international relations

Ukraine Crisis
7:21 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Blaze In Odessa Kills 31, Marking Escalation In Ukraine Crisis

Trashed items smolder amid debris at a square following clashes in Odessa, Ukraine, on Friday.
Sergei Poliakov AP

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 7:47 pm

The situation in Ukraine escalated further on Friday: First, as we reported, Ukraine launched a military operation against separatists in the east, and then a fire in a building in the Black Sea port of Odessa killed 31 people.

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Sustainability
1:53 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Tracking International Progress for a More Sustainable Future

United Nations Secretariat and General Assembly
Credit Jeffrey Zeldman / Creative Commons

Next week, the United Nations’ Open Working Group will convene in New York to continue negotiating a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These SDGs -- focused on  issues such as gender equality, health, education, poverty, climate change, and biodiversity  -- are intended to drive social, economic, and environmental development on an international scale. They will also serve as a continuation of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015.

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White House
7:17 am
Mon April 28, 2014

U.S. Announces New Sanctions On Russia Over Ukraine Unrest

President Obama speaks during a joint news conference with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, on Monday. Obama said the U.S. and EU were planning new economic sanctions against Russia.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 5:09 pm

Update at 9 a.m. ET:

The White House announced sanctions Monday against seven top Russian officials with links to President Vladimir Putin, including freezing their assets and banning them from obtaining U.S. visas. It also threatened to impose more economic sanctions on key sectors of Russia's economy if there is evidence of further Kremlin involvement in the unrest in eastern Ukraine.

The Associated Press reports:

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Ukraine Crisis
7:03 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Russia Wants To Start World War III, Ukrainian Leader Charges

On guard: a Ukrainian soldier at a roadblock near Slovyansk, in eastern Ukraine.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 7:52 pm

The crisis in Ukraine showed no signs of cooling Friday. Harsh rhetoric was flying:

-- "Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk accused Russia on Friday of wanting to start World War III by occupying Ukraine 'militarily and politically,' " Reuters reports.

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North Korea
6:52 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

U.S. Says It's Monitoring For Possible North Korea Nuclear Test

South Korean protesters hold pictures of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a rally last week in Seoul. Recent satellite imagery indicates the possibility that Pyongyang is readying for a new nuclear test.
Lee Jin-man AP

The United States is urging North Korea to refrain from a new nuclear test amid indications of "heightened activity" at Pyongyang's Punggye-ri test site.

"We have certainly seen the press reports ... regarding possible increased activity in North Korea's nuclear test site," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "We are closely monitoring the situation on the Korean peninsula."

Reuters says:

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Whales
2:18 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Japan Says It Will Temporarily Scale Back Whale Hunt

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi speaks in Tokyo on Friday. He says Japan will cut back on the number of whales it kills this year, but resume previous levels in 2015.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 3:12 pm

Japan says it will kill fewer whales when its seasonal Pacific hunt begins next week and will only observe whales in the Antarctic, after a U.N. court ordered it to stop taking the marine mammals from the Southern Ocean.

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Crimea
9:38 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Ukraine Crisis: Russia Endorses Call For Protesters To Disarm

Armed men wearing military fatigues gathered on armored personnel carriers Wednesday in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk, where they and other pro-Russia gunmen took control of some key locations.
Genya Savilov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 9:04 am

This post was updated with a new top at 4:10 p.m. ET.

Diplomats from the U.S., Ukraine, Russia and the European Union emerged Thursday from a meeting that wasn't expected to accomplish much saying they had made progress toward resolving the crisis in Ukraine.

"We worked hard and we worked in good faith in order to narrow our real differences," Secretary of State John Kerry said following the meeting in Geneva. He and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that the four parties at the negotiating table agreed:

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Ukraine Crisis
1:33 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Russian Attack Jet Repeatedly Overflies U.S. Warship In Black Sea

The USS Donald Cook, a guided-missile destroyer, on patrol Saturday in the Black Sea.
Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Edward Guttierrez III U.S. Navy

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 3:07 pm

The crisis in Ukraine has taken on even more of a Cold War-era feel after a Russian warplane made nearly a dozen low passes over the weekend of a U.S. destroyer that was sailing in the Black Sea.

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, calls the Russian flybys "provocative and unprofessional," NPR's Tom Bowman reports.

According to the Pentagon, the Russian SU-24 attack aircraft came within several thousand feet of the USS Donald Cook on Saturday and ignored multiple radio warnings from the ship.

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Global Warming
10:24 am
Sun April 13, 2014

Climate Change Adjustments Must Be Fast And Major, U.N. Panel Says

The world must cut its greenhouse gas emissions to meet its goals, climate experts said Sunday. Members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (left to right) Youba Sakona, Ramon Pichs Madruga, Ottmar Edenhofer and Rajendra Pachauri hold copies of their new report in Berlin.
John MacDougall AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 7:33 am

A new report from the United Nations' panel on climate change says major action is needed, and fast, if policymakers want to limit global warming to acceptable levels.

There's an international target to control climate change: keeping the global temperature rise to just 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — that's 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now says it's technically possible to meet that goal. But doing so will require rapid, large-scale shifts in energy production and use.

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Ukraine Crisis
8:05 am
Sun April 13, 2014

Ukraine Says An Officer Died In Battle With Pro-Russian Forces

A Pro-Russian force guards a barricade outside a regional police building seized by armed men in Slovyansk Sunday. Ukraine, which launched an "anti-terrorist operation" in the eastern town, says one of its officers has been killed in a clash near the town.
Genya Savilov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun April 13, 2014 12:13 pm

  • Rep. Mike Rogers Discusses U.S.-Russia Relations On 'Weekend Edition'

A Ukrainian Security Service officer has been killed and five others wounded in the eastern city of Slovyansk, officials from Ukraine's interim government said Sunday. The casualty comes after Ukraine pledged a "very tough" response to those occupying government buildings.

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20 Years Later
5:58 pm
Sun April 6, 2014

How Abandonment In Rwandan Genocide Changed Peacekeepers' Role

Family photographs of some of those who died hang in a display in the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Rwanda's capital on Saturday.
Ben Curtis AP

Originally published on Sun April 6, 2014 6:50 pm

It's been 20 years since the Rwandan genocide, in which political ideology and ethnic hatred gave license to thousands of Hutus to kill Tutsi families. But ethnic ideology may not have unleashed the genocide if the international community had not stepped back and allowed it to happen.

One notorious episode of abandonment changed forever the role of the United Nations peacekeeper. Early in the morning of April 7, 1994, thousands of Tutsis began arriving at a school on the outskirts of the capital, Kigali, seeking the protection of Belgian soldiers stationed there for the U.N.

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Alaska, Too?
3:47 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Not An April Fools' Joke: Russians Petition To Get Alaska Back

Russians in Moscow's Red Square hold banners reading, "Love You Crimea!" "Together For All Time" and "Obama, Think About Alaska!" during a March 18 rally celebrating the annexation of Crimea.
Sergei Ilnitsky EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 4:35 pm

President Vladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea is reigniting talk in Russia of taking back Alaska from the United States, which purchased the territory from a czar for $7.2 million nearly a century and a half ago.

Most of the talk is tongue-in-cheek, but it comes at a time of heightened sensitivity in the West over whether Russia is planning further incursions or land grabs.

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White House
8:25 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Obama: Russia Making 'Series Of Calculations' After Crimea

President Obama, accompanied by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, speaks during their joint news conference at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on Tuesday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 2:27 pm

(This post was updated at 11:30 a.m. ET.)

President Obama on Tuesday said that he believed that Russia was "still making a series of calculations" regarding any further moves after its annexation of Crimea, but that there was no expectation of dislodging it by force from the Black Sea peninsula.

"What we can bring to bear are the legal arguments, the diplomatic arguments," he said at a joint news conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte following a nuclear security summit in The Hague.

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Crimea
7:17 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Ukraine Orders Its Troops Out Of Crimea As G-7 Meets On Crisis

President Obama tours the Rijksmusuem with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (left) and others ahead of the G-7 summit in The Hague, Netherlands, which is certain to focus on the situation in Crimea.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 1:12 pm

Ukraine announced the pullout of its troops from Crimea after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula and took control of the military bases there. The decision comes as President Obama arrived in the Netherlands on Monday for a summit of the G-7 group of industrialized nations that is certain to focus on discussion of the international crisis.

Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov said Monday that the Defense Ministry has been ordered to redeploy Ukrainian servicemen from the Crimea to Ukraine's mainland, in remarks confirmed by his office.

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Ukraine Crisis
6:28 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Murphy: Sanctions Could Have "Catastrophic Effects for the Russian Economy"

President Barack Obama announces additional sanctions against Russia during a statement on the south lawn of the White House.
Credit White House / YouTube Screenshot

President Barack Obama expanded economic sanctions against Russia in response to its actions in Ukraine, with further sanctions on top officials of the Russian government.

"In addition, we are today sanctioning a number of other individuals with substantial resources and influence who provide material support to the Russian leadership, as well as a bank that provides material support to these individuals," said Obama in a statement on the south lawn of the White House.

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White House
11:58 am
Thu March 20, 2014

U.S. To Impose Sanctions On More Russian Officials

President Obama on the south lawn of the White House Thursday as he spoke about new sanctions on some Russian officials.
Kevin Dietsch UPI/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 9:23 pm

More senior Russian officials are being added to the list of those who the U.S. will seek to penalize for their nation's interference in Ukraine's affairs, President Obama announced Thursday morning.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Ukraine Crisis and Russian Relations: Chris Murphy Discusses Recent Trip to Kiev

Chris Murphy joined other U.S. Senators on a trip to Kiev, Ukraine last weekend.
Sen. Chris Murphy Twitter

For the second time in recent months, Senator Chris Murphy traveled with other U.S. senators to Kiev to meet with the new political leaders in the embattled country of Ukraine. But the conversation for many has turned from Ukraine, to the U.S. relationship with Russia. What's next for the region and has Ukraine completely lost the Crimea peninsula?

Murphy joins us in-studio to debrief on his trip and discuss the possibility of further U.S. actions against Russia.

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Crimea
8:41 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Ukrainian Troops' Departure From Crimea Isn't A Simple Matter

A Russian flag flies behind him Thursday as a Ukrainian soldier leaves what was one of his military's bases outside Simferopol, on the Crimean Peninsula. Local "self-defense forces," followed by Russian troops, have seized many strategic locations.
Yuri Kochetkov EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 6:36 pm

Ukraine's plans to withdraw its troops from Crimea, which as we reported were announced Wednesday, have apparently been complicated by the issue of whether they will be allowed to take their weapons and other equipment with them.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
2:05 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Debate: It May Be Flexing Its Muscles, But Is Russia A Marginal Power?

Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.
  • Listen To The Full Audio Of The Debate
  • Listen To The Broadcast Version Of The Debate

In the past year, Russia has been a decisive player in several events on the international stage — often to the chagrin of the Obama administration. It gave asylum to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, blocked United Nations efforts to impose sanctions against the Syrian government and sent troops into Ukraine.

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Crimea
8:16 am
Tue March 18, 2014

West Is Ruled 'By The Gun,' Putin Says As He Annexes Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin pool EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 6:21 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': Ellen Barry, Moscow correspondent for 'The New York Times,' talks with NPR's Renee Montagne
We updated this post as Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke and other leaders reacted.

Wasting no time and showing no sign that he's concerned about Western objections or economic sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea on Tuesday.

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Scotland Sovereignty
4:44 am
Tue March 18, 2014

After 300 Years Of Marriage, Scotland Contemplates U.K. Divorce

Pro-independence campaigners attend a rally In Edinburgh, Scotland, in September.
Jeff J Mitchell Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 10:22 am

Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom for more than 300 years. This fall, that could change. In mid-September, a referendum on independence will determine whether Scotland breaks off from England, Northern Ireland and Wales to become a sovereign nation.

Scotland's largest city, Glasgow, is ground zero in this debate. The East End of this city is poor and run down, with some of the worst health figures in Europe. Men here are expected to live into only their mid-50s, some 30 years less than in wealthy areas.

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Ukraine
7:28 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Russia Recognizes Independent Crimea; U.S. And EU 'Stand Firm' With Ukraine

A pile of the votes cast Sunday in Simferopol, Ukraine, the regional capital of Crimea.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 3:28 pm

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET.

Russia has officially recognized Crimea as a sovereign independent state, after President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to that effect late Monday, according to a release from the Kremlin. The decree takes effect immediately, naming "the Republic of Crimea, in which the city of Sevastopol has a special status."

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Ukraine
12:02 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

Crimea Overwhelmingly Supports Split From Ukraine To Join Russia

People in Simferopol, Ukraine, attend a pro-Russian rally in Lenin Square after a day of voting on whether to unite with Russia. Exit polls show strong approval for the move, according to Russian state-run media.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 16, 2014 9:59 pm

  • NPR's Gregory Warner on 'Weekend Edition Sunday'
This post will be updated throughout the day Sunday.

Russian news services are claiming overwhelming support in Crimea for the region's plan to secede from Ukraine and unite with Russia, citing exit polls from Sunday's referendum. Russia's state news agency reports that afer 50 percent of the votes had been processed that more than 95 percent of voters said they were in favor of joining Russia.

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Missing Flight
11:11 am
Sun March 16, 2014

Flight 370: Investigators Seek Help, Motive For Jet's Disappearance

Relatives of Chinese passengers from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 met officials at a Beijing hotel Sunday. The flight disappeared from radar more than a week ago.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 16, 2014 11:47 am

Malaysian officials are asking more than a dozen nations to help find the jetliner that went missing last weekend. The search area for the Boeing 777 was widely expanded Saturday; investigators are now looking for potential motives among the plane's crew and passengers to disrupt the flight.

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Ukraine
8:35 am
Fri March 14, 2014

No Breakthrough In Talks About Ukraine

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, left, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry before their talks Friday in London. Afterward, they reported no breakthroughs on finding a solution to the crisis in Ukraine.
Brendan Smialowski AP

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 4:11 pm

This post has been updated.

Update at 12:45 ET: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry came away from talks Friday in London saying they had not come any closer to an agreement about how to end the crisis in Ukraine.

Lavrov told reporters after the two men met that Russia intends to "respect the choice of the Crimean people" — who will vote Sunday on whether to join the Russian Federation. That was a sign that Russia may indeed move to annex the region if Crimeans indicate that's their wish.

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Moscow
7:00 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Russian Lawmakers Welcome Separatist Steps By Crimea

Vladimir Konstantinov (in purple tie) is the speaker of Crimea's parliament. He was welcomed with flowers Friday during his meeting with Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament. She is at the far right of this photo.
Yuri Kadobnov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:22 am

One day after President Obama condemned steps taken by Crimea's parliament to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation, Russian lawmakers are welcoming such a move by Crimean separatists.

"Russia's parliament gave its defiant support Friday to Crimean lawmakers who want to see their region split from Ukraine and join Russia," CNN reports from Moscow.

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Crisis in Ukraine
6:13 am
Fri March 7, 2014

U.S. Knew Of 'Imminent' Move In Crimea, Top Official Says

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee last month.
Lauren Victoria Burke AP

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:39 am

Senior U.S. officials were warned of imminent Russian military action in Crimea about a week before the troop movements that have sparked a major international crisis over Ukraine, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency tells NPR.

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International Fracking
3:17 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Seeking Energy Independence, Europe Faces Heated Fracking Debate

Many countries in the European Union are drawn to the benefits of fracking: cheap energy and energy independence. But many Europeans, including these protesters standing outside EU headquarters in Brussels, object to the practice on environmental grounds.
Virginia Mayo AP

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:39 am

While watching the turmoil in Ukraine unfold, you may feel as though it has little to do with the United States, but the conflict is stirring a contentious debate in Europe over a topic familiar to many Americans: fracking.

Much of the continent depends on Russian natural gas that flows through pipelines in Ukraine. European countries are asking themselves whether to follow the U.S. example and drill for shale gas.

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White House
12:59 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

White House Updates Position on Ukraine, Condemns Violation of International Law

President Barack Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the situation in Ukraine, March 1, 2014.
Credit White House

President Barack Obama delivered a statement about Ukraine from the White House on Thursday, condemning the possibility that international law would be violated in Crimea. Earlier in the day, it was announced the European Union suspended talks on some of the agreements with Russia over the Ukraine crisis, and threatened further sanctions.

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Ukraine Crisis
3:05 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

U.S., EU Threaten Russia With Sanctions Over Ukraine

President Obama answers a question regarding the ongoing situation in the Ukraine, during his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 8:28 pm

(We updated this post at 8:28 p.m. ET.)

The United States and the European Union are threatening Moscow with sanctions over Russia's move to dispatch troops into Ukrainian territory.

During short remarks at the Oval Office, President Obama said the U.S. was examining a wide array of steps that include putting "economic and diplomatic" pressure on Russia.

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