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Kerry to Russia: Back Off in Ukraine, or Else

Secretary of state says additional sanctions may be coming

(Newser) - Secretary of State John Kerry is accusing Russia of failing to live up to commitments it made to ease the crisis in Ukraine. In unusually blunt language, Kerry said today that unless Moscow takes immediate steps to de-escalate the situation, Washington will have no choice but to impose additional sanctions.... More »

Russia Moves to Ban Swearing in Movies

Measure clears lower house of parliament

(Newser) - Invasion of a neighboring country ? Fine. Laws against "homosexual propaganda"? That's OK, too. But curse words in film? Intolerable. Russia's lower parliament has passed legislation that bans swearing in films, plays, concerts, and shows, reports the BBC . Scofflaws would face fines. If the upper house... More »

A Tiny David Sues the World's Nuclear Goliaths

Marshall Islands call for justice in non-proliferation treaty

(Newser) - The world's nuclear powers are getting hauled into international court by a tiny challenger. The Marshall Islands are suing the nine nuke-equipped countries in nine cases in the Hague—though the case against the US was also filed in a San Francisco federal court, Reuters reports. The Islands hold... More »

Tortured Bodies Put Ukraine Back on Warpath

President orders new round of 'anti-terror' ops

(Newser) - Tensions in Ukraine are rising dangerously again despite last week's diplomatic agreement : The country's acting president has ordered security forces to resume "anti-terror" operations against pro-Russia militants in the country's east after the tortured bodies of two people allegedly abducted by insurgents were found in the... More »

Biden Blasts Russia: Stop 'Hiding Behind Masks'

Says US will never recognize Crimea annexation

(Newser) - Russia's annexation of Crimea may seem like a done deal, but the US isn't about to recognize it, Joe Biden vowed today. The vice president is in Kiev to show support for the government there, and today he promised financial aid, help weaning Ukraine off Russia's suddenly... More »

Ukraine Foray Is Costing Russia Dearly

Ilan Berman breaks down the cost of Putin's adventurism

(Newser) - Vladimir Putin's approval rating has jumped 10 points during the Ukraine crisis, to 72%, according to the state polling group. But that could change when Russians see what their adventure there is really costing them, Ilan Berman of the American Foreign Policy Council writes in the Wall Street Journal... More »

Russian Pol Tells Aides to 'Violently Rape' Journalist

Vladimir Zhirinovsky faces legal action, ethics investigation

(Newser) - A longtime Russian politician is facing sanctions after a pretty staggering outburst against a pregnant journalist. In an exchange caught by cameras, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, told aides to "violently rape" Russia Today reporter Stella Dubovitskaya. After Dubovitskaya asked about a ban on Russian... More »

Russia Forces Aid Ukraine Separatists, Photos Suggest

Images 'further confirm' ties: White House

(Newser) - Vladimir Putin has steadfastly denied that Russian units are working with separatists in eastern Ukraine, but photos suggest otherwise, the New York Times reports. Expert gunmen known as "green men" have led the way as separatists take over government buildings, and their gear matches that of Russian special forces... More »

1 Dead, Others Wounded in Russia-Ukraine Gun Battle

Each side blames the other for starting it

(Newser) - Ukraine and Russia traded blame today for a shootout at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine that left one person dead and others hospitalized with gunshot wounds. The identity of the attackers remained unclear. Russia blamed militant Ukrainian nationalists and the Ukrainian government said the attack near... More »

Ukraine Rebels Blow Off Deal, Won't Leave

At least not until the government in Kiev does the same

(Newser) - The separatists who've seized government buildings in more than 10 Ukrainian cities say they don't intend to clear out, despite the agreement struck between Russia, the Ukraine, and Western powers yesterday that, among other things, called for those illegally seized buildings to be vacated. "This is a... More »

Snowden Asks Putin About Russian Surveillance, on TV

Putin assures him Russia doesn't mimic US policies

(Newser) - Vladimir Putin got an intriguing caller on his TV call-in show today: Edward Snowden. In a pre-recorded video, the fugitive leaker asked the president about Russia's own surveillance policies. "Does Russia intercept, store, or analyze, in any way, the communications of millions of individuals?" he demanded. "And... More »

Diplomats Talk Nice, as Putin Talks Tough

Pact reached to ease Ukraine tensions, but Putin says use of force still an option

(Newser) - Top diplomats from the US, Russia, Ukraine, and the EU promised today to "de-escalate" tensions and avoid "provocative actions," reports the New York Times . But on Russian TV earlier, Vladimir Putin didn't seem interested in making nice, notes the Wall Street Journal . He pointedly kept open... More »

Elite Ukrainian Troops Stopped by Drunk Civilians

Humiliated Kiev tries to pretend it was a cunning plot

(Newser) - So much for Ukraine's military operation in the east. Both columns of supposedly elite troops and armored vehicles sent to the region surrendered without a fight yesterday in the face of peaceful resistance from civilians, a defeat so humiliating that one Kiev politician tried to pretend it was actually... More »

Pro-Russia Civilians Confront Ukrainian Troops

NATO pledges heightened preparation

(Newser) - Ukraine continues its descent into chaos and confusion: With tanks and troops entering the Ukrainian town of Kramatorsk , the BBC reports that Ukrainian forces have run right into resistance from pro-Russia civilians. An officer noted that he would never attack his "own people"; another soldier said locals have been... More »

Shots Fired as Ukraine Says It Has Retaken Airport

Tanks spotted, but so far no action reported

(Newser) - Ukraine appears to have at last followed through on its threats to use military force against separatists in the east. Heavy gunfire rang out inside Kramatorsk air base today, Sky News reports. Interim Ukrainian President Oleksander Turchinov announced that Ukrainian troops had retaken the base, driving out the pro-Russian militiamen... More »

Obama, Putin Have 'Tense' Phone Call

Moscow 'not fooling anybody' in Ukraine, White House says

(Newser) - In what the White House describes as a "frank and direct" phone call, President Obama warned Vladimir Putin that while the US would like to see a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis, Moscow's actions are not conducive to one. Officials say Obama told the Russian leader that... More »

Russian Jet Passed Within 1K Yards of US Warship

Saturday incident just now coming to light

(Newser) - A Russian fighter jet made multiple, close-range passes near an American warship in the Black Sea for more than 90 minutes Saturday amid escalating tensions in the region, a US military official said today. In the first public account of the incident, the official said the Russian Fencer flew within... More »

Ukraine Rebels Ignore Deadline, Stage New Attack

Turchinov's threat of military action looms

(Newser) - Ukraine's interim president gave pro-Russia militants occupying government buildings in Slaviansk and other eastern Ukraine areas until this morning to get out, or be forced out by the Ukrainian military —and the deadline has passed without the militants leaving. So far, Oleksandr Turchinov has not sent in the... More »

UN Security Council to Meet at Russia's Request

Ukraine's special forces exchange fire with pro-Russian militia

(Newser) - The UN Security Council has called an emergency meeting at Russia's request to discuss the growing crisis in Ukraine. Russia's UN mission sent a text message to reporters saying a closed meeting of the Security Council would begin at 8pm EST today. The Russian mission said it had... More »

Biden Headed to Kiev Next Week

Separatists take over more government buildings

(Newser) - With separatists extending their reach in eastern Ukraine, the White House says Joe Biden is headed to Kiev to meet with leaders. The vice president will head to the country on April 22, CNN reports. This Thursday will see talks between Ukraine, Russia, the US, and the EU. Meanwhile, regional... More »

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