Russia

Ukraine
8:08 am
Sun March 2, 2014

Kerry Will Travel To Kiev Amid Escalating Crisis

Ukrainian military personnel stand guard in the Crimean port city of Feodosia on Sunday. Ukraine is mobilizing for war, calling up reserve troops.
Thomas Peter Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 8:12 pm

This post was updated at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who has described Moscow's military intervention in the Crimea an "incredible act of aggression," will travel to Ukraine's capital on Tuesday to meet with the country's embattled government.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement late Sunday that Kerry "will meet with senior representatives of Ukraine's new government, leaders of the Rada [Ukraine's parliament], and members of the civil society."

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Ukraine
8:42 am
Sat March 1, 2014

Russia's Parliament Approves Putin's Call For Troops In Ukraine

Young people look at pro-Russian armed men blocking access to the Ukrainian frontier guard base in Balaklava, a small city not far from Sevastopol, on Saturday.
Viktor Drachev AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 1, 2014 6:32 pm

This post was updated at 4:50 p.m. ET.

Russia's parliament has unanimously approved a request by President Vladimir Putin to authorize the intervention of Moscow's forces in Ukraine until "the normalization of the political situation" there. In response, Ukraine put its own forces on alert and warned that a Russian invasion would spark war between the two countries.

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White House
5:39 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Obama Warns Russia Against Using Force In Ukraine

President Obama spoke about the Ukraine crisis Friday afternoon, saying, "The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine."
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 10:46 pm

Saying that the United States is "deeply concerned" by reports that Russia is taking military action in Ukraine, President Obama urged Russia not to intervene in the destabilized country, where tensions have reached new highs this week.

Obama said that he had spoken to Russia's President Putin in recent days, to foster cooperation in coping with the situation.

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Ukraine
7:10 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Ukraine Crisis: New Government Takes Shape As Crimea Simmers

Flags fly outside the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol on Thursday during a rally by pro-Russian protesters. Gunmen seized government buildings in the city.
David Mdzinarishvili Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 1:58 pm

  • On the NPR Newscast: Peter Kenyon reports from Kiev
We're adding updates throughout this post as the day continues.

Tensions continue to rise in Ukraine, where months of public protests led last week to the downfall of President Viktor Yanukovych's government. His opponents are now installing pro-Western ministers to replace the pro-Russian leaders who worked for Yanukovych. The interim government is expected to be in charge at least until new elections can be held, perhaps in late May.

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Winter Olympics
4:14 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

The History Of A Once And Future World-Class Resort

People watch the sunset Monday while standing under the Olympic rings hanging outside a train station in Sochi, Russia.
Jae C. Hong AP

President Vladimir Putin isn't the first Russian leader to try to create a world-class resort in Sochi. That story is told in one of Sochi's best attractions, an excellent city history museum.

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Ukraine
7:04 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Breakthrough? Ukrainian President, Opposition Leaders Reach Deal

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (right) and opposition leader Vitali Klitschko shake hands Friday after signing an agreement that diplomats hope will end the bloodshed in Kiev.
Tim Brakemeier EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 6:52 pm

We're updating this post as the day continues.

In what could be a major move toward ending the violence in the streets of his capital, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and leaders of the anti-government opposition reached agreement Friday on a deal to hold new elections, form a unity government and restore a constitution drafted in 2004.

Some details have yet to be spelled out. But the BBC sums up the news this way:

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Winter Olympics
2:07 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Sochi Was Once A Vacation Spot Fit For A Dictator

A wax sculpture of Stalin sits behind the desk he used at the dacha. From the time he first began to visit the villa, Stalin was signing death warrants for his rivals — and living in fear of retribution.
Natalia Kolesnikova AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 8:02 pm

Long before it became an Olympic host city, Sochi was a favorite getaway for one of history's most ruthless dictators: Josef Stalin.

The Soviet leader had a villa built in the hills overlooking the Black Sea, and he visited it during some of the most tumultuous years of his reign.

The villa, known as Stalin's dacha, or summer house, was built in 1934, and he used it until the end of World War II in 1945. No Soviet or Russian leader after Stalin is known to have visited it.

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Ukraine
7:06 am
Thu February 20, 2014

World's Outrage Grows As Death Toll Rises In Kiev

An injured man is carried away Thursday after more clashes between anti-government protesters and police in Kiev.
Yannis Behrakis Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 7:46 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Kiev

This post is being updated as the day continues.

Just hours after a truce was declared, deadly clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces broke out again in Ukraine's capital.

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Winter Olympics
9:45 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Finnished! Russian Hockey Team Bounced Out Of Olympics

Russian fans who gathered in Sochi's Olympic Park react with dismay as they watch a broadcast of the ice hockey match between Russia and Finland.
Shamil Zhumatov Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 7:33 pm

"Uskotko ihmeisiin?"

No, this isn't exactly a "do you believe in miracles?" bit of history for Finland, but its men's hockey team just produced a moment-to-remember at the Sochi Games.

Finland beat Russia 3-1, bouncing the home team out of the tournament.

As NPR's Robert Smith has reported, there was tremendous pressure on Alex Ovechkin and his Russian teammates to win gold in Sochi.

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Winter Olympics
11:11 am
Sat February 15, 2014

U.S. Men's Ice Hockey Beats Russia In Preliminary Round

Russian President Vladimir Putin claps during the third period of a men's ice hockey game between the USA and Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics, on Saturday in Sochi, Russia.
Petr David Josek AP

The U.S. Olympic ice hockey team beat Russia 3-2 on the ice at the Sochi Games in a heart-stopping sudden-death shootout.

Although only a preliminary round, the contest was reminiscent of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" at the Lake Placid Games when a group of American college players beat the formidable Soviet team in what became a touchstone of Cold War Olympic rivalry.

T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues scored the game-winning point in the eighth round of the shootout that ended the clash among some of international hockey's best players.

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Winter Olympics
4:28 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Plushenko Retires After Olympic Withdrawal

Evgeni Plushenko of Russia withdraws from the competition after warming up during the Men's Figure Skating Short Program on day 6 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 4:34 pm

Evgeni Plushenko’s Olympics are over. His competitive career, too. The Russian star retired Thursday just after he withdrew from the men’s event at the Sochi Olympics for medical reasons.

The 31-year-old Plushenko is the only modern-era figure skater to win medals in four Olympics. He helped Russia win the team gold over the weekend.

“I think it’s God saying, `Evgeni, enough, enough with skating,”‘ said Plushenko, who originally was hurt in a training session Wednesday. “Age, it’s OK. But I have 12 surgeries. I’d like to be healthy.”

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Winter Olympics
12:27 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Russian Star Plushenko Withdraws From Men's Skating

Evgeni Plushenko of Russia withdrew from the Sochi Olympics on Thursday, reportedly because of a recurring problem with his back.
Ivan Sekretarev AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 2:38 pm

Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko, a star who hoped to compete one more time before his adoring home nation fans, pulled himself from the games on Thursday.

There's word that he may be headed into retirement because of a recurring back problem.

USA Today describes what happened at Sochi's Iceberg Palace:

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Hockey
7:29 am
Thu February 13, 2014

In Front Of A Home Crowd, Russia Has Hockey History On Its Mind

Russia forward Alexander Ovechkin steps out onto the ice Thursday before a match against Slovenia. The Russians won 5-2. On Saturday, they'll meet Team USA.
Mark Humphrey AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 3:07 pm

There is a weird contradiction in Olympic hockey: On one hand, these professional players from the NHL arrive in a small town like movie stars.

They show up a week late, trailed by TV cameras and Russians begging for autographs.

And then they have to go back to basics. Early Thursday, members of Team USA were on the ice, doing the kind of simple drills that you'd see in a peewee hockey league.

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Winter Olympics
2:03 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

So Far At The Games, A Low-Key Response To Russia's Anti-Gay Law

Cheryl Maas of the Netherlands, after her second run in the women's snowboard slopestyle semifinal in Sochi on Sunday.
Sergey Ilnitsky EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 4:26 pm

Leading up to the Olympics in Sochi, a dominant storyline was Russia's anti-gay propaganda law and what it might mean for athletes and other visitors. Would athletes protest in any way? Would Russian LGBT activists try to demonstrate against the propaganda law at the Olympics?

The answers (so far, at least) are: barely, and not really.

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Winter Olympics
9:47 pm
Sat February 8, 2014

Olympic Guests Find Comfort Zones In First Day Of Games

Visitors to Olympic Park stroll around the base of the Olympic flame at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Saturday.
Julie Jacobson AP

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 3:14 pm

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Winter Olympics
12:40 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

4 Gay Activists Arrested In Russia As Olympics Kick Off

Gay rights activists carry rainbow flags as they march during a May Day rally in St. Petersburg, Russia, in May of 2013.
Dmitry Lovetsky AP

Police in St. Petersburg, Russia, arrested four gay activists who unfurled a banner quoting the Olympic Charter's ban on discrimination, the Associated Press is reporting.

The protesters, reports the wire service, "gathered on St. Petersburg's Vasilyevsky Island, [and] were quickly rounded up by police, according to Natalia Tsymbalova, a local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activist."

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Winter Olympics
7:29 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Sochi's Stray Dogs Melt Hearts, And Put Officials On Defensive

Olympic volunteers pet a stray dog in downtown Sochi, Russia, on Tuesday. The city's long-standing contract with a pest control company has animal right groups concerned about the fate of the many strays roaming the area.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:28 pm

It's after dark in Sochi, and a pack of stray dogs is hogging the sidewalk like they own the place. There are a dachshund mix, several random mutts and one dog that looks like it may be part chow. They're cute and look like pets; seemingly well-fed and with decent pedigrees.

That is, until a fight breaks out. It's loud but ultimately more dog park than street fight, and the dogs quickly get back to prancing around and eating abandoned leftovers.

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Winter Olympics
6:29 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

In Sochi, An Olympic Artist Sees The 'Possible'

Artist Marc Ahr has been drawing at all the Olympic Games since 1992, but for him, Sochi is special.
Sam Sanders NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:50 pm

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Russia
11:08 am
Tue February 4, 2014

U.S. Ambassador To Russia Will Resign After Olympics

Michael A. McFaul.
U.S. Embassy in Moscow

The United States ambassador to Russia says he will leave his post after the conclusion of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

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Eastern Europe
8:32 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Sen. Murphy on Ukraine's "Turn for the Worse"

A line of protesters in Kiev on January 20, 2014.
Credit Mstyslav Chernov / Creative Commons

Protests in Ukraine have turned violent between anti-government demonstrators and the police. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy visited that country last month to meet with both sides.

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Demonstrations in Kiev
7:28 am
Thu January 23, 2014

In Ukraine, Protesters Warn They'll Go 'On The Attack'

A protester walks pass burning tires in central Kiev, Ukraine, on Thursday.
Sergei Grits AP

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 8:24 pm

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has less than 24 hours to agree to hold early elections and lift anti-protest laws or the tens of thousands of demonstrators who have been in the streets of Kiev for days will go "on the attack," a leader of the opposition says.

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Olympics
3:03 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Russia Aims To Implement The Tightest Security In Olympic History

Police officers with dogs walk along a street in Sochi, Russia, on Jan. 6. The presence of security personnel has ramped up recently ahead of the Winter Olympics.
Kyodo /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:55 am

With less than a month to go before the Winter Games, Russian officials are putting the finishing touches on what they say will be the tightest Olympic security in history.

After a spate of deadly terrorist attacks in the region, the authorities are deploying high-tech surveillance equipment and tens of thousands of troops in Sochi, the host city on the Black Sea.

Sochi is unique among the cities hosting the Winter Games because it has the mild climate of a seaside resort, but it's less than an hour away from the snow-capped mountains of the North Caucasus.

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Revolutionary Christmas
11:35 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Connecticut Ukrainians Celebrate Christmas With Protests in Their Thoughts

A line of riot police under heavy snow in Kiev on December 9, 2013.
Credit Mstyslav Chernov/Unframe / Creative Commons

As Ukrainian Christmas celebrations get underway, the recent political protests in Kiev have been on the forefront of some people's minds this holiday season.

On-going rallies have been held at Independence Square in Kiev in opposition to President Viktor Yanukovych's stand with Russia. Protesters want their former Soviet-country to sign an economic deal with the European Union.

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Where We Live
8:05 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

Old Tension, New Turmoil for Ukraine

Protestors at Independence Square in Kiev during the Orange Revolution in 2004.
Credit Marion Duimel / Creative Commons

The Cold War is over – but some political relationships in the former Soviet Union remain tense. On Where We Live, we explain the latest turmoil in Ukraine as Russia and the European Union are pulling Ukraine in opposite directions. We're joined by experts and a member of Connecticut's Ukrainian community about to discuss what's happening and why.

Plus, we follow up on a recent show about distracted driving.

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Russia
6:58 am
Mon December 30, 2013

'Blood On The Snow' After Second Suicide Blast In Russia

A woman wiped away tears Monday in Volgograd, Russia, after the second suicide bombing in that city in the past two days.
Denis Tyrin AP

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 3:42 pm

  • From the NPR Newscast: Second attack in Volgograd
  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Corey Flintoff reports about the bombings in Volgograd

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Russia
12:13 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Reports: Mikhail Kalashnikov, Inventor Of AK-47, Dies

Mikhail Kalashnikov, with his AK-47, in 2002.
Jens Meyer ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mikhail Kalashnikov, whose name will forever be connected to one of the world's most popular and deadly weapons, has died, according to news reports from Russia.

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International ties
8:26 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Alexei Navalny Faces New Indictment

Alexei Navalny in 2011.
Credit Никита Баталов / Creative Commons

Russian investigators have charged Alexei Navalny with a new crime. Navalny is a Russian opposition leader with ties to Yale University.

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Arctic Sunrise
2:01 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

No Longer "Pirates," Greenpeace Activists Charged With "Hooliganism"

Russian authorities arrested the crew of the Arctic Sunrise last month.
Credit Greenpeace

The main investigative agency in Russia says it has dropped piracy charges against jailed Greenpeace activists. Captain Peter Willcox of Norwalk and 27 other activists have been charged with "hooliganism" instead.

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2:40 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Greenpeace Captain in Russian Custody Speaks With His Wife

Lead in text: 
Peter Willcox of Norwalk spoke with his wife, Maggy Willcox, for the first time Monday since his arrest by Russian authorities on a piracy charge. This improves on her previous communication with him, which was an email saying the Russians were taking over his ship.
  • Source: Fw
Read More: http://fw.to
Oil Drilling Protest
7:59 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Connecticut Man Among "Arctic 30" Still Held in Russia

The seized Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise.
Credit Greenpeace

With Tom Hanks getting good reviews for his portrayal of a ship captain taken over by Somali pirates, it might be a good time to note that there could be a future Hollywood script being written right now in the Russian port city of Murmansk. 

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