraine

Fielding questions during a live phone-in last month, President Vladimir Putin described regions of eastern and southern Ukraine as a “New Russia” that could one day return to Moscow’s control. Now that vision is taking shape. Russia’s widely condemned annexation of Crimea in March and Putin’s increasing rhetoric about protecting…

Russia test-fires ‘several’ ballistic missiles

Russia on Thursday test-launched several ballistic missiles during planned exercises overseen by President Vladimir Putin, news reports said, as a crisis raged in neighbouring Ukraine. The Russian military fired a Topol intercontinental ballistic missile from its northern test site in Plesetsk, as well as “several” shorter-range missiles from its submarines…

Putin to visit Crimea for May 9 military parade

President Vladimir Putin will make his first visit to the Crimean peninsula since Russia annexed the territory in March, reports said Wednesday, in a move to bolster public support amid simmering tensions in Ukraine. Russian dailies Kommersant and Gazeta……

New U.S. sanctions against Russia to target defense industry

Sanctions to target Russia’s defense industry, others: US (via AFP) The next round of US sanctions against Moscow over Ukraine will target Russia’s defense industry as well as individuals and companies close to President Vladimir Putin, a senior US official said Sunday. “Starting this week, in coordination with our…  …

Vladimir Putin tells Edward Snowden: Russia doesn’t carry out NSA-style mass surveillance

President Vladimir Putin has told the National Security Agency whistleblower, Edward Snowden, that Russia is not carrying out mass surveillance programmes of the kind Snowden exposed in the US. Snowden made a video-link appearance during Putin’s marathon televised question and answer session to ask the president about Russia’s attitude to…

Putin shrugs off U.S. sanctions on top aides but holds off on reprisals

President Vladimir Putin on Friday made light of the latest US sanctions against his aides over the Ukraine crisis, saying Moscow would hold off on reciprocal punitive measures. “You know, both in the first case — the American sanctions — and in the second case — the introduction of a…

Members of Congress ‘proud’ to be sanctioned by Russia’s Putin

US lawmakers scoffed at sanctions imposed on them by Russia Thursday, saying it was a point of pride to be on President Vladimir Putin’s blacklist. Minutes after President Barack Obama announced expanded sanctions against Russian officials over the Ukraine crisis, the Kremlin struck back with travel bans against US lawmakers,…

Germany’s Merkel rebukes Vladimir Putin over proposed Crimea referendum

By Andrew Osborn SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) – Germany’s Angela Merkel delivered a rebuke to President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, telling him that a planned Moscow-backed referendum on whether Crimea should join Russia was illegal and violated Ukraine’s constitution. Putin defended breakaway moves by pro-Russian leaders in Crimea, where Russian forces…

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