Sunday, February 8, 2015

Ukraine Peace Talks Gather Momentum as 4-Way Summit Planned | 'Last Chance' Ukraine-Russia Peace Deal To Be Decided Upon Next Week - Forbes | "Who is Mr. Putin?" The ongoing Ukraine conflict has breathed new life into a question that has long stumped Western policymakers and analysts. | Putin's reported distance-diagnosis as having Asperger's syndrome makes him the latest in a long line of Russian rulers whose actions the world has sought to explain as being the result of an ailment.



How the U.S. Struggles to Crack Putin Code

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"Who is Mr. Putin?" The ongoing Ukraine conflict has breathed new life into a question that has long stumped Western policymakers and analysts.

Five Russian Rulers the World Has Sought to Diagnose 

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Putin's reported distance-diagnosis as having Asperger's syndrome makes him the latest in a long line of Russian rulers whose actions the world has sought to explain as being the result of an ailment.

Ukraine Peace Talks Gather Momentum as 4-Way Summit Planned 

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As Russian-backed separatists gain ground in eastern Ukraine, efforts to broker peace appeared to gain momentum Sunday, with leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine announcing plans for four-way talks this week.
The proposed meeting Wednesday in the Belarusian capital of Minsk emerged from a phone call between German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
The aim is to revive the much-violated peace plan both sides agreed to in Minsk last September, and end a war that has now killed more than 5,300 people according to United Nations estimates.
Although the United States won’t be at the negotiating table, a growing clamor in Washington to arm Ukraine will be on the minds of those present in Minsk. U.S. officials have said President Barack Obama is rethinking his previous opposition to sending weapons to Ukraine, despite fears of triggering a proxy war between Washington and Moscow.
While senior diplomats from the four countries meet in Berlin to prepare for the summit, Merkel is expected to brief U.S. officials in Washington on Monday during a previously scheduled trip.
“It’s a fortuitous coincidence that Merkel is going to Washington and whatever she does, Obama will be informed,” said Volker Perthes, director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. The threat of U.S. arms shipments won’t harm the talks, he added, although “if the diplomatic efforts fail then the option to ship arms becomes more likely.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was keen Sunday to dispel the notion of a trans-Atlantic rift, saying U.S. and its European allies are “united in our diplomacy” on Ukraine. Speaking at an international security conference in Munich, he said the U.S. supports the efforts by France and Germany.
“There is no division, there is no split,” Kerry said. “I keep hearing people trying to create one. We are united, we are working closely together.”
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, speaking alongside Kerry, said he considers delivering weapons “not just highly risky but counterproductive.”
But Republican Sen. John McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, insisted in Munich that “we must provide defensive arms to Ukraine.”
“If we help Ukrainians increase the military cost to the Russian forces that have invaded their country, how long can Putin sustain a war that he tells his people is not happening?”
Aside from the military cost, Russia has also been struggling with the economic impact of western sanctions and low global oil prices.
While Ukraine’s Poroshenko raised the possibility that Wednesday’s summit could provide a breakthrough after months of futile diplomacy, Putin insisted Sunday that the four-way meeting would only happen if they agree on key points beforehand.
“We will be aiming for Wednesday, if by that time we are able to agree on a number of the positions that we recently have been discussing intensely,” he told journalists in Sochi during a meeting with the president of Belarus.
Details of the proposals have not been revealed, but the main sticking points have emerged in the leaders’ recent comments.
One is enforcing a peace deal. In Munich, Poroshenko expressed opposition to any peacekeeper force, apparently reflecting concern that sending Russian peacekeeping troops into eastern Ukraine could result in a de-facto occupation.
However, key to a real settlement is some mechanism for monitoring the Ukraine-Russia border to ensure that Russia is not sending troops or equipment to the separatists. Ukrainian officials would have the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe conduct such monitoring.
The status of the eastern regions remains contentious. Ukraine passed a law last year proposing what it called significant autonomy for the east, but rebels dismissed it as vague and meaningless. Russia has pushed for “federalization” of Ukraine, which would presumably give the east significant independence, but Ukrainian authorities oppose any federalization.
How to separate the belligerents also remains unclear. The Minsk agreement in September foresaw each side pulling back its heavy weapons 15 kilometers (more than 9 miles) from the lines of engagement. But the rebels have taken control of more territory since then, implying that a new buffer zone would have to be mapped.
Kiev is refusing to allow the separatists a place at the top-level talks. Instead, their representatives would join a parallel meeting, to be held by Wednesday in Minsk, between the signatories to last September’s accord.
 
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Washington Week: Focus on Ukraine Crisis

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The coming week will see continued focus on the crisis in Ukraine, beginning with President Barack Obama hosting German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House later Monday. It remains to be seen whether a renewed international push for peace in Ukraine will bear fruit, and whether the United States will send lethal military assistance to Kyiv.

Washington Week: Focus on Ukraine Crisis 

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Originally published at - http://www.voanews.com/media/video/washington-week-focus-on-ukraine-crisis/2633976.html.
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Leaders scramble to avert 'dramatic spiral' in Ukraine

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MUNICH (Reuters) - The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France agreed to meet in Belarus on Wednesday to try to broker a peace deal for Ukraine amid escalating violence there and signs of cracks in the transatlantic consensus on confronting Vladimir Putin.
  

Homeland Security Chief Johnson: Terrorist Sleeper Cells in US Now - Newsmax.com

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Homeland Security Chief Johnson: Terrorist Sleeper Cells in US Now
Newsmax.com
There are individuals living in the United States today who have contact with the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) and other terrorist groups who have "a desire to conduct an attack" on U.S. soil, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Sunday on CNN's ...

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Egypt Sets Retrial Date for 2 Al Jazeera Journalists

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Egyptian authorities have set February 12 as the start of the retrial for the two remaining jailed Al Jazeera journalists. A lawyer for one of the journalists made the announcement Sunday. Egyptian journalist Baher Mohamed and Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy were sentenced last year to 10 and seven years in jail, respectively. Their retrial was ordered last month. They were arrested with Australian Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste in December 2013 under charges they aided the...

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Homeland Security Chief Says 30000 Will Be Furloughed If Department Shuts ... - Huffington Post

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Sacramento Bee

Homeland Security Chief Says 30000 Will Be Furloughed If Department Shuts ...
Huffington Post
WASHINGTON -- Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on Sunday that he would have to furlough at least 30,000 workers if Congress does not agree to fund his department by the end of February. “This is not a situation to make light of,” Johnson ...
Jeh Johnson: Furloughs coming at DHS if funding stallsCNN
FACT CHECK: What happens if Homeland Security shuts down?The Daily Progress
Pisani: Market lacking enthusiasmNBCNews.com

all 33 news articles »

West presses Putin to back 'last-chance' Ukraine peace bid

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Western leaders challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin Saturday to prove he wants peace in Ukraine, warning both sides a new Franco-German peace drive may be a "last chance" to stop all-out war.

Two al-Jazeera journalists to face new trial in Egypt

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Decision is a blow to Canadian Mohamed Fahmy but a boost to Egyptian Baher Mohamed, after release of Peter Greste
Egyptian officials have announced unexpectedly that the colleagues of the freed Australian journalist Peter Greste will face a new trial on Thursday, dashing hopes that at least one of them would follow him to freedom sooner.
Greste’s Canadian colleague Mohamed Fahmy was expected to be deported home to Toronto in the days after Greste’s release, and the Canadian foreign minister claimed that his deportation was imminent.
Continue reading...

Prince Charles to tell Saudi king to halt blogger's flogging: report

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Prince Charles will intervene in the case of a jailed Saudi blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes and urge Saudi Arabia's new king to halt the punishment, the Mail on Sunday newspaper reported.






  

Moment Bruce Jenner crashed into car of '69-year-old woman' killed in pile-up

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The woman who died in a four-car crash on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, Los Angeles, involving Bruce Jenner, is believed to be Kim Howe - a neighbour of the Kardashians.

Deluded and dysfunctional, the Republicans have lost the plot

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They may have won Congress, but an instinct for obstinacy means the party is now fighting itself
Recently, in an effort to embarrass Republicans pandering to their scientifically challenged base, Senate Democrats proposed a series of votes on climate change. While most Americans and the overwhelming majority of scientists believe climate change is real and people are the primary cause of it, Republican voters are evenly divided on whether it exists at all, and reject the idea that we are responsible.
One amendment, by the Democratic senator Brian Schatz, stated simply that climate change is real and human activity significantly contributes to it. Republican senator John Hoeven offered acompromise: take the word “significantly” out. When asked why, he said: “It was about finding that balance that would bring bipartisan support to the bill.”
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Former Fed Chair Greenspan Predicts Greece Will Leave Euro

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Greece will eventually be forced to leave the eurozone and switch to a new currency, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan told the BBC.
“I don’t see that it helps them to be in the Euro and I certainly don’t see that it helps the rest of the eurozone,” he said in a radio interview. “I think it’s just a matter of time before everyone recognizes that parting is the best strategy.”
The former official added that he doesn’t believe anyone would be willing to lend Greece the money to avoid an exit.
Greece’s newly-elected prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, won his job promising that he would renegotiate the terms of his country’s debt with the powers that be in Brussels, the financial center of the eurozone, and Germany, the eurozone’s largest economy.
For its part, Germany has remained steadfast in its refusal to loosen the terms of a 240 billion Euro bailout given to Greece in 2013.
The impact of a “Grexit” on the global economy is unclear, though many economists believe it would badly rupture the Eurozone.

Economic crisis may last in Russia - The Detroit News

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Economic crisis may last in Russia
The Detroit News
Garage sales have long been a rarity here, where a decade of boom times has turned Russiansinto some of the world's biggest gourmands and luxury shoppers. But frugality is making a comeback — with no end in sight to Western sanctions or the painful ...

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Europe pushes ahead with Ukraine peace talks

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Merkel flies to Washington for Obama meeting

РФ может рассмотреть возврат к прежним форматам контактов с НАТО при её готовности — Сергей Лавров - Красноярские новости - krasnews.com

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РФ может рассмотреть возврат к прежним форматам контактов с НАТО при её готовности — Сергей Лавров
Красноярские новости - krasnews.com
Министр иностранных дел России Сергей Лавров заявил, что Москва может рассматривать вопросы возвращения к прежним форматам контактов с НАТО, как только альянс будет к этому готов. «Когда НАТО будет готова, я думаю, мы тоже рассмотрим возможность возвращения к этим ...

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Время Свободы - План на неделю: Аплодисменты и насмешки конференции в Мюнхене - 08 февраля, 2015

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Итоги Мюнхенской конференции по безопасности, главной темой которой стал конфликт на Украине. Политики Евросоюза обсудят возможность введения новых санкций против Москвы. 11 февраля суд в Амстердаме примет решение по иску зарубежной компании YUKOS Int. UK к "Роснефти". "Судебная неделя" Алексея Навального. 12 февраля Басманный суд Москвы определит, законно ли Мустафе Джемилеву отказали в праве въехать в Россию. И в ночь с 13 на 14 февраля исполнится 70 лет тотальному уничтожению немецкого Дрездена авиацией союзников.



Download audio: http://realaudio.rferl.org/RU/2015/02/08/20150208-170000-RU-program.mp3

Munich highlights splits on arming Ukraine

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US and Europe divided on question of sending weapons to Kiev
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Merkel to meet Obama over Ukraine

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Chancellor’s shuttle diplomacy continues as calls mount for arming Kiev

This time Minsk must be made to work

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The frantic diplomatic efforts by Germany and France are critical

As Debaltseve Residents Try to Flee, the Window Closes

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For seven months, the Ukrainian town of Debaltseve, northeast of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, has been battered by shelling from rebel forces on all sides.






In Eastern Ukraine, Desperation and Destruction in a Contested City 

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Debaltseve, a crucial rail junction, has become the main focus of combat in eastern Ukraine, and has been battered by shelling from rebel forces eager to control it.






Порошенко провел телефонный разговор с главой европейской дипломатии - BFM.Ru

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РИА Новости

Порошенко провел телефонный разговор с главой европейской дипломатии
BFM.Ru
Президент Украины Петр Порошенко провел телефонный разговор с главой европейской дипломатии Федерикой Могерини, сообщается на сайте украинского президента. Собеседники «обсудили международные усилия для мирного урегулирования ситуации в Донбассе. В частности, ...
Порошенко и Могерини скоординировали позиции накануне Совета ЕСРБК
Порошенко и Могерини скоординировали позиции перед Советом ЕСГазета.Ru
Порошенко и Могерини сверили часыУкраинское национальное информагентство
ЛІГА.net
Все похожие статьи: 48 »

УНИАН: генпрокурор Украины Виталий Ярема написал заявление об отставке - Коммерсантъ

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РИА Новости Украина

УНИАН: генпрокурор Украины Виталий Ярема написал заявление об отставке
Коммерсантъ
Генеральный прокурор Украины Виталий Ярема написал заявление об отставке, утверждает 8 февраля информагентство УНИАН, ссылаясь на анонимный источник. «Генеральный прокурор Украины Виталий Ярема после критики в Верховной раде, в частности, и от “Блока Петра ...
СМИ: генпрокурор Украины Виталий Ярема написал заявление об отставкеРИА Новости
СМИ сообщили о намерении генпрокурора Украины уйти в отставкуРБК
Ярема написал заявление об отставке - СМИУНИАН
РБК Украина -ПрессОРГ24 - Новости Украины
Все похожие статьи: 14 »
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НАТО поддерживает силовое решение конфликта на Донбассе - Trans-Port

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НАТО поддерживает силовое решение конфликта на Донбассе
Trans-Port
Об этом заявил в субботу в Мюнхене верховный главнокомандующий силами НАТО в Европе генерал Филипп Бридлав, пишет Spiegel Online. Представители НАТО не исключают военный вариант разрешения конфликта в Донецкой и Луганской областях Украины. Бридлав подчеркнул, ...

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Putin says Russia will never succumb to unipolar world order - Press TV

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Press TV

Putin says Russia will never succumb to unipolar world order
Press TV
Russian president says his country will never accept a world order which is headed by one single government. Vladimir Putin on Saturday said Moscow will oppose a unipolar world order where an undisputed leader imposes his own will on the world.
Russia's Putin says will not wage war on anyoneReuters
Biden says Europeans questioning Russia sanctions 'inappropriate, annoying ...RT
Putin Denies Russia's Intent to Cause War, Vows to 'Cooperate With All'TheBlaze.com
New York Times
all 566 news articles »

Сорос: ЕС рискует потерять Украину - Телеграф

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Телеграф

Сорос: ЕС рискует потерять Украину
Телеграф
В этом обвинил американский миллиардер Джордж Сорос Евросоюз, выступая на Мюнхенской конференции по безопасности в субботу, передает Укринформ. “Европа не выполнила финансовые обещания… Вы обещали помочь и не помогли”, - упрекнул Сорос европейских лидеров, ...

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Teacher quits Muslim school he claimed was riddled with Islamism and anti-Semitism

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A French philosophy teacher has resigned from one of the country’s only state-funded Muslim schools, claiming it promoted “Islamism” and was riddled with anti-Semitism.

Putin: 'There's no war, thank God.' - Business Insider

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Business Insider

Putin: 'There's no war, thank God.'
Business Insider
putin REUTERS/Alexei Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti/Kremlin Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) attends a show, dedicated to the first anniversary of the opening of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi February 7, 2015.
Putin says Russia will never succumb to unipolar world orderPress TV
Russia's Putin says will not wage war on anyoneYahoo News 
Biden says Europeans questioning Russia sanctions 'inappropriate, annoying ...RT

New York Times 
all 492
 
TheBlaze.com-RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
all 165 news articles »

Ukraine crisis: Russia must be told to endorse the ceasefire - or we'll arm ... - The Independent

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The Independent

Ukraine crisis: Russia must be told to endorse the ceasefire - or we'll arm ...
The Independent
Putin's deal with the Russian people is based on a guarantee of order, prosperity and the restoration of Russia's weight in world affairs, in exchange for their willingness to give up some of the freedoms they gained at the end of the 1990s. The deal ...
US Senators Urge Obama to Arm Ukraine Against RussiaBreitbart News
Arming Ukraine Makes No Sense When Russia Is Already LosingWorld Politics Review

all 59 news articles »
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'Last Chance' Ukraine-Russia Peace Deal To Be Decided Upon Next Week - Forbes

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Forbes

'Last Chance' Ukraine-Russia Peace Deal To Be Decided Upon Next Week
Forbes
Angela Merkel, François Hollande and Vladimir Putin met in Moscow on Friday to broker new peace talks beetween Russia and Ukraine. There has been no details about the requirements for such a peace deal. One thing is certain: the E.U.-Russia talks are ...

Getting Russian troops out of Ukraine summit's top priority - Toronto Star

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Toronto Star

Getting Russian troops out of Ukraine summit's top priority
Toronto Star
As Russian fighters, said by Kyiv to number in the thousands, are deployed to support and in some cases lead separatist brigades, officials in Munich are engaged in a frantic round of meetings trying to figure out how to prevent and reverse a major ...
With weapons modernization, Russia's military ups its game as West watches ...Washington Post
NATO, Russia fail to narrow differences in Munich talksReuters
Moscow sanctions won't resolve Ukraine crisis: RussiaPress TV
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty -Newsweek -Business Insider
all 1,349 news articles »

More Ukraine Crisis Talks Scheduled

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Diplomatic efforts to defuse the conflict in eastern Ukraine continue on February 8. 

Munich conference: Russia 'hate fest' or split between Western allies? - RT

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RT

Munich conference: Russia 'hate fest' or split between Western allies?
RT
Moscow hit back, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressing in his Munich speech that it is the US and its European allies who have played the key destabilizing role in Ukraine, from helping to overthrow the democratically elected government ...
'Proxy War' With Russia Likely A Hollow ThreatForbes
Russia's Lavrov Met With Hoots, IndignationRadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Russia, West face a deep divide 08.02.2015Deutsche Welle
NBCNews.com -Carnegie Europe
all 442 news articles »

Если бы мировое сообщество уделило больше внимания Грузии, кризиса на Украине не было бы — мнение - ИА REGNUM

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Аргументы и факты

Если бы мировое сообщество уделило больше внимания Грузии, кризиса на Украине не было бы — мнение
ИА REGNUM
Премьер-министр Грузии Ираклий Гарибашвили напоминает, что до кризиса на Украине были события в Грузии, и подчеркивает, что если бы несколько лет назад мировое сообщество уделило больше внимания Грузии, то кризиса на Украине не было бы, сообщает корреспондент ИА ...
Премьер Грузии заявляет о готовности Тбилиси к диалогу с РоссиейВедомости
Россия не ответила на конструктивную и дружественную политику Грузии в том же духе - премьерapsny.ge
Премьер-министр Грузии выразил готовность провести переговоры с РоссиейГазета.Ru
Lenta.ru -Эхо Кавказа -Российская Газета
Все похожие статьи: 133 »

Red Notice and Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible review – poisonous times in Putin’s Russia 

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Two fine firsthand accounts by Bill Browder and Peter Pomerantsev expose the hidden madness gripping Moscow
The most famous firsthand accounts of Russia have come from times of great national convulsion. These were the moments when the bulldogs burst out from under the rug, and started tearing chunks out of each other, out of the room and out of random bystanders: the Bolshevik revolution; the show trials; the perestroika years; the chaotic 1990s. John Reed, Fitzroy Maclean, David Remnick and Chrystia Freeland all produced fantastic books during those periods but, as long as they stayed alive, they almost had it easy. They just needed to make sure they had enough pens and notebooks, and to keep their eyes open.
As is abundantly clear from the inquiry into the 2006 murder with polonium-210 of Alexander Litvinenko, which opened in London a fortnight ago, modern Russia still excels at extreme violence. But assassinations are far rarer now than they were 20 years ago. Vladimir Putin has managed to bring politics in-house: to urge, entice and kick the dogs back under the carpet. Having done so, he de-fanged them: the political parties, the oligarchs, the media, the courts, the Chechens. Power struggles now take place in the offices of the Kremlin, in the dachas along Moscow’s Rublevka, in palaces by the Black Sea, and on yachts on the Mediterranean. We learn who won and who lost after the fact; the Kremlinologists are back in business.
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Керри заявил, что Украине «без сомнения» будет оказана экономическая и «другая» помощь - Газета.Ru

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РИА Новости

Керри заявил, что Украине «без сомнения» будет оказана экономическая и «другая» помощь
Газета.Ru
Госсекретарь США Джон Керри заявил, что Украине «без сомнения» будет оказана экономическая и «другая» помощь для обеспечения безопасности страны. Об этом Керри заявил в интервью каналу NBC News. Госсекретарь США рассказал о помощи Украине, отвечая на вопрос ...
Керри уверен, что США окажут Украине экономическую и "другую" помощьРИА Новости
США окажут Украине дополнительную экономическую помощьРадиостанция ЭХО МОСКВЫ
Госсекретарь США: "Украина получит дополнительную помощь экономического и другого характера"NEWSru.com
BBC Russian -Тушите свет -Вести.Ru
Все похожие статьи: 59 »

Могерини: мы не знаем, сработает ли план Олланда и Меркель по Украине - РИА Новости

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РИА Новости

Могерини: мы не знаем, сработает ли план Олланда и Меркель по Украине
РИА Новости
Выступая на Мюнхенской конференции по безопасности Фредирика Могерини заявила, что у Евросоюза нет уверенности, что инициатива президента Франции Франсуа Олланда и канцлера ФРГ Ангелы Меркель по Украине сработает. Федерика Могерини. Архивное фото. © AP Photo/ ...
Могерини заявила о встрече с ближневосточным «квартетом» в воскресеньеГазета.Ru
Могерини: для решения украинского конфликта надо применять меры экономического давленияТАСС
Могерини назвала единственный вариант разрешения украинского конфликтаПолит.ру
Взгляд -Интерфакс -Российский Диалог
Все похожие статьи: 97 »

В сети появился мультфильм о выступлении Порошенко в Мюнхене - GIGAmir

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В сети появился мультфильм о выступлении Порошенко в Мюнхене
GIGAmir
В сети появился мультфильм, высмеивающий выступление президента Украины Петра Порошенко на Мюнхенской конференции по безопасности. Его автором стал житель Волгоградской области Вячеслав, известный пользователям Рунета своими сатирическими роликами о ...

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Разведка ФРГ: в конфликте на Украине погибли 50 тысяч человек - Правда.Ру

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Правда.Ру

Разведка ФРГ: в конфликте на Украине погибли 50 тысяч человек
Правда.Ру
Ошеломляющие данные публикует сегодня с своем свежем выпуске газета Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung со ссылкой на источник в немецкой разведке.Число погибших в ходе военного конфликта на востоке Украины немецкими спецслужбами оценивается уже в 50 тысяч ...
Немецкая разведка: С начала конфликта на Украине погибли 50 тысяч человекКомсомольская правда
Германская разведка: реальное число погибших на Украине — 50 тысяч человекИА REGNUM
Германская разведка: в боях на востоке Украины погибли 50 тысяч человекРадио Свобода
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Putin’s War in Ukraine has Already Claimed 50,000 Dead, German Intelligence Sources Say

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Paul Goble

 

            Staunton, February 8 – German intelligence services estimate that 50,000 people have died in the war in Ukraine so far, a figure almost ten times larger than that offered by Ukrainian or other sources, according to a report in today’s “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.” (faz.net/aktuell/politik/ausland/ukraine-sicherheitskreise-bis-zu-50-000-tote-13416132.html).

            According to the German paper, earlier figures provided by the United Nations and the Ukrainian government have understated the size of the losses and are not trustworthy. It says that its sources in German intelligence point to the fact that after major battles, each side says it lost fewer than ten fatalities when in fact there were dozens killed on both sides.

 

            The most recent Ukrainian government statements suggest that 5400 civilians and 1200 military personnel have died, while the United Nations gives as the total for both civilians and military personnel at 5400.

 

            One death from Putin’s actions in Ukraine is too many. 5400 or 6600 are horrific. But the figure of 50,000, if it only approximates the real losses, leaves one at a loss for words and forces one to ask: how many more people will have to die in Putin’s war in Ukraine before Western countries call things by their right names and respond appropriately?

 

            What has happened is an invasion. What is taking place is a war. And consequently what must happen is that the aggressor must be expelled by international pressure if possible but by military means if there is no other way. Those who have died so far and those who remain alive deserve no less than that.

 

            It is a mark of progress that Western leaders want to end the bloodshed, that they see such violence as completely unacceptable in Europe. But it is a mark of how far the West has to go that in its rush to end the fighting, it may be willing to lend legitimacy to Putin’s aggression rather than defend the victim of his actions.

 

            If that happens – and there are all too many signs that some in the West are prepared to sacrifice Ukraine in the name of ending the bloodshed – far more lives will be lost because the West will have failed to live up not only to its responsibilities as undertaken in the Budapest Memorandum but also to the principles on which the international system has rested.

 

            And consequently, Western leaders would do well to focus on the enormous human losses the Kremlin leader is responsible for and also on the fact, highlighted by Yuliya Latynina yesterday, that “Russian peacekeepers unlike UN ones are a guarantee that the conflict will remain unresolved” (echo.msk.ru/programs/code/1488398-echo/).

 
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Philip Hammond says Vladimir Putin is acting like a 'mid-20th century tyrant' over Ukraine 

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The Foreign Secretary also held out the prospect that Britain would provide arms for Ukraine, saying only that the UK would not supply weapons "at the moment".






 

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Arming Ukraine army may escalate conflict, west warned

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OCSE chief says supplying weapons to Kiev government forces might push Russians to take more direct role in Ukraine
The head of the international organisation monitoring the conflict in Ukraine has said pro-Moscow separatists are constantly being re-armed, but warned that for western states to supply weapons to the Ukrainian army would risk an expansion of the war.
Lamberto Zannier, secretary general of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OCSE), issued the warning at the Munich security conference where the debate over supplying arms to Kiev has pitted eastern European states and US members of Congress against Germany, the UK and other western European countries. The Obama administration says it has not made up its mind.
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War in Ukraine Direct Result of Russia’s Turn to Fascism, Eidman Says 

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Paul Goble
 
            Staunton, February 8 – Many people around the world are not only horrified by the Russian invasion of Ukraine but surprised that such a thing could be happening now. But they shouldn’t be, Igor Eidman says, because the invasion is the “absolutely logical” outcome of the “deferred demand” for Russian fascism of a century ago being met now.
 
            The Moscow commentator argues that what is happening in Russia now is the completion of “an historical cycle which has lasted since the beginning of the last century,” a cycle other countries in Europe have gone through but one that many have assumed could not take the form it has in Russia (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=54D64B8851C5A).
 
            At the beginning of the 20th century, Eidman argues, “there political meta-projects” were put forward: the reformist which involved democratic and social-democratic reforms, the reactionary which involved “the proto-fascist project of a conservative revolution,” and the communist which was both “revolutionary and utopian.”
 
            In 1917, he continues, “the first unsuccessful attempt to achieve the democratic reformist project in Russia occurred.” That failed but was repeated in the 1990s. But “the ‘democratic leaders’” of that decade by their actions “discredited their ideas for many years ahead” and thus opened the war to the rise under the aegis of Vladimir Putin of a system “close to fascism.”
 
            After the defeat of the axis powers in World War II, “many people thought that fascism as a powerful phenomenon representing a threat to peace had been defeated. But the ultra-reactionary project in Europe never died. It smoldered below the surface before breaking out in Russia and beginning a new attempt at expansion.”
 
            Although many are reluctant to admit this, “fascism in Russia has deep roots and a popular mythology.”  Had Nicholas II been among the victors in World War I or had the Whites triumphed in the Russian Civil War, “a regime close to fascism could have been formed” at that time. Russia then was “pregnant with fascism.” Its child has emerged now.
 
            Among the proto-fascist groups at the beginning of the 20th century were “not only the Black Hundreds … but also the members of the Duma ‘fraction of nationalists’ senior tsarist officials from among the radical right and others” as well. Nicholas II was powerfully influenced by them, as many of his policies, even after the October 1905 manifesto show.
 
            The last tsar “intensified the policy of state anti-Semitism and the Russification of the non-Russian borderlands. He supported the most died in the wool clergy and obscurantists [and] some of his decisions even exceeded Nazism and Hitler’s Nuremberg laws” by shifting from an anti-Semitism based on religion as had been traditional in Russia to one based on race.
 
            The February 1917 revolution overthrew the ruling reactionaries and brought to power reformist democrats. But “the Provisional Government,” he argues, “because of the war, its indecisiveness, and its lack of time failed to realize the reformist project and lost power to the communists” who ruled Russia for 70 years.
 
            But support for proto-fascist and openly fascist ideas did not disappear from the Russian scene. Initially, many of the leaders of the anti-Bolshevik White Movement took positions that recalled the most reactionary leaders of the former empire and almost certainly would have set up a fascist-type state had they succeeded in overthrowing Lenin and the communists.
 
            Many of the ideologists of this movement emigrated, and there were developed the “Russian para-fascist ideologies” – Eurasianism, Young Russianism, Ivan Ilin’s views and so on – which are “most popular now” among many Russians. Indeed, “contemporary [Russian] fascists fighting in the Donbas” have transformed the White movement into “a cult.”
 
            Just as most countries which were occupied by communists developed an immunity to communism, so too most of the countries in Europe which had experience with fascism developed at least a partial immunity to it. But Russia did not have that latter experience, and now “a ‘deferred demand’ for fascism has returned to Russia.”
 
            “The war with Ukraine is the result of Russia’s turn to fascism,” Eidman says. Under Putin, he continues, Russia is adopting ever more aspects of that system with its “aggressive imperialism and military expansionism” and celebrating “Russian reactionaries and proto-fascists” like Nicholas II, Kolchak and Ivan Ilin.”
 
            “Ukrainophobia is a traditional and inalienable part of Russian fascism,” he continues. Consequently, “it is not surprising that the first victim of its rebirth should be precisely Ukraine.” But Russian fascism, like its German and Italian predecessors, “represents a threat to the world and carried with it the danger of a global war.”
 
            It can be stopped only by “the defeat of Putin’s military expansion and a revival of the reformist project in Russia,” one that would carry out “real social and democratic reforms in the interests of the majority of the population” and that would not pose a threat to international peace and security.
 
 
 
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Britain says Russia's Putin acting like 'tyrant' over Ukraine - Reuters

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Reuters

Britain says Russia's Putin acting like 'tyrant' over Ukraine
Reuters
The comments, by British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, were his toughest yet on Russiaand came after he rejected a suggestion that Britain had become an "irrelevance" because it wasn't directly involved in talks with Putin to end the Ukraine crisis.
US and Russia clash over Ukraine's sovereigntyIrish Times
Russia Investors On 'War Watch' WednesdayForbes 
'Political comedy': Poroshenko's 'Russian army evidence' raises eyebrowsRT
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
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Ukraine summit planned in Minsk as leaders push to end conflict 

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France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine agree to hold talks on Wednesday to discuss peace plan
A summit between France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine is being planned for Wednesday in Minsk, the latest step in a hectic diplomatic effort to find a political solution to the Ukraine conflict, a statement from the German chancellor’s office said.
The leaders of the four countries talked by telephone on Sunday to discuss how to reach a “comprehensive settlement”, Berlin said.
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Ukraine: Debaltseve residents flee to Kiev after intense fighting - video 

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Evacuees from the eastern Ukrainian town of Debaltseve arrive at Kiev's central train station which has been turned into a makeshift refugee coordination centre. People disembarking from trains described days of intense fighting which destroyed a local school and left residents without electricity, water and any means of receiving information Continue reading...

Leaders Agree to New Ukraine Peace Talks

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The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany discussed by phone on Sunday a French-German peace plan to end the fighting in Ukraine. The talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel came amid an intense diplomatic push to end the pro-Russian rebellion in eastern Ukraine. A German government spokesman said the four leaders aim to meet Wednesday in the Belarussian capital, Minsk, to continue work on resolving the Ukraine crisis. The plan is based on September's failed cease-fire signed in Minsk, but with more details on timing, according to a senior U.S. State Department official. Poroshenko, citing that progress was reached during a call among the leaders on Sunday, predicted that a "swift and unconditional cease-fire" will be agreed to Wednesday between his government and the pro-Russian separatists it has been battling in eastern Ukraine.'One of the last chances' Hollande has said the plan is "one of the last chances" to end the fighting in Ukraine. Merkel said it is unclear if it will succeed. Fighting has continued in eastern Ukraine, with intense battles in recent days. Separatist and Kyiv forces said 12 civilians and 12 Ukrainian forces were killed in the last day. At a security conference in Munich Sunday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said negotiators on the French-German plan are "far from finding a political solution" to Ukraine's conflict after a few days of "intense" debate. "For us Europeans, this conflict still means permanent security can only be together with and not against Russia, however this cannot be a unilateral recognition. It has to be clear to Moscow as well that there is only a good future for Russia with Europe, together with Europe, and not against Europe," Steinmeier said. "It's also Moscow's task to define joint and common interests. We've seen too little here so far and you have also heard and listened to my colleague Lavrov and of course this was not also conducive to our discussion," he added. However, Steinmeier said negotiators are "far from finding a political solution" to the crisis, after a weekend of "intense" debate. He added that supplying Ukraine with lethal weapons would be "highly risky" and "counterproductive." Federica Mogherini, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said in Munich the bloc is trying to find ways to fully implement the Minsk agreement. "At our east, on European territory, the conflict in Ukraine has carried an unsustainable price in human lives, has shown us that one of the basic principles of international law -- respect of a country's territorial integrity and sovereignty, and that you don't change borders by force -- can be violated. An extremely dangerous precedent, not only for Europe, but for the rest of the world as well," Mogherini said. Kerry: No rift between US, allies Also in Munich, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addressed reports of a rift between the U.S. and Europe related to supplying Ukraine with weapons. He said there is no split between the U.S. and its European allies, but that all agree Ukraine's challenges will end through diplomacy, not with military force. "Let me assure everybody, there is no division, there is no split. I keep hearing people trying to create one -- we are united, we are working closely together, we all agree that this challenge will not end through military force, we are united in our diplomacy," Kerry said. "But the longer that it takes, the more the off-ramps are avoided, the more we will be forced to raise the costs on Russia and its proxies," he said. "Suffice it to say that today Russia is seeking to fundamentally alter the security landscape of eastern and central Europe, first through its illegal occupation of Crimea, and now through the brazen effort, the overt effort, indisputable effort to destabilize eastern Ukraine," Kerry added. In an interview to fully air Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, Kerry said the U.S. would be helping Ukraine with the understanding that there is no military solution. However, U.S. President Barack Obama has been considering providing lethal weaponry to Kyiv's out-gunned forces, an escalation beyond the economic sanctions the U.S. and Europe have already imposed on Moscow. The Western powers contend that Moscow has been arming the separatists, although Russia continues to deny it. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said at the conference that France and its allies must stick together, show resolve and not agree to concessions that undermine European security.  But he said no one wants to get "trapped" in a raging war.   Mogherini said the conflict in Ukraine has shown that one of the basic tenets of international law -- respect for a country's territorial integrity -- can be violated. She called this an "extremely dangerous precedent" for the world. The cease-fire signed in September in Minsk called on forces from both sides to stop the shelling, pull back from the front lines and begin immediate peace talks. The deal was violated almost from the moment it was signed. Death toll, displaced Ukrainian forces have been fighting to take back parts of eastern Ukraine seized by Russian-backed separatists when a new Western-leaning government took power in Ukraine last year. The United Nations said more than 5,300 people have been killed in the conflict in Ukraine, which began nearly a year ago. Last Friday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that nearly 1 million civilians have been internally displaced by fighting in eastern Ukraine. Russia has denied involvement in the fighting. But Poroshenko stood before reporters at the security conference in Munich Saturday holding up Russian passports that he said were taken from Russian soldiers inside Ukraine. Pam Dockins contributed to this report from Munich.

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Greek Leader to Reject Austerity, Lay Out Hard Leftist Program

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New Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will lay out his radical left-wing government's policies in a speech later on Sunday, firmly rejecting any more austerity forced on his debt-strapped country by its euro zone partners. In his first major speech to parliament as premier, Tsipras is expected to say that Greece wants no more bailout money, plans to renegotiate its debt deal and wants a “bridge agreement” to tide the country over until a new pact is sealed. A second part of the speech will touch on his government's social and fiscal policy over the longer term and is likely to repeat pledges for such things as a rise in the minimum wage and free electricity for poorer Greeks. The speech will be closely watched by European Union leaders who to date have shown scant willingness to meet Tsipras's demands, fearing a wholesale backtracking on the fiscal and economic reforms international lenders have demanded in exchange for some 240 billion euros worth of assistance. The current bailout expires on Feb. 28 and most lenders want Greece to apply for an extension, including the commitment to reforms. Tsipras will meet EU leaders at a summit in Brussels on Thursday. Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis will meet euro zone counterparts the day before. A Greek official said EU leaders should not expect Tsipras, who rode to power on a groundswell of anger over EU-imposed austerity that has helped to impoverish many Greeks, to say one thing at home and another to them. “What the prime minister will say in parliament will be... the same things that we will say in Brussels,” said the official, who asked not to be named. “He will be very specific.” Over the past week, Greek officials have laid out what they see as a transitional plan to keep finances flowing over the next few months while they renegotiate their debt agreement. They will first reject a 7.2 billion euro bailout tranche that has been due pending a suspended review. Instead, they want the right to issue more short-term debt beyond a current 15 billion euro threshold. They also want 1.9 billion euros in profits from Greek bonds held by the European Central Bank and other euro zone authorities, something that was agreed previously. With that as a bridge, Greek officials would then try to renegotiate payment of Greek sovereign bond debt, perhaps by extending payments, only paying interest and getting some respite on the budget surplus it is expected to run. As for the government's policy, some of which is deemed in European capitals irresponsible or too costly, a government official suggested that not everything had to happen at once. “The pace of the implementation of our promises is 'within four years',” the official said.

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Украинцы подтвердили саммит "нормандской четверки", Лукашенко гарантировал Путину "спокойствие в общем доме" - Росбалт.RU

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ЛІГА.net

Украинцы подтвердили саммит "нормандской четверки", Лукашенко гарантировал Путину "спокойствие в общем доме"
Росбалт.RU
СОЧИ, 8 февраля. Президент РФ Владимир Путин, президент Франции Франсуа Олланд, канцлер Германии Ангела Меркель и президент Украины Петр Порошенко 11 февраля проведут в Минске встречу в "нормандском формате", посвященную урегулированию конфликта на Украине.
Путин, Олланд, Меркель и Порошенко встретятся в Минске 11 февраляРоссийская Газета
В среду вечером в Минске встретятся Меркель, Олланд, Порошенко и ПутинКомсомольская правда
Надежда есть: Путин назвал условия для встречи "нормандской четверки" 11 февраля в МинскеМосковский комсомолец
НТВ.ru -Вести.Ru -УНИАН
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Ukraine crisis: US officials compare peace efforts to appeasing Hitler 

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"History shows us that dictators will always take more if you let them," says John McCain, comparing Merkel and Hollande's talks with Putin to Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler








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Russia: How long until the economy cracks? - CNNMoney

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Russia: How long until the economy cracks?
CNNMoney
As things stand, Russian GDP is expected to shrink by 5% (or more) this year, inflation has soared to 15%, the ruble is trading near record lows, consumer and business sentiment is on the slide, and its companies are shut out of financial markets in ...

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New EU Sanctions Target Top Russian Defense Official

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Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov is the highest-profile target of new sanctions due to be formally endorsed by European Union foreign ministers on Monday, diplomatic sources told Reuters.

Ukraine conflict: four-nation peace talks in Minsk aim to end crisis 

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Planned summit in Belarus capital on Wednesday comes after intense diplomacy between France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia
Leaders from France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia are due to meet in Minsk on Wednesday in a fresh attempt to reach a peace deal in the Ukrainian conflict, but Vladimir Putin said the summit was conditional on some issues being resolved first.
The Russian president, speaking to journalists in Sochi, did not specify what the preconditions were.
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