Russia

Ukraine
3:34 pm
Sat July 26, 2014

Ukrainian Troops Said Poised To Retake Rebel-Held Donetsk

Dutch and Australian investigators along with members of the OSCE mission in Ukraine examine pieces of the crashed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in the village of Petropavlivka, Donetsk region, in eastern Ukraine on Friday.
Dmitry Lovetsky AP

Ukrainian forces were reportedly advancing on rebel positions near the key eastern town of Donetsk on Saturday, as they try to retake the separatist stronghold.

Donetsk is the region where Malaysia Airlines MH17 was shot down on July 17, killing nearly 300 people. Pro-Russian rebels have been blamed for downing the plane and they have hampered international efforts to access the site of the wreckage.

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Russian Forces
3:20 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

U.S.: Russia-Based Artillery Targeting Ukrainian Troops

Ukrainian troops camouflage their multiple rocket launcher at a checkpoint in Kryva Luka, in eastern Ukraine, earlier this month. The U.S. says Russia is planning to provide similar systems to the rebels.
Evgeniy Maloletka AP

The U.S. says it has "new evidence" that Russian forces have been firing artillery across the border to attack Ukrainian military positions, and that Moscow is planning to ship powerful rocket artillery to the rebels it backs in the country's east.

"We have new evidence that the Russians intend to deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers to the separatist forces in Ukraine, and have evidence that Russia is firing artillery from within Russia to attack Ukrainian military positions," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said during a daily briefing.

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Flight MH17
8:12 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Train Carrying MH17 Victims' Remains Arrives In Government-Controlled City

Police officers secure a refrigerated train loaded with bodies of the passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 as it arrives in a Kharkiv factory on Tuesday.
Olga Ivashchenko AP

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 9:03 am

A refrigerated train carrying the remains of the people who died aboard the downed Malaysia Airlines plane arrived in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday. That's a city controlled by the central government in Kiev and 17 hours away from the chaos of Hrabove, the eastern city controlled by pro-Russian separatists, where the debris and remains were scattered.

The New York Times sets the scene:

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Flight MH17
5:18 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Flight MH17: Black Boxes And Bodies Handed Over; U.N. Calls For Inquiry

A pro-Russian rebel talks on a phone as a refrigerated train loaded with the bodies of victims from Flight MH17 leaves the station in Torez, eastern Ukraine, about 9 miles from the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines jetliner.
Vadim Ghirda AP

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 7:50 pm

This post was last updated at 7:10 p.m. ET.

Pro-Russian separatists have given what they say are Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17's data recorders to Malaysian officials in Donetsk, the city in eastern Ukraine that has been the militants' stronghold.

Along with the release of victims' bodies hours earlier, the transfer of the black boxes fulfills part of a deal Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he had reached with the rebels Monday.

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Russian Sanctions
4:18 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Murphy: Europe Should Impose a "Crippling Round of Sanctions" Against Russia

Murphy told CNN's Carol Costello that the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 "is Russia's fault."
Credit WNPR

On Monday at the White House, President Obama urged Russian President Vladmir Putin to order Russian separatists in Ukraine to allow international investigators unfettered access to the crash site of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. 

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Flight MH17
10:54 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Obama Urges Putin to Push for Unhindered Probe of Plane Crash Site in Ukraine

President Barack Obama talks on the phone aboard Air Force One with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine about the Malaysia Airlines plane crash in eastern Ukraine on July 17.
Credit Pete Souza / White House

President Barack Obama spoke about the downed plane in eastern Ukraine from the White House Monday morning. He called for international investigators to have "immediate and full access" to the site where a passenger jet was shot down last week.

U.S. officials have been seeking to build a case that the plane was shot down by pro-Russian separatists.

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Flight MH17
8:18 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Putin: Tragedies Like MH17 Should 'Bring People Together'

Deputy head of the OSCE mission to Ukraine Alexander Hug (center right) stands outside a refrigerated train as members of the Netherlands' National Forensic Investigations Team inspect bodies.
Vadim Ghirda AP

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 2:57 pm

(This post was updated at 12:51 p.m. ET.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin says tragedies such as the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 last week should "bring people together" rather than "dividing us."

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Flight MH17
7:40 am
Sun July 20, 2014

Kerry: Evidence Points Clearly To Rebels Shooting Down MH17

Members of the Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry work at a crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk, on Sunday.
Maxim Zmeyev Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 4:29 pm

Updated at 4:25 p.m. ET.

In the most emphatic U.S. statement to date on culpability for the downing of a Malaysian airliner over Eastern Ukraine that killed 298 people, Secretary of State John Kerry says evidence overwhelmingly points to Russian-backed separatists.

In an interview with CNN, he says that U.S. intelligence, as well as social media put out by the rebels, "obviously points a very clear finger at the separatists.

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Russia
3:50 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

Kremlin Blacklists 13 Americans In Tit-For-Tat Over U.S. Sanctions

Retiring Virginia Reps. Jim Moran (center) and Frank Wolf talk as congressmen leave the House of Representatives in April. Moran's name appears on on a Russian visa blacklist issued on Saturday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sat July 19, 2014 6:36 pm

Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET.

Moscow has issued a quid pro quo for sanctions imposed on it by Washington, banning a U.S. congressman and 12 other Americans from entering Russia.

NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports that the Foreign Ministry in Moscow says the new blacklist is in response to U.S. visa restrictions on Russian citizens in the wake of Moscow's annexation of Crimea and its continuing support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

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Flight MH17
2:27 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

Ukraine Accuses Rebels Of Destroying Evidence At MH17 Crash Site

With pro-Russian separatists standing guard, investigators from the OSCE arrive at the crash site of the Malaysia Airline jet near the village of Hrabove in Eastern Ukraine on Friday.
Dmitry Lovetsky AP

Originally published on Sat July 19, 2014 11:45 pm

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET.

International investigators say armed rebels have limited their inspection of the Eastern Ukraine site of the downed Malaysian Airlines flight that killed nearly 300 passengers and crew, as Kiev accused pro-Russian separatists of destroying evidence at the scene.

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Flight MH17
12:50 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Obama: Evidence MH17 Hit By Missile From Rebel-Held Area Of Ukraine

A firefighter douses the smoldering wreckage of Flight MH17 on Thursday.
Alexander Khudoteply AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 19, 2014 2:24 am

This post was updated at 5:00 p.m. ET.

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White House
11:36 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Obama Calls for a Ceasefire in Ukraine

President Barack Obama speaking to the press last year.
White House

President Barack Obama said one American was killed on a downed plane in Ukraine on Thursday, and that the airliner was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists. He called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine, where he said heavily armed and trained separatists receive Russian support.

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Ukraine
6:40 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

U.S. Officials: Malaysian Airliner Likely Shot Down

A woman at Kuala Lumpur International Airport reacts to news of crash. The flight was on its way to the Malaysian capital.
Samsul Said Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 12:31 pm

This post was last updated at 6:40 p.m. ET.

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 298 passengers and crew aboard has crashed in eastern Ukraine in an area of the country that has been wracked by a separatist insurgency.

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Ukraine
9:30 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Ukraine Says Russia Shot Down One Of Its Warplanes

A Sukhoi Su-25 single-seat, twin-engine jet aircraft with Russian markings. A similar Ukrainian jet was reportedly shot down late Wednesday.
Syritsa Mikhail ITAR-TASS/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 10:25 am

This post updated at 10:15 a.m. ET.

A Ukrainian government spokesman says one of its warplanes was shot down in the country's east by a Russian air force jet, as the U.S. and Europe stepped up sanctions on Moscow over its support of separatist rebels.

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White House
5:46 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

U.S. Sanctions Major Russian Banks And Energy Companies

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk visits forces stationed near the small city of Izyum on Wednesday.
Sergey Bobok AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 8:18 am

President Obama outlined a new package of sanctions against Russian firms and individuals on Wednesday.

"These sanctions are significant but also targeted," Obama said. "Russia will see that its actions in Ukraine have consequences."

The administration targeted large banks, as well as energy and defense firms. The sanctions stopped short of covering entire sectors of the Russian economy.

Obama said they were designed to inflict pain on Russia without harming U.S. companies or the nation's allies.

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End of the World?
11:58 am
Wed July 16, 2014

A Huge New Crater Is Found In Siberia, And The Theories Fly

Aerial footage posted online shows a large crater in northern Siberia, in an area called "the end of the world."
YouTube

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 12:46 pm

The area of Russia is said to be called, ominously enough, the end of the world. And that's where researchers are headed this week, to investigate a large crater whose appearance reportedly caught scientists by surprise. The crater is estimated at 262 feet wide and is in the northern Siberian area of Yamal.

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Ukraine
7:31 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Reports Of New Fighting Rattle Ukraine's Truce As Kerry Urges Russia To Help

A man who lives in Ukraine's Donetsk region shows part of a shell that exploded in the yard of his house Wednesday, after a reported mortar attack by Ukrainian government forces Tuesday. The area is under a tense cease-fire that will expire Friday.
Dmitry Lovetsky AP

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 5:50 pm

An exchange of mortar fire has been reported in eastern Ukraine, where government troops and pro-Russian separatist forces had been observing an uneasy cease-fire in the past week. The news comes as Secretary of State John Kerry says Russia could face sanctions if it doesn't help end the violence.

Russian state news media are reporting explosions near the airport in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, where the armed groups reportedly absorbed and returned mortar fire. Similar clashes were reported earlier this week.

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Military Readiness
8:43 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Obama Seeks $1 Billion To Boost U.S. Military Presence In Europe

President Obama and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk at a meeting in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday.
Radek Pietruszka EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 6:45 pm

President Obama said today [Tuesday] that he wants to boost the U.S. military presence in Europe amid simmering tensions with Russia over its actions in Ukraine.

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Ukraine
10:22 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Downed Ukraine Helicopter Had General On Board; 14 Die In Attack

Black smoke rises from the spot where a Ukrainian army helicopter was shot down outside Slovyansk, Ukraine, on Thursday. Rebels shot the craft down amid heavy fighting around the eastern city.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 3:16 pm

Militants in Ukraine shot down a military helicopter near the eastern city of Slovyansk Wednesday, killing 14 soldiers that included an Army general. The incident comes days after Ukraine stepped up its operations against pro-Russian rebels this week.

From Kiev, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports for our Newscast unit:

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Ukraine
7:52 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Ukraine Retakes Airport, After Airstrikes And Dozens Of Deaths

A pro-Russian fighter takes position behind a car as a truck full of rebel fighters heads toward a battle with Ukrainian forces near the airport in Donetsk Monday. The rebels say more than 30 of their number were killed in the violence.
Fabio Bucciarelli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 7:52 am

Pro-Russian rebels who had taken over an international airport in Donetsk have been pushed back, Ukraine's government says. Violent clashes erupted Monday and Tuesday; at least 35 people have died.

From Kiev, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports for our Newscast unit:

"The battle for Donetsk airport appears to symbolize the government's tougher stance on the pro-Russian insurgents in the east. Using fighter jets and helicopter gunships, the military says it has retaken control of the airport, though rebels dispute that claim.

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Ukraine
8:34 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Ukrainian Soldiers Killed In Attack By Separatists

Ukrainian soldiers inspect the site of a gunfight near the village of Blahodatne in eastern Ukraine Thursday. At least 11 Ukrainian troops were killed and about 30 others were wounded when Pro-Russians attacked a military checkpoint.
Ivan Sekretarev AP

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 2:44 pm

Pro-Russian separatists attacked a military checkpoint in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, killing at least 13 soldiers and wounding about 30, according to Ukraine's acting prime minister. The country is preparing to hold national elections on Sunday.

A separatist commander told The Associated Press that one of his men also died.

The attack took place near the village of Blahodatne in Donetsk, one of two main areas in eastern Ukraine where separatists say they want to break away from the country and its interim government.

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Ukraine Crisis
5:25 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Former Ambassador To Russia: Putin Has No Master Plan For Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, second right, speaks with U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul during a walk in Moscow's Red Square in May 2013.
Mladen Antonov AP

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 8:02 pm

When Russian President Vladimir Putin started vilifying the U.S., and state-controlled media took his cue, Michael McFaul was portrayed as one of the American villains. McFaul was the American ambassador to Russia from January 2012 to February of this year. He planned to leave just after the Sochi Olympics, which ended up coinciding with the Ukrainian Parliament voting to remove President Viktor Yanukovych from office, leading to Russia's annexation of Crimea.

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Ukraine Crisis
3:49 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Russia's Energy Giant Turns Up The Heat On Ukraine

A monument to Ukrainian writer Taras Shevchenko is silhouetted against a sign advertising Russia's natural gas giant Gazprom in Moscow. Gazprom has dramatically increased the price it charges Ukraine in recent months.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 7:59 pm

If Russia was aiming to target one of Ukraine's vulnerabilities, natural gas would be the bull's-eye. Ukraine gets about 60 percent of its gas from Russia.

Clifford Gaddy, a Russia specialist at the Brookings Institution, says as the dispute between the two countries grows, Moscow is more willing to use natural gas as a weapon.

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Ukraine
7:56 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Separatists Vote To Split From Ukraine; Russia 'Respects' Decision

In the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk, the "chairman of the Central Election Commission" Alexander Malykhin shows a document with the results of a referendum outside the regional state administration building Monday. He said voters had chosen to leave Ukraine.
Dimitar Dilkoff AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 7:01 pm

A referendum on independence from Ukraine shows strong support for secession, according to separatist leaders in the districts where Sunday's vote was held. Kiev and Western governments say the vote is illegitimate.

Russia, which has been accused of orchestrating the unrest in eastern Ukraine, says it "respects the expression of will of the population of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions." But the Kremlin's statement also called for dialogue with Kiev, not violence.

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Iron Will
7:34 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Russia Shows Off Military In Red Square Victory Day Parade

Russian soldiers march in Moscow's Red Square during Friday's Victory Day parade, a show of military might amid tensions in Ukraine following Moscow's annexation of Crimea.
Kirill Kudryavtsev AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 10:08 am

It's a day for patriots in Russia, where the country is celebrating Victory Day to commemorate the World War II defeat of Nazi Germany. A parade of troops, tanks and missile launchers made its way through Red Square to mark the occasion.

"It is a holiday when an overwhelming force of patriotism triumphs, when all of us feel particularly acutely what it means to be loyal to the motherland and how important it is to defend its interests," President Vladimir Putin said.

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Ukraine Crisis
10:38 am
Sun May 4, 2014

Ukraine: Pro-Russia Crowd Surrounds Police Station In Odessa

Participants at a rally attack a police station in Odessa as they demand the release of people arrested after recent street battles between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian supporters in the Black Sea port city.
Gleb Garanich Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sun May 4, 2014 4:50 pm

Urging the release of separatists detained during Friday's unrest that left dozens dead, more than 100 pro-Russia activists surrounded a police station in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa Sunday.

Update at 4:30 p.m. ET: More Activists Released

Police in Odessa say 67 pro-Russia activists were freed Sunday.

CNN quotes the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's website:

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Ukraine Crisis
5:19 pm
Sat May 3, 2014

Russia Condemns Ukraine With Comparisons To Nazis

Ukrainian soldiers stand at a checkpoint they seized Friday morning in the eastern Ukrainian village of Andreevka. The Russian government has referred to Ukraine's interim government and other Ukrainian groups as "fascists" and "neo-Nazis."
Vasily Maximov AFP/Getty Images

The Ukrainian government is describing its offensive against pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country as an "anti-terrorist operation," language that offends the separatists and Russia.

In turn, Russia is using even stronger language, saying that the Ukrainian military has launched a "punitive operation." While that may not carry any special meaning to Western ears, it has far more sinister implications for Russians.

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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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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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