Benjamin Netanyahu is not known for the subtlety or restraint he uses when finding the words or – as needed – crudely drawn cartoons to express his views on international issues. But as western countries join forces to oppose Russia’s annexation of Crimea and apparent efforts to destabilise eastern Ukraine, the normally blunt and astringent Israeli leader has been demure – even downright dull.
A Ukrainian journalist has been taken captive by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine on account of her alleged involvement in “war crimes”. Irma Krat, 29, was seized late on Sunday by militants in the city of Slovyansk, according to Oleg Veremienko, a lawyer for the online news site Ms Krat runs.
When President Vladimir Putin described Donetsk as "Novorossia" in his call-in show late last week and stressed the region's ties to Russia, he left out the fact that the region's capital was actually founded by a Welsh engineer and entrepreneur named John Hughes.
"This is Novorossia: Kharkov, Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Odessa did not belong to Ukraine in tsarist times," Putin said. "All these territories were transferred to Ukraine in the 1920s by the Soviet government. God knows why."
But what exactly is Donbass, where armed separatists are so determined to create their own autonomous state?
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has arrived in Kyiv to start a visit in which he is expected to hold talks with the Ukrainian leadership. A senior U.S. administration official said the vice president plans announce during his two-day visit a package of technical assistance to Ukraine, focused on energy and economic aid.
Deadly shootouts in eastern Ukraine during the weekend led to renewed calls in the U.S. for economic sanctions against Russia as a diplomatic accord showed little sign of defusing the crisis. Ukrainian and Russian officials traded accusations about responsibility for the attacks, undermining last week’s agreement in Geneva, which called for all illegal groups to disarm and for seized buildings to be evacuated.
Russia accused the Ukrainian government of failing to rein in extremists as escalating tensions threaten to undermine a diplomatic accord reached last week and stoke calls in the U.S. for economic sanctions.
The senior European mediator in eastern Ukraine held his first talks on April 21 with the leader of pro-Russian separatists in the city of Sloviansk, a flashpoint of the crisis. Mark Etherington told reporters he met the self-declared, separatist mayor, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, for two hours. He had asked whether Ponomaryov and his group would comply with last week's Geneva accord under which Russia and Ukraine agreed that militants should disarm and vacate occupied public buildings.
Billionaire Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash was unheard of by most Americans until the conflict between Russia and Ukraine erupted, highlighting the two counties’ important natural gas trade and the shadowy characters that keep its pipelines flowing. But as he and other middlemen have come under more public scrutiny in recent months, they may lost the political capital to negotiate deals.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will announce a package of technical assistance focused on energy and economic aid distribution during a two day visit to Kiev, a senior administration official said on Monday.
Russia blamed authorities in Kyiv on April 21 for the violence in eastern Ukraine, accusing them of trying to ignite a civil war in a region where pro-Russian militants have been defying the central government. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow will intervene if bloodshed continues — even as Ukrainian officials accuse Russia of stirring it up. On April 20, three people were killed in a shootout in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk.
A Ukrainian journalist being held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine was brought out by her captors on Monday and told reporters she was being questioned but not mistreated. Irma Krat, 29, emerged briefly from the Ukrainian state security service building in Slaviansk, where she is held, to tell journalists, a day after she was detained: "Conditions are OK. It is a bit cold, but they are giving me food, water."
Russian gas exports to Europe through Ukraine remained stable on April 21 despite the standoff between Moscow and Kyiv, a spokesman for state-controlled gas producer Gazprom said.
Garry Kasparov, who achieved international fame as the world's youngest chess champion, is now Russian opposition leader. He says territorial ambitions are the key driver for Vladimir Putin and he 'will not stop' at Ukraine.
A city in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian militants descended into a deeper spiral of murky violence on April 21 after two bodies were reportedly pulled from a river. The report came a day after at least three people died in a shootout at a checkpoint, and an international observer mission with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was unable to enter the city for reasons that were not clear. Russia agreed to the observer mission at Germany’s insistence, and the group’s inability to reach the area made it all the more difficult to determine why law and order was unraveling in the area.
Last week, when Irma Krat informed her friends in Kyiv, her hometown, that she was heading to eastern Ukraine to report on the region’s separatists, some of them tried to talk her out of it. As a journalist and activist with ties to nationalism in Ukraine, Krat had played an active role in the country’s revolution this winter, one of the few women to serve in the militia forces of the Maidan protest camp in Kyiv. In the eyes of the separatist forces, that would make her a target, and her friends were right to be concerned. When she arrived this past weekend in the separatist-held town of Slovyansk, in eastern Ukraine, she was almost immediately seized by armed men and taken to their security headquarters for interrogation.
Easter shootout near Slovyansk leaves local population in mourning, and ready to blame Kyiv for the latest violence — though the evidence is anything but clear.
For two weeks, the mysteriously well-armed, professional gunmen known as “green men” have seized Ukrainian government sites in town after town, igniting a brush fire of separatist unrest across eastern Ukraine. Strenuous denials from the Kremlin have closely followed each accusation by Ukrainian officials that the world was witnessing a stealthy invasion by Russian forces.
ollowers of the Orthodox faith spread Easter treats on newspapers and towels in front of their church in eastern Ukraine on Sunday: painted eggs, sticks of smoked sausages, sugary “kulich” pies and holiday dishes made of ricotta cheese and raisins. All the food was there to be blessed by Father Andrei Boikov, archpriest of Sviato Pokrovsky Church in Yenakiyevo, the hometown of deposed President Victor Yanukovych. It was a day of religious celebration, to be sure, but the priest said his congregation faced “hostile” times.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has presented a draft law to create a gambling zone in Crimea, now that the Kremlin has declared the Ukrainian territory part of Russia. By law casinos are restricted to four special areas in Russia, all a long way from Moscow. Now Crimea will become the fifth area, under Mr Putin's plan.