POLITICS

Ukraine Aid Stalls As Congress Spars Over IMF Reform

03/25/2014 07:44 am ET | Updated Mar 25, 2014

WASHINGTON -- U.S. lawmakers agree on the need for swift response to Russia's annexation of Crimea, but their debate over reforms to the International Monetary Fund threatens to delay more than $1 billion in American aid to Ukraine.

Senate legislation that includes Ukraine aid and sanctions against Russia cleared a procedural vote Monday by a vote of 78-17. But the bill also would boost the U.S. contribution to the IMF. That provision faces stiff opposition from Republicans -- a factor that could derail the bill's chance of passing the House of Representatives and reaching President Barack Obama's desk.

The White House has argued that boosting the U.S. contribution to the IMF, called a quota, is critical to stabilizing Ukraine's economy. But House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters recently that the IMF provision has "nothing to do with Ukraine." Boehner has called on the Senate to take up a House-passed bill that provides Ukraine with up to $1 billion in loan guarantees, but excludes the IMF reforms.

The Senate bill heeds the Obama administration's call to add roughly $63 billion to the U.S. quota at the IMF. The legislation achieves this by taking that amount from an IMF supplementary fund, thus leaving the U.S. financial commitment to the IMF unchanged.

The IMF, an organization of 188 countries that promotes economic cooperation, collects contributions from members and provides temporary loans to nations facing imbalances. The push for changes dates to 2010, when the G20 agreed to governance and lending reforms in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Under that accord, each IMF member nation was to double its financial commitment, making the total IMF quota $720 billion. The reforms were designed to expand the institution's lending capabilities and give emerging markets more influence.

The Russian aggression lends a new urgency to the reforms, according to backers of the legislation. The U.S. is the biggest and most powerful member of the IMF -- and the only major IMF member that has not ratified the 2010 reforms. Because it holds the only controlling share of IMF votes, none of the reforms would be implemented without U.S. support.

Ukrainian leaders have called on the U.S. to ratify the reforms, which affect Ukraine by increasing its quota and borrowing capabilities. According to the Treasury Department, congressional approval of the reforms would allow the IMF to provide Ukraine with an additional $6 billion in assistance under standard loan practices.

New Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk urged President Barack Obama to usher the IMF reforms through Congress during a visit to Washington earlier this month. Yatsenyuk also discussed the quota reform with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. The White House said Yatsenyuk and Lew "agreed that securing passage of IMF quota legislation is needed to maximize the international community’s support to Ukraine."

But GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate remain unconvinced. While a handful of Senate Republicans said they would support the Senate bill with its current IMF language, most want something in return: Namely, blocking a Treasury rule that would permit the Internal Revenue Service to curb political activities by tax-exempt nonprofit groups, known as 501(c)(4)s.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday that the GOP demand was "absurd" and contradicted Republicans' insistence that providing Ukraine with economic aid was of utmost importance. An administration official told The Huffington Post Republicans were essentially trying to protect free-flowing campaign contributions from special interest groups.

Even if the aid package clears the upper chamber, House GOP leaders have shown no indication they'd be willing to approve the Senate bill in its current form.

"The IMF changes the administration has long sought are completely unrelated to the ongoing situation in the Ukraine," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told HuffPost in an email. "Frankly, the best course of action would be for the Senate to act as soon as possible on the House-passed bill."

Even some House Democrats agreed with their Republican colleagues on Monday that the White House was slowing aid to Ukraine by insisting on the IMF reform. But most Democrats favor the reform and would likely vote for the Senate bill if comes up for a vote in the House.

House Republicans mostly oppose the IMF overhaul, citing its potential to weaken U.S. influence in the institution. Others have taken issue with the Senate bill's use of military accounts to offset some of the cost of the IMF changes.

Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Monetary Policy and Trade subcommittee, penned a March 14 blog post arguing that the administration's IMF request would only provide one month's worth of assistance to Ukraine and "does nothing to correct the serious structural challenges that will continue to face the Ukrainian economy."

The bill's authors, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), refuted many of those claims, pointing out that the offsets draw funds from Defense Department accounts that were underperforming or no longer needed. Proponents of the legislation also noted that the U.S. continues to be the largest shareholder at the IMF and the only country with veto power over major decisions. That won't change with the 2010 reforms.

If anything threatens to reduce U.S. influence at the IMF, backers of the Senate bill said, it's stalling on a global commitment from 2010. Corker said the crisis in Ukraine represents "the poster child for why you want the IMF functioning fully and for us to be able to continue as the only country in the world that has the veto right."

Secretary of State John Kerry recently told a Senate panel that the delay has put U.S. leadership at the IMF in doubt. "We’re inadvertently hurting ourselves by sending a message that we’re not prepared to lead," Kerry said.

And while another chorus of Republicans argues that reforming the IMF would in some way help Russia, Vladimir Putin apparently feels otherwise. According to a Reuters report earlier this month, Russian officials have privately been pushing the IMF to move forward with reforms without the U.S., stripping the U.S. of its veto authority. Though unlikely, frustration over U.S. inaction is reportedly shared by several member countries.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde seemed troubled by the matter on Sunday, telling a group of students in Beijing that it was up to the U.S. to give a voice to other emerging markets within the institution. "This is not something I can do much about," she said.

Lagarde pressed the issue further in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Monday, noting that recent years had shown the "need an international 'first responder' backed by significant resources."

"But to meet tomorrow's challenges, the IMF needs to adapt," Lagarde wrote. "A large majority of the member countries have approved reforms to strengthen the resources and governance of the IMF. These reforms await approval by the U.S. Congress. The IMF's continued ability to fight economic and financial crises rests on its approval."

Also on HuffPost:

03/25/2014 6:18 PM EDT

Senate To Vote Thursday On Ukraine Aid

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) set up a final vote Thursday on a bill that would provide Ukraine with up to $1 billion in loan guarantees and impose targeted sanctions against Russian officials.

Reid made the announcement Tuesday after dropping a controversial provision from the Senate bill that would have boosted the U.S. quota at the International Monetary Fund. Republicans in both chambers of Congress opposed the IMF reforms, which were specifically requested by the White House to increase Ukraine's borrowing capabilities at the institution.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said earlier Tuesday that Republicans would still want to vote on a number of amendments, but the IMF language was the major sticking point. Without it, the Ukraine aid package is expected to pass both the Senate and the House without much drama or delay.

--Sabrina Siddiqui

03/25/2014 5:24 PM EDT

Moldovan Separatists Claim They Downed Ukrainian Drone

From the Associated Press:

Authorities in a pro-Russian separatist region of Moldova claim to have brought down a Ukrainian drone on a reconnaissance mission.

NovostiPMR, the news agency of Trans-Dniester says Tuesday that the region's intelligence agency downed the drone on March 23.

The region broke away from Moldova in 1990. There are 1,500 Russian troops stationed there guarding hundreds of tons of weapons.

According to the agency, the drone was "launched from Ukrainian territory by people close to the Ukrainian Security Service and the Defense Ministry."

It said the plane illegally crossed into Trans-Dniester violating its air space. It added that the authorities in the region reserved the right to use "all available methods" to defend the territory which is not internationally recognized but is supported by Russia.

03/25/2014 4:18 PM EDT

Russians Take Over Last Ukrainian Ship In Crimea

Reuters reports:

Russian forces appeared to be attempting to take over the last military ship controlled by Ukraine in Crimea on Tuesday after a Ukrainian military spokesman reported explosions in its vicinity and helicopters approaching the vessel.

Russian forces armed with stun grenades and automatic weapons have seized ships and military bases from the last remaining Ukrainian troops in Crimea in recent days as part of Russia's largely bloodless annexation of the region.

Kiev, which calls Russia's annexation of Crimea illegal, ordered its remaining forces to withdraw for their own safety on Monday, but not all troops have yet left the Black Sea peninsula and some ships have been prevented from leaving.

"Around 1900 (1600 GMT) there were several explosions from the direction of the minesweeper Cherkasy in the Donuzlav bay," Ukrainian military spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov told Reuters.

"Some Mi-35 helicopter gunships were observed hovering in the area. Speedboats and a tug were seen approaching Cherkasy," he said.

On Monday Cherkasy attempted without success to break to the open sea through a blockade at the entrance to the inlet. The Russian navy blocked the route earlier this month by scuttling three hulks in the channel.

Seleznyov said he was unable to confirm whether Russian troops had boarded the ship.

03/25/2014 3:02 PM EDT

Russian Military Holds Exercises In Moldova

From Reuters:

Russia's military staged training exercises on Tuesday in Transdniestria, a breakaway sliver of Moldova that is a focus of tension following Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.

NATO's top military commander said on Sunday he was worried that Russia might have its eye on Transdniestria, a largely Russian-speaking region that borders western Ukraine, after seizing Crimea, which has a narrow ethnic Russian majority.

The Interfax news agency quoted a spokesman for Russia's Western Military District, Colonel Oleg Kochetkov, as saying that Russian forces stationed in Transdniestria had "conducted an anti-terrorism drill and practiced operations to rebuff an attack on their military base".

Transdniestria, with a population of half a million, has run its own affairs since 1992 after fighting a brief war against the Moldovan government over fears that it might join Romania after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Russia has a permanent garrison of peacekeepers there.

03/25/2014 1:02 PM EDT

No, Ukraine Will Not Have Nukes: Ministry Of Foreign Affairs

Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed, in something of a Shermanesque statement, that the country will not develop nuclear weapons, one day after the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs seized on a proposal by some Ukrainian MPs to leave the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

"Ukraine has not planned, is not planning and is not going to plan to resume its nuclear status," a spokesman for the agency said at a press briefing.

Earlier this month, several opposition MPs introduced a draft bill to withdraw Ukraine from the NPT. Russia's Foreign Ministry seized on it, saying "the dysfunctional new Kiev authorities may pose a threat to the security of Ukrainian nuclear sites under the current Ukrainian circumstances," in a statement.

"We do not trust attempts of the Ukrainian delegate to dissociate from this position. The NPT is in serious danger."

Ukraine, which suddenly became the world's third-largest nuclear state after the collapse of the Soviet Union, gave its nuclear arsenal back to Russia for disposal under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum in exchange for security assurances from Russia that it would respect Ukraine's territorial integrity.

--Luke Johnson

03/25/2014 12:34 PM EDT

Five Scenarios For Russia's Relations With China, Moldova And Nato

The world's industrialized nations have turned their back on Russia, following Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

Though the G8 cannot expel its members, countries can refuse a member permission to attend, effectively expelling them.

With jitters in the east of Europe about further Russian incursion, and wariness in China, the state of world diplomacy could look very different by 2015.

HuffPost UK has asked military and international relations experts on five scenarios that could occur now Russia looks increasingly isolated, and as the West looks impotent.

Read here what they predict.

03/25/2014 12:27 PM EDT

Senate Democrats Consider Dropping IMF Provision

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) may drop a controversial reform to the U.S. share at the International Monetary Fund from the Ukraine aid package, according to Senate leadership aides.

The provision was requested by President Barack Obama and Ukrainian leaders, but faces widespread opposition from Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that his members would not support the aid bill unless the IMF language was dropped.

A Senate leadership aide said removing the provision is now "under consideration in order to move the bill." In exchange, Republicans would drop their demand to delay a Treasury Department rule that cracks down on the political activities of nonprofits, known as 501(c)(4)s.

The House of Representatives passed its own legislation providing aid to Ukraine earlier this month without the IMF reforms, and planned to move on a sanctions bill that also left the issue untouched. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said boosting U.S. funds at the IMF has "nothing to do with Ukraine," and his aides indicated they would not have enough votes to move the Senate bill through the lower chamber in its current form.

The Obama administration and Senate Democrats have been making the case that ratifying the IMF reforms, which were agreed upon in 2010, is critical to Ukraine's borrowing capabilities in a time of crisis. Still, some House Democrats acknowledged that the White House was complicating the process by renewing debate over a contentious issue when providing aid expeditiously is of the utmost importance.

--Sabrina Siddiqui

03/25/2014 11:46 AM EDT

Obama Dismisses Romney's 'Geopolitical Foe' Comment

President Barack Obama dismissed the notion that former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was correct in saying that Russia was "our number one geopolitical foe" Tuesday, in a response to a question from Jonathan Karl of ABC News. He said that Russia was merely a "regional power" that was acting out of "weakness."

"Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors, not out of strength, but out of weakness. Ukraine has been a country in which Russia had enormous influence for decades, since the breakup of the Soviet Union, and we have considerable influence on our neighbors," he said. "We generally don't need to invade them in order to have a strong cooperative relationship with them."

--Luke Johnson

03/25/2014 11:26 AM EDT

Obama Says He's Not Interested In Putin's Motivation

At a press conference in Europe, U.S. President Barack Obama sidestepped a question on whether he "misread" Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying he wasn't so interested in his motivations.

"With respect to President Putin's motivation, I think there has been a lot of speculation. I am less interested in motivation and more interested in the facts and the principles that not only the United States but the entire international community are looking to uphold."

He added that the United States is "concerned" about further encroachment by Russia into Ukraine.

--Luke Johnson

03/25/2014 10:39 AM EDT

Will Russia Annex Moldova Next?

","short_text":"

View of the G7 summit at the official residence of the Dutch PM in The Hague, on sidelines of @NSS2014, by @saul...Read More"},{"id":"887","created":"03/24/2014 1:59 PM EDT","title":"Freeland On Being On Sanctions' List: 'It's An Honour'","tweet_link":"887_freeland-on-being-on-sanctions-list-its-an-honour","entry_text":"

Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian liberal MP who used to be a journalist reporting on Russia and Ukraine, reacted to the news of her sanctioning:

Love Russ lang/culture, loved my yrs in Moscow; but it's an honour to be on Putin's sanction list, esp in company of friends Cotler & Grod

— Chrystia Freeland (@cafreeland) March 24, 2014

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian liberal MP who used to be a journalist reporting on Russia and Ukraine, reacted to the news of her sanctioning:

Love Russ lang/culture, loved my yrs in Moscow; but it'...Read More"},{"id":"886","created":"03/24/2014 1:38 PM EDT","title":"Hamid Karzai Backs Crimea Annexation","tweet_link":"886_hamid-karzai-backs-crimea-annexation","entry_text":"

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office said that the country backs Crimea as a part of Russia, breaking with the U.S. and its Western Allies. According to the Times:

Citing “the free will of the Crimean people,” the office of President Hamid Karzai said, “we respect the decision the people of Crimea took through a recent referendum that considers Crimea as part of the Russian Federation.”

The move is a slap in the face to the United States, which has, of course, condemned the annexation. Meanwhile, Afghanistan is looking back to Russia for its development.

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office said that the country backs Crimea as a part of Russia, breaking with the U.S. and its Western Allies. According Read More"},{"id":"885","created":"03/24/2014 1:26 PM EDT","title":"Lavrov And Ukraine's Deshchytsya Meet In The Netherlands","tweet_link":"885_lavrov-and-ukraines-deshchytsya-meet-in-the-netherlands","entry_text":"

Meeting between Russia's Lavrov, Ukrainian counterpart Deshchytsya happening now-@PhilipIttner http://t.co/2j9rc7wWvf pic.twitter.com/CdNwsm8kaV

— AJAM Live (@ajamlive) March 24, 2014

","short_text":"

Meeting between Russia's Lavrov, Ukrainian counterpart Deshchytsya happening now-@PhilipIttner http://t.co/2j...Read More"},{"id":"884","created":"03/24/2014 1:25 PM EDT","title":"Lavrov And Kerry Meet In The Hague","tweet_link":"884_lavrov-and-kerry-meet-in-the-hague","entry_text":"

Sergey #Lavrov and John Kerry's meeting in Hague @RusEmbUSA pic.twitter.com/4OphBGKZek

— MFA Russia (@mfa_russia) March 24, 2014

","short_text":"

Sergey #Lavrov and John Kerry's meeting in Hague @RusEmbUSA Read More"},{"id":"883","created":"03/24/2014 12:44 PM EDT","title":"White House: No Need For G7 To Engage With Russia","tweet_link":"883_white-house-no-need-for-g7-to-engage-with-russia","entry_text":"

The White House said on Monday that \"there is no need for the G7 to engage with Russia\" as long as Moscow \"violates international law\" in Ukraine. The comments came from White House official Ben Rhodes, Reuters reports.

\"What we're looking at is how we engage with Russia in the coming months and years,\" Rhodes added. \"If there came a point where Russia would de-escalate the situation and abide by international law, we would not want to foreclose the potential that the G7 would engage with them.\"

","short_text":"

The White House said on Monday that \"there is no need for the G7 to engage with Russia\" as long as Moscow \"violates international law\" in Ukraine. The comments came from White House official Ben Rhodes, Read More"},{"id":"882","created":"03/24/2014 11:31 AM EDT","title":"Cameron: No G8 Summit In Russia This Year","tweet_link":"882_cameron-no-g8-summit-in-russia-this-year","entry_text":"

UK Prime Minister David Cameron says there will be no G8 summit in Russia this year - @SkyNewsBreak http://t.co/W77GnGvSuA

— Breaking News (@BreakingNews) March 24, 2014

","short_text":"

UK Prime Minister David Cameron says there will be no G8 summit in Russia this year - @SkyNewsBreak http://t.co/W...Read More"},{"id":"881","created":"03/24/2014 11:00 AM EDT","title":"Russia Retaliates Against Canadian Sanctions","tweet_link":"881_russia-retaliates-against-canadian-sanctions","entry_text":"

From Reuters:

Russia announced on Monday that it was barring 13 Canadian officials, lawmakers and public figures from the country in retaliation for sanctions imposed by Canada over Russia's annexation of Crimea.

The Canadians prohibited from entering Russia include aides to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and members of parliament and the head of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Paul Grod, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

","short_text":"

From Reuters:

Russia announced on Monday that it was barring 13 Canadian officials, lawmakers and public figu...Read More"},{"id":"880","created":"03/24/2014 10:26 AM EDT","title":"European Commission Drops Requirement For Anti-Discrimination Law To Include LGBT Protections: Ukraine Minister","tweet_link":"880_european-commission-drops-requirement-for-antidiscrimination-law-to-include-lgbt-protections-ukraine-minister","entry_text":"

In a troubling sign for LGBT people in Ukraine, the country's Justice Minister Pavel Petrenko said Monday that the European Commission had dropped a demand to include \"sexual minorities\" in an anti-discrimination law.

\"We did find an understanding with the European Commission on the draft law on discrimination. And they removed their demands concerning the indication in the law of guarantees for sexual minorities,\" he said at a meeting at Ukraine's Parliament.

The law guarantees protection of all persons for race and religion, according to Petrenko. The law is being passed as part of a plan for liberalizing the visa regime with the EU.

It was not immediately clear why the provision was dropped. Ukraine, like Russia, is still a very homophobic country. Anti-\"gay propaganda\" laws have been introduced in Ukraine's parliament, but none have passed.

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

In a troubling sign for LGBT people in Ukraine, the country's Justice Minister Pavel Petrenko said Monday that the European Commission had dropped a demand to include \"sexual minorities\" in an anti-discrimination law.

\"We did find an understandin...Read More"},{"id":"879","created":"03/24/2014 8:19 AM EDT","title":"Kiev Orders Troops To Leave Crimea","tweet_link":"879_kiev-orders-troops-to-leave-crimea","entry_text":"

The Ukrainian government has ordered its troops to leave Crimea, the Associated Press reports on Monday.

From the AP:

Ukraine's acting president says the country's troops stationed in Crimea will be pulled from the region after it was annexed by Russia.

Oleksandr Turchnynov said Monday that the Defense Ministry has been instructed to redeploy Ukrainian servicemen from the Black Sea peninsula to Ukraine's mainland, in remarks confirmed by his office.

Read the full story here.

-- Eline Gordts

","short_text":"

The Ukrainian government has ordered its troops to leave Crimea, the Associated Press reports on Monday.

From the AP:

Ukraine's acting president says the country's troops stationed in Crimea will be pulled from the region after...Read More"},{"id":"878","created":"03/24/2014 8:17 AM EDT","title":"Obama: Europe And America 'United' In Support For Ukraine","tweet_link":"878_obama-europe-and-america-united-in-support-for-ukraine","entry_text":"

President Barack Obama, speaking in the Netherlands Monday ahead of meeting with the G7, said that Europe and the United States are together on the Ukraine crisis.

\"Europe and America are united in our support of the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people. We’re united in imposing a cost on Russia for its actions so far. Prime Minister Rutte rightly pointed out yesterday the growing sanctions would bring significant consequences to the Russian economy,\" he said. \"And I’ll be meeting with my fellow G7 leaders later today, and we’ll continue to coordinate closely with the Netherlands and our European partners as we go forward.\"

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

President Barack Obama, speaking in the Netherlands Monday ahead of meeting with the G7, said that Europe and the United States are together on the Ukraine crisis.

\"Europe and America are united in our support of the Ukrainian government and the ...Read More"},{"id":"877","created":"03/24/2014 7:34 AM EDT","title":"McFaul On Confronting Putin","tweet_link":"877_mcfaul-on-confronting-putin","entry_text":"

Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has an op-ed in Monday's New York Times on how U.S. - Russian relations are similar and different to the Cold War:

The parallels with the ideologically rooted conflicts of the last century are striking. A revisionist autocratic leader instigated this new confrontation. We did not. Nor did “Russia” start this new era. Mr. Putin did. It is no coincidence that he vastly weakened Russia’s democratic institutions over the last two years before invading Crimea, and has subsequently moved to close down independent media outlets during his Ukrainian land grab.

Read the full piece here.

","short_text":"

Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has an op-ed in Monday's New York Times on how U.S. - Russian relations are similar and different to...Read More"},{"id":"876","created":"03/24/2014 7:34 AM EDT","title":"How Clinton, Bush And Obama Handled Putin","tweet_link":"876_how-clinton-bush-and-obama-handled-putin","entry_text":"

Peter Baker of the New York Times analyzes how Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama tried to handle the relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. All of them have misjudged him:

Each of the three presidents tried in his own way to forge a historic if elusive new relationship with Russia, only to find their efforts torpedoed by the wiry martial arts master and former K.G.B. colonel. They imagined him to be something he was not or assumed they could manage a man who refuses to be managed. They saw him through their own lens, believing he viewed Russia’s interests as they thought he should. And they underestimated his deep sense of grievance.

Read the full piece here.

","short_text":"

Peter Baker of the New York Times analyzes how Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama tried to handle the relationship with Russian Pre...Read More"},{"id":"875","created":"03/24/2014 7:33 AM EDT","title":"Russia Giving Passports To Crimeans: Medvedev","tweet_link":"875_russia-giving-passports-to-crimeans-medvedev","entry_text":"

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced on Twitter Monday that Russia would give passports to residents of Crimea by summer.

К лету наша миграционная служба планирует завершить выдачу российских паспортов всем желающим в Крыму

— Дмитрий Медведев (@MedvedevRussia) March 24, 2014

He also said that the Russian Ruble would be the currency and the Hryvnia would be accepted until 2015.

Официальной валютой в Крыму уже является российский рубль. Но гривна продолжит хождение до конца 2015 года. #Крым

— Дмитрий Медведев (@MedvedevRussia) March 24, 2014

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced on Twitter Monday that Russia would give passports to residents of Crimea by summer.

К лету наша миграционная служба план"},{"id":"874","created":"03/23/2014 10:22 AM EDT","title":"Russian Flag Flies Over 189 Ukrainian Bases","tweet_link":"874_russian-flag-flies-over-189-ukrainian-bases","entry_text":"

From Reuters:

Russia said its flag is now flying over 189 Ukrainian military installations in the Crimea, the defense ministry said on Sunday, two days after President Vladimir Putin signed laws completing Russia's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula.

\"The flag of the Russian Federation has been raised at 189 military units and institutions of the Ukrainian armed forces stationed on the territory of the Republic of Crimea,\" the ministry said in a statement, cited by news agency RIA.

-- Eline Gordts

","short_text":"

From Reuters:

Russia said its flag is now flying over 189 Ukrainian military installations in th...Read More"},{"id":"873","created":"03/23/2014 10:07 AM EDT","title":"Switzerland Investigates Yanukovich Associates","tweet_link":"873_switzerland-investigates-yanukovich-associates","entry_text":"

Reuters reports that the Swiss are investigation two associates of ousted Ukrainian President Yanukovich for money laundering.

Switzerland has already ordered a freeze on 29 Ukrainians' assets, including those of Yanukovich, who is suspected of human rights abuses and misuse of state funds.

\"The state public prosecutor can only open an investigation when there is a reasonable suspicion of possible punishable behavior,\" the spokeswoman said in the statement.

\"In connection with the notification from Switzerland's money laundering reporting office last week, this was confirmed after a thorough analysis.\"

The investigations were opened on Thursday after notifications from the federal police unit tasked with liaising with Swiss banks in cases of suspected money laundering, she said.

One investigation centered on two people from Yanukovich's entourage, she said. The public prosecutor's office did not provide details of the second investigation.

It is not known how much money Ukrainian politicians, their families, or other people close to them hold in Switzerland, nor how much has been frozen by banks since the Swiss measures began to come into force at the end of February.

Read the full story here.

","short_text":"

Reuters reports that the Swiss are investigation two associates of ousted Ukrainian President Yanukovich for money ...Read More"},{"id":"872","created":"03/22/2014 11:34 AM EDT","title":"Reporter: Shots Fired","tweet_link":"872_reporter-shots-fired","entry_text":"

A reporter for the Associated Press said shots were fired at a Ukrainian air force base in Crimea that is blocked by Russian troops.

","short_text":"

A reporter for the Associated Press said shots were fired at a Ukrainian air force base in Crimea that is blocked by Russian troops. Read More"},{"id":"871","created":"03/22/2014 11:25 AM EDT","title":"Breaking: Armored Vehicles Break Into Ukrainian Base","tweet_link":"871_breaking-armored-vehicles-break-into-ukrainian-base","entry_text":"

#BREAKING: Armoured vehicles break into Ukraine base in Crimea, shots fired

— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) March 22, 2014

","short_text":"

#BREAKING: Armoured vehicles break into Ukraine base in Crimea, shots fired

— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) Read More"},{"id":"870","created":"03/22/2014 11:21 AM EDT","title":"Gold And Millions In Cash Found In Ex-Minister's Apartments","tweet_link":"870_gold-and-millions-in-cash-found-in-exministers-apartments","entry_text":"

Reuters reports that Ukrainian police have found 42 kg of gold and $4.8 million in cash while searching the apartments of Ukraine's former Energy Minister Eduard Stavytsky.

From the news service:

Ukrainian police have seized 42 kilograms of gold and $4.8 million in cash during a search of the apartments of Ukraine's former Energy Minister Eduard Stavytsky, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Saturday.

Avakov said the searches had been conducted in connection with a corruption investigation in the energy sector.

\"It blew my mind when I received a report on the results this morning. How much would one have to steal, to have such a 'trifle' at home as pocket money,\" Avakov said in a post on Facebook.

Stavytsky's career blossomed under the presidency of ousted Viktor Yanukovich and was appointed energy minister in December 2012.

Ukrainian media describe Stavytsky as a member of Yanukovich's inner circle. He could not be reached for comment.

Ukrainian police on Friday detained another energy official - the chief executive of state energy company Naftogaz, Yevhen Bakulin, as part of the investigation into corruption that it says may have cost the Ukrainian state about $4 billion.

Naftogaz is responsible for the import and distribution of Russian natural gas in Ukraine. It also holds a monopoly on the shipment of gas from Russia's Gazprom via Ukraine to Europe.

--Eline Gordts

","short_text":"

Reuters reports that Ukrainian police have found 42 kg of gold and $4.8 million in cash while searching the apartments of Ukraine's former Energy Minister Eduard Stavytsky.

Read More"},{"id":"869","created":"03/22/2014 10:21 AM EDT","title":"Poland: U.S. Should Increase Presence In Nato's Eastern And Central Countries","tweet_link":"869_poland-us-should-increase-presence-in-natos-eastern-and-central-countries","entry_text":"

Polish defense minister Tomasz Siemoniak argued on Saturday that the U.S. should increase its military presence in NATO countries in central and eastern Europe.

“The US must increase its presence in [central and eastern] Europe, also in Poland,” Siemoniak said, according to The Guardian. “We will be talking about the details and I am happy that representatives of the US, the US vice-president are open towards these talks.”

Read more here.

-- Eline Gordts

","short_text":"

Polish defense minister Tomasz Siemoniak argued on Saturday that the U.S. should increase its military presence in NATO countries in central and eastern Europe.

“The US must increase its presence in [central and eastern] Europe, also in Poland...Read More"},{"id":"868","created":"03/22/2014 10:00 AM EDT","title":"Russian Troops Surround Crimea Airbase","tweet_link":"868_russian-troops-surround-crimea-airbase","entry_text":"

From Reuters:

Russian troops have surrounded a Ukrainian airbase in Crimea and issued an ultimatum to forces inside to surrender, the deputy commander of the base in Belbek, near Sevastopol, said on Saturday.

The base, above which the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag was flying, is one of the few military facilities on Crimea still controlled by Ukraine after the annexation of the peninsula by Russian forces.

\"The Russian troops at our aerodrome gave us an hour to surrender or they will start storming. We are going nowhere, let's see what this storming is,\" Oleg Podovalov told Reuters.

The ultimatum was due to expire at 1230 GMT, but there was no sign of the Russians moving in on the base.

Read more here.

","short_text":"

From Reuters:

Russian troops have surrounded a Ukrainian airbase in Crimea and issued an ultimatum to forces inside to surrender, the deputy commander of the base in Belbek, near Sevastopol, said on Saturday.

The base, above whi...Read More"},{"id":"867","created":"03/22/2014 8:08 AM EDT","title":"BBC Correspondent Describes Standoff Near Simferopol","tweet_link":"867_bbc-correspondent-describes-standoff-near-simferopol","entry_text":"

Stand-off here at Novofederoskoe base. Taken by Russians but Ukrainians refusing to leave one building. Stormed by Russian crowd, vandalised

— Mark Lowen (@marklowen) March 22, 2014

Ukrainian troops in building throwing smoke to stop Russians from storming further. Refusing to leave pic.twitter.com/TWkhRBElnw

— Mark Lowen (@marklowen) March 22, 2014

Russian crowd tore Ukrainian symbols off building, pulled furniture from inside, looted what could. Ukr commander shouts "this is our base"

— Mark Lowen (@marklowen) March 22, 2014

","short_text":"

Stand-off here at Novofederoskoe base. Taken by Russians but Ukrainians refusing to leave one building. Stormed by Russian crowd, vandalised

— Mark Lowen (@marklowen) Read More"},{"id":"866","created":"03/22/2014 1:17 AM EDT","title":"UN Russian Ambassador: 'We're More Pragmatic Than Messianic'","tweet_link":"866_un-russian-ambassador-were-more-pragmatic-than-messianic","entry_text":"

PBS' Charlie Rose asked Russian ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin on Friday whether Crimea's annexation was part of \"some messianic mission by Vladimir Putin to restore what he considers the glory of the Soviet Union,\" NBC News reports.

Churkin argued, \"That's not true,\" and added \"We are much more pragmatic than messianic. I think Russia is on the rise.\"

Read the full story here.

","short_text":"

PBS' Charlie Rose asked Russian ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin on Friday whether Crimea's annexation was ...Read More"},{"id":"865","created":"03/21/2014 5:43 PM EDT","title":"PHOTO: Russia Supporters Celebrate In Crimea","tweet_link":"865_photo-russia-supporters-celebrate-in-crimea","entry_text":"

\"crimea\"

A man waves a Russian flag as people look at fireworks in the center of the Crimean city of Sevastopol on March 21, 2014. (VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images)

","short_text":"


\nA man waves a Russian flag as people look at fireworks in the center of the Crimean city of Sevastopol on March 21, 2014. (VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images)

"},{"id":"864","created":"03/21/2014 5:37 PM EDT","title":"Report: White House Fears Russians Will Invade More Of Ukraine","tweet_link":"864_report-white-house-fears-russians-will-invade-more-of-ukraine","entry_text":"

CNN reports:

Based on intelligence, Obama administration officials are very concerned the Russians are not being truthful when they say their forces near Ukraine's eastern and southern borders are merely there for training exercises, sources tell CNN.

Officials assess that Russia – as early as coming days – could use any number of pretexts to justify further military incursions into Ukraine.

-- Andrew Hart

","short_text":"

CNN reports:

Based on intelligence, Obama administration officials are very concerned th...Read More"},{"id":"863","created":"03/21/2014 5:01 PM EDT","title":"Canada Joins Sanctions On Bank Rossiya","tweet_link":"863_canada-joins-sanctions-on-bank-rossiya","entry_text":"

Reuters reports that Canada has followed the U.S. in sanctioning the Russian Bank Rossiya.

\"Together with our international allies, our Government is taking a strong stance in our support for Ukraine,\" Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement, according to the news service. \"We continue to take additional actions to limit the capabilities of specific individuals and Bank Rossiya, which are responsible for undermining Ukraine's sovereignty.

-- Eline Gordts

","short_text":"

Reuters reports that Canada has followed the U.S. in sanctioning the Russian Bank Rossiya.

\"Together with our international alli...Read More"},{"id":"862","created":"03/21/2014 3:37 PM EDT","title":"State Department Issues New Travel Warning For Ukraine","tweet_link":"862_state-department-issues-new-travel-warning-for-ukraine","entry_text":"

The State Department issued a new travel warning for Ukraine, warning U.S. citizens to defer all travel to Crimea and parts of Eastern Ukraine:

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Ukraine and to defer all travel to the Crimean Peninsula and eastern regions of Kharkiv, Donetsk and Lugansk due to the presence of Russian military forces in the Crimean Peninsula, and in Russia near the Ukrainian border. Russia is taking actions in support of its attempt to annex the Crimean Peninsula and is likely to continue to take further actions in the Crimean Peninsula consistent with its claim. The United States and Ukraine do not recognize this claimed annexation, and the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv is constrained in its ability to provide assistance to U.S. citizens visiting or residing in the Crimean Peninsula.

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

The State Department issued a new travel warning for Ukraine, warning U.S. citizens to defer all travel to Crimea and parts of Eastern Ukraine:

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Ukraine a...Read More"},{"id":"861","created":"03/21/2014 3:09 PM EDT","title":"OSCE Will Send Monitors To Ukraine","tweet_link":"861_osce-will-send-monitors-to-ukraine","entry_text":"

Russia and other OSCE members agree to send six-month monitoring mission to #Ukraine

— Sky News Newsdesk (@SkyNewsBreak) March 21, 2014

","short_text":"

Russia and other OSCE members agree to send six-month monitoring mission to #Ukraine

— Sky News Newsdesk (@SkyNews...Read More"},{"id":"860","created":"03/21/2014 3:01 PM EDT","title":"Russia's Finance Minister Admits Sanctions Bite","tweet_link":"860_russias-finance-minister-admits-sanctions-bite","entry_text":"

From Reuters:

Russia's Finance Ministry said on Friday it may be forced to cancel plans to borrow abroad this year, admitting that sanctions imposed by the West are already stinging.

The United States imposed sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin's close allies over the annexation of Ukraine's Crimea and warned of more moves that would target major sectors of the Russian economy.

The European Union followed with similar measures against powerful individuals, including freezing assets they hold in the EU. [ID:nL6N0MI1V0]

Since Putin declared on March 3 that Russia had the right to invade Ukraine, Russian stocks have lost on average 10 percent, or more than $60 billion in market capitalization, and the central bank has spent $23 billion defending the rouble as foreign investors, spooked by uncertainty about where the crisis will lead, pull their money out of Russian stocks and bonds.

\"Any sanctions, whatever they are, have a negative impact on bilateral trade, the forecast and the actual economic growth,\" Siluanov told journalists.

Read the full story here.

","short_text":"

From Reuters:

Russia's Finance Ministry said on Friday it may be forced to cancel plans to borrow abroad this year, admitting that sanctions imposed by the West are already stinging.

The United States imposed sanctions on Russi...Read More"},{"id":"859","created":"03/21/2014 2:48 PM EDT","title":"Rice: Fundamental Reassessment ","tweet_link":"859_rice-fundamental-reassessment-","entry_text":"

WH National Security Advisor @AmbassadorRice says "fundamental reassessment" of US-Russian relations is underway. pic.twitter.com/LVuHBDwbtx

— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) March 21, 2014

","short_text":"

WH National Security Advisor @AmbassadorRice says "fundamental reassessment" of US-Russian relations is underway. Read More"},{"id":"858","created":"03/21/2014 1:56 PM EDT","title":"Russian Officials Considering Creating Their Own Payment System After Visa, Mastercard Blocks","tweet_link":"858_russian-officials-considering-creating-their-own-payment-system-after-visa-mastercard-blocks","entry_text":"

A Russian lawmaker and a sanctioned Putin adviser both floated the idea of creating a national system for payments linked with the Chinese system UnionPay, according to Russian media reports. The move comes after Visa and Mastercard blocked customers from two Russian banks, Bank Rossiya and SMP, from making online or retail purchases. (They still can, in theory, get cash from their own bank's ATMs.)

Other duma deputies were floating banning Visa and Mastercard altogether in favor of the new system.

Credit and bank cards have become increasingly popular in Russia in recent years; however, transactions are much more frequently conducted in cash than in the West.

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

A Russian lawmaker and a sanctioned Putin adviser both floated the idea of creating a national system for payments linked with the Chinese system UnionPay, according to Russian Read More"},{"id":"857","created":"03/21/2014 1:49 PM EDT","title":"U.S. House Introduces Ukraine Aid, Russia Sanctions Bill Without IMF Language","tweet_link":"857_us-house-introduces-ukraine-aid-russia-sanctions-bill-without-imf-language","entry_text":"

The U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill describing an aid package for Ukraine as well as Russian sanction on Friday. The piece of legislation does not contain reforms for U.S. contributions to the International Monetary Fund, The Hill reports. The new House bill sets up a confrontation with Senate Democrats who favor such reforms, as does the White House.

More from The Hill:

A bill approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week in a 14-3 vote mirrors the House bill but includes the IMF provisions.

Senate Democrats have vowed to pass their version of the bill as soon as the upper chamber returns next week, and they claim to have at least five Republicans on board. The new House bill is backed by the top Republican and Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, increasing the odds it will move forward.

Read the full report here.

-- Andrew Hart

","short_text":"

The U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill describing an aid package for Ukraine as well as Russian sanction on Friday. The piece of legislation does not contain reforms for U.S. contributions to the International Monetary Fund, Read More"},{"id":"856","created":"03/21/2014 1:24 PM EDT","title":"PHOTOS: Ukrainian Troops Move Out Of Crimea Bases","tweet_link":"856_photos-ukrainian-troops-move-out-of-crimea-bases","entry_text":"

Having spent weeks trapped and surrounded by Russian troops, Ukrainian soldiers and their families were seen packing up and leaving several bases in Crimea on Friday, Reuters reports.

According to the news agency, some soldiers vowed to stay behind or take their weapons with them.

Ukraine's government announced earlier this week it was preparing to withdraw thousands of Ukrainian servicemen stationed in the peninsula after Russia annexed the territory and Moscow loyalists seized Ukrainian military bases there.

\"crimea\"

Ukrainian airmen carry a washing machine while removing their belongings from the Belbek air base, outside Sevastopol, Crimea, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

\"crimea\"

An Ukrainian airman carries a TV set as he leaves the Belbek air base, outside Sevastopol, Crimea, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

-- Charlotte Alfred

","short_text":"

Having spent weeks trapped and surrounded by Russian troops, Ukrainian soldiers and their families were seen packing up and leaving several bases in Crimea on Friday, Reuters reports.

According to the news agency, some soldiers Read More"},{"id":"855","created":"03/21/2014 1:00 PM EDT","title":"Ukraine Conflict May Influence Govt's Decisions On Natural Gas","tweet_link":"855_ukraine-conflict-may-influence-govts-decisions-on-natural-gas","entry_text":"

Bloomberg reports on comments that United States Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz made on Friday morning. Moniz indicated that the U.S. may consider situations like the Ukraine-Russian conflict as it makes decisions about exporting natural gas.

While Moniz said that \"gas and oil flows have not been interrupted\" in the region so far, the overarching geopolitical issues could play a role in the decisions the department is making on applications for liquefied natural gas exports:

\"Maybe we will give some additional weight to the geopolitical criterion going forward,\" Moniz said at a Bloomberg Government breakfast with reporters and editors in Washington. \"But we will never eliminate for sure the issue of implications for the domestic market.\"

--Kate Sheppard

","short_text":"

Bloomberg reports on comments that United States Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz made on Friday morning. Moniz indicated that the U.S. may ...Read More"},{"id":"854","created":"03/21/2014 11:52 AM EDT","title":"New EU Sanctions List Released Targeting 12 Russian Officials","tweet_link":"854_new-eu-sanctions-list-released-targeting-12-russian-officials","entry_text":"

The European Union released a list of 12 Russian officials to be targeted for sanctions. Some of them have already been targeted by the United States' first round of sanctions, but were not included in the E.U.'s first list.

The list includes Deputy Prime Minister Dimitry Rogozin, Putin adviser Sergey Glazyev, Speaker of the Federation Valentina Matvienko, Speaker of the State Duma Sergei Naryshkin, Putin aide Vadislav Surkov, and Duma Deputy Elena Mizulina. All of them have been hit with U.S. sanctions. European sanctions may have a bigger impact on them, since at least some of them are believed to have assets in Europe. However, given that this move has been expected, they may have moved them to other accounts already.

An interesting inclusion is Dimitry Kiselyov, the head of the recently-reorganized federal news agency \"Russia Today\" -- not to be confused with the English-language RT. Kiselyov recently did a segment where he claimed that Russia is the only country capable of turning the U.S. into \"radioactive ash.\" He also said that the gay propaganda law does not go far enough and gays' hearts \"in case of the automobile accident, should be buried in the ground or burned as unsuitable for the continuation of life.\"

The list also includes Mikhail Malyshev and Valery Medvdev, who administered the Crimea referendum, and Lt. Gen. Igor Turchenyuk, commander of the Russian forces in Crimea. Two deputy-commanders of the Black Sea fleet, Valery Kulikov and Alexander Nosatov, are on the list.

The list does not include oligarchs close to Putin that the U.S. announced sanctions against Thursday. They are believed to have very large assets in Europe. Thus far, the heads of the state-controlled oil and gas companies -- Alexey Miller of Gazprom and Igor Sechin of Rosneft -- have been spared sanctions by either the E.U. or the U.S.

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

The European Union released a list of 12 Russian officials to be targeted for sanctions. Some of them have already been targeted by the...Read More"},{"id":"853","created":"03/21/2014 11:26 AM EDT","title":"Naftogaz Chief Arrested","tweet_link":"853_naftogaz-chief-arrested","entry_text":"

Reuters reports that Ukrainian police have detained the chief executive of state energy company Naftogaz. Yevhen Bakulin was arrested in connection with a corruption investigation into the gas industry that may have cost Ukraine about $4 billion.

-- Eline Gordts

","short_text":"

Reuters reports that Ukrainian police have detained the chief executive of state energy company Naftogaz. Yevhen Bakulin was arrested ...Read More"},{"id":"852","created":"03/21/2014 10:49 AM EDT","title":"Liberal Activists Submit Application For Referendum On Secession Of St. Petersburg","tweet_link":"852_liberal-activists-submit-application-for-referendum-on-secession-of-st-petersburg","entry_text":"

A group of liberal activists submitted a petition for a referendum on the independence of St. Petersburg from the rest of Russia to join Europe, Radio Liberty reported.

The referendum has two questions: \"1) Are you for the reunification of Petersburg with Europe on the rights of the commune of the Principality of Liechtenstein? 2) Are you for the restoration of the legislation of St. Petersburg in 1992 and for the status of St. Petersburg as part of the Russian Federation?\"

The application is a stunt on the referendum of Crimea. The activists clearly hope to show a double standard on referendums, since it almost certainly won't make it to voters.

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

A group of liberal activists submitted a petition for a referendum on the independence of St. Petersburg from the rest of Russia to join Europe, Radio Liberty reported.

The re...Read More"},{"id":"851","created":"03/21/2014 10:15 AM EDT","title":"Russian Stocks Down After Sanctions","tweet_link":"851_russian-stocks-down-after-sanctions","entry_text":"

Several top Russian stocks dropped in trading Friday, as Russia's stock market marked the first day of trading since U.S. sanctions were announced.

The ruble-denominated MICEX fell 3 percent and the dollar-denominated RTS fell 3.6 percent.

Russian banks also suffered. Sberbank dropped 2.9 percent and state-owned Vnesheconombank dropped 4.3 percent.

Shares in Novatek, a gas company partly-owned by a fund controlled by sanctioned oligarch Gennady Timchenko, dropped 5.7 percent.

State-controlled Gazprom was down 2.5 percent, Lukoil dropped 3.2 percent, Russian steel firm NLMK fell 2.9% and telecommunications company MTS fell 3 percent.

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

Several top Russian stocks dropped in trading Friday, as Russia's stock market marked the first day of trading since U.S. sanctions were announced.

The ruble-denominated MIC...Read More"},{"id":"850","created":"03/21/2014 10:02 AM EDT","title":"Cameron Lashes Out At Putin","tweet_link":"850_cameron-lashes-out-at-putin","entry_text":"

British Prime Minister David Cameron lashed out at Russian leader Putin on Friday, calling the Crimea referendum \"illegal.\"

Prime Minister David Cameron says the vote in Crimea was "a sham and illegal referendum that took place under the barrel of a Kalashnikov"

— Sky News Newsdesk (@SkyNewsBreak) March 21, 2014

","short_text":"

British Prime Minister David Cameron lashed out at Russian leader Putin on Friday, calling the Crimea referendum \"illegal.\"

Prime Minister David Cameron says the vote in Crimea was "...Read More"},{"id":"849","created":"03/21/2014 8:49 AM EDT","title":"Ban: Respect Ukraine's Territorial Integrity","tweet_link":"849_ban-respect-ukraines-territorial-integrity","entry_text":"

UN chief Ban Ki-moon urges Russia to respect #Ukraine's territorial integrity: live coverage http://t.co/boJRMTHCOQ

— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 21, 2014

","short_text":"

UN chief Ban Ki-moon urges Russia to respect #Ukraine's territorial integrity: live coverage Read More"},{"id":"848","created":"03/21/2014 8:42 AM EDT","title":"Medvedev: Kiev Needs To Pay $11 Billion","tweet_link":"848_medvedev-kiev-needs-to-pay-11-billion","entry_text":"

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday that Moscow wants Ukraine to pay back $11 billion that Kiev saved as part of a gas deal. Russia had given Ukraine a discount on gas prices for hosting a Russian naval base in Crimea.

Agence France Press explains:

Ukraine owes the money because Crimea is now part of Russia and the two countries' 2010 lease agreement was now \"subject to annulment,\" Medvedev said at a meeting of the Security Council.

\"The Ukrainian state saved some $11 billion dollars and accordingly the Russian budget has a missed profit of the same $11 billion,\" he warned.

Read the full story here.

-- Eline Gordts

","short_text":"

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday that Moscow wants Ukraine to pay back $11 billion that Kiev saved as part of a gas deal. Russia had given Ukraine a discount on gas prices for hosting a Russian naval base in Crimea.

Agence F...Read More"},{"id":"847","created":"03/21/2014 8:34 AM EDT","title":"France To Suspend Military Cooperation With Russia","tweet_link":"847_france-to-suspend-military-cooperation-with-russia","entry_text":"

French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed on Friday that France is suspending military cooperation with Russia. Le Drian made the announcement during a trip to the Baltic states.

From Reuters:

He said the suspension would concern joint military exercices but said nothing about the fate of contracts to supply Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia. On Thursday Le Drian had said such a decision would not be taken until October.

-- Eline Gordts

","short_text":"

French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed on Friday that France is suspending military cooperation with Russia. Le Drian made the announcement during a trip to the Baltic states.

Read More"},{"id":"846","created":"03/21/2014 8:26 AM EDT","title":" Russia Will Respons In Kind To U.S. Sanctions","tweet_link":"846_-russia-will-respons-in-kind-to-us-sanctions","entry_text":"

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday that Russia \"will respond every time\" to new U.S. or European sanctions imposed on Moscow, Reuters reports. \"We have responded to the first sanctions. Now we will also react to these, of course. They will not remain without a response.\"

","short_text":"

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday that Russia \"will respond every time\" to new U.S. or European sanctions imposed on Moscow, Read More"},{"id":"845","created":"03/21/2014 8:11 AM EDT","title":"Visa, Mastercard Halt Cards On Sanctioned Banks","tweet_link":"845_visa-mastercard-halt-cards-on-sanctioned-banks","entry_text":"

Visa and Mastercard stopped providing services to two Russian banks hit by U.S. sanctions Friday, leading cardholders to swamp call centers with complaints that their cards were locked out.

The companies no longer will provide services for online or retail purchases to Bank Rossiya, the bank on the U.S. sanctions list, or SMP bank, which is owned by the sanctioned billionaire oligarchs Boris and Arkady Rotenberg. Cardholders can still withdraw money from their own banks' ATMs or at a branch, but online and retail purchases will no longer be accepted.

A Wall Street Journal reporter hung out outside a Bank Rossiya branch in Moscow Friday, and found that no one wanted to give their name. The ATMs were only intermittently dispensing cash.

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

Visa and Mastercard stopped providing services to two Russian banks hit by U.S. sanctions Friday, leading cardholders to ...Read More"},{"id":"844","created":"03/21/2014 8:10 AM EDT","title":"France Offers Warplanes For Baltic Air Patrols","tweet_link":"844_france-offers-warplanes-for-baltic-air-patrols","entry_text":"

From the Associated Press:

A defense ministry official says France is offering to send warplanes to help provide air patrols over the Baltic states and Poland amid growing tensions between the West and Russia.

The ministry official says France was \"available — if NATO requests it — to contribute to air policing patrols\" in the former Soviet republics and Poland, now members of the Atlantic alliance. The comments came as French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian visiting Estonia, Lithuania and Poland on Friday.

The United States and Britain have already provided such support.

A French contribution could include warplanes, AWACs surveillance aircraft and radar. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

","short_text":"

From the Associated Press:

A defense ministry official says France is offering to send warplanes to help provide air patrol...Read More"},{"id":"843","created":"03/21/2014 8:00 AM EDT","title":"Putin Signs Bill Completing Annex Of Crimea","tweet_link":"843_putin-signs-bill-completing-annex-of-crimea","entry_text":"

BREAKING: Putin signs bills completing Russia's annexation of Crimea.

— The Associated Press (@AP) 4 years ago

","short_text":"

BREAKING: Putin signs bills completing Russia's annexation of Crimea.

— The Associated Press (@AP) 4 years ago

"},{"id":"842","created":"03/21/2014 7:58 AM EDT","title":"Putin: I'm Putting My Salary In Bank Rossiya","tweet_link":"842_putin-im-putting-my-salary-in-bank-rossiya","entry_text":"

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that he would put his annual salary in an account at Bank Rossiya, which the United States sanctioned Thursday.

“I’ve already said that I was going to open an account in this bank, more than that I asked for my salary to be transferred to this account,” he said. “The clients of the bank must be taken under our protection. We also should make sure that neither clients nor the bank will sustain any negative outcome from this situation.”

Putin made about $187,000 in 2012, according to his official tax records. But numerous reports suggest that he has wealth much higher, into the billions.

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that he would put his annual salary in an account at Bank Rossiya, which the United States sanctioned Thursday.

“I’ve already said that I was going to open an account in this bank, more than that I...Read More"},{"id":"841","created":"03/20/2014 11:14 PM EDT","title":"Ukraine Sets Deadline For Turning In Firearms","tweet_link":"841_ukraine-sets-deadline-for-turning-in-firearms","entry_text":"

The New York Times reports that Ukraine's interim government has set a deadline for militias to turn over illegal firearms:

The order was seconded on Thursday by the French ambassador to Ukraine, Alain Rémy, who said the disarmament of the militias that helped overthrow the former government is a central requirement for the European Union to begin disbursing financial aid, along with the government fighting corruption.

Read more here.

","short_text":"

The New York Times reports that Ukraine's interim government has set a deadline for militias to turn over il...Read More"},{"id":"840","created":"03/20/2014 8:14 PM EDT","title":"Report: U.S. House To Introduce Ukraine Bill Without IMF Reforms","tweet_link":"840_report-us-house-to-introduce-ukraine-bill-without-imf-reforms","entry_text":"

Reuters reports that, according to anonymous congressional aides, the U.S. House will introduce a Ukraine bill on Friday that does not include IMF reforms:

The bill includes many of the provisions included in a bill passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but has key differences, including the absence of the IMF reforms, a congressional aide said.

Read the full story here.

","short_text":"

Reuters reports that, according to anonymous congressional aides, the U.S. House will introduce a Ukraine bill on Friday that doe...Read More"},{"id":"839","created":"03/20/2014 7:39 PM EDT","title":"EU Freezes Assets, Enacts Travel Bans On More Linked To Crimea Unrest","tweet_link":"839_eu-freezes-assets-enacts-travel-bans-on-more-linked-to-crimea-unrest","entry_text":"

BREAKING: EU slaps asset freezes, travel bans on 12 more people linked to Crimea unrest, annexation.

— The Associated Press (@AP) March 20, 2014

Read the report from the Associated Press.

","short_text":"

BREAKING: EU slaps asset freezes, travel bans on 12 more people linked to Crimea unrest, annexation.

— The Associated Press (@AP) March...Read More"},{"id":"838","created":"03/20/2014 6:22 PM EDT","title":"Russia's Defense Chief Tells Hagel Moscow Won't Intervene In Eastern Ukraine","tweet_link":"838_russias-defense-chief-tells-hagel-moscow-wont-intervene-in-eastern-ukraine","entry_text":"

Hagel assured by Russian minister Moscow will not push beyond Crimea http://t.co/ykIWI7nAyn

— GuardianUS (@GuardianUS) March 20, 2014

","short_text":"

Hagel assured by Russian minister Moscow will not push beyond Crimea http://t.co/ykIWI7nAyn

— GuardianUS (@GuardianUS) Read More"},{"id":"837","created":"03/20/2014 5:53 PM EDT","title":"Poland Speeds Up Missile Defense Plan","tweet_link":"837_poland-speeds-up-missile-defense-plan","entry_text":"

Reuters reports that Poland is planning to accelerate its tender for a missile defense system, indicating growing fears in Warsaw in the wake of Russia's takeover of Crimea.

From Reuters:

\"The issues related with Poland's air defense will be accelerated,\" spokesman Jacek Sonta said. \"Poland plans to choose the best offer for its missile defense in the next few weeks.\"

The NATO member had planned to reduce the number of bidders by June, but the crisis in Ukraine and concerns about Russia's annexation of Crimea have prompted officials to speed up the timetable.

There are four bidders: France's Thales, in a consortium with European group MBDA and the Polish state defense group; the Israeli government; Raytheon of the United States; and the MEADS consortium led by Lockheed Martin.

The spokesman added that Poland would like to sign the final agreement on the construction of the missile shield this year.

Read the full story here.

-- Eline Gordts

","short_text":"

Reuters reports that Poland is planning to accelerate its tender for a missile defense system, indicating growing fears in Warsaw in the wake of Russia's takeover of Crimea.

From Reuters:

\"The issues related with Poland's air ...Read More"},{"id":"836","created":"03/20/2014 5:41 PM EDT","title":"Russian Tycoons Take Big Hit","tweet_link":"836_russian-tycoons-take-big-hit","entry_text":"

The Associated Press reports that Russian tycoons took a big hit on Thursday as the United States slapped several of them with sanctions.

From the AP:

Russia's most powerful businessmen waited for over an hour Thursday to hear from President Vladimir Putin, whose decision to annex the Crimean Peninsula has cost their companies hundreds of millions of dollars in market value.

When Putin finally showed up, he spoke to them for five minutes — and gave them no reassurances that they or their companies will get any respite from the uncertainty created by the takeover of a piece of land of little value to them beyond national pride.

Russia's economy has been pinched by the crisis over Crimea, even before the new sanctions the U.S. and Europe announced Thursday.

The Russian stock market has tanked 10 percent this month, wiping out billions in market capitalization. Economists have slashed growth forecasts to zero this year and foreign investors have been pulling money out of Russian banks. The Standard & Poor's ratings agency on Thursday cited all these issues when it cut its outlook for the country.

-- Eline Gordts

","short_text":"

The Associated Press reports that Russian tycoons took a big hit on Thursday as the United States slapped several of them with sanctions.

From the AP:

Russia's most powerful businessmen waited for over an hour Thursday to hear ...Read More"},{"id":"835","created":"03/20/2014 5:22 PM EDT","title":"Russian Stores Sanction Obama, Congress","tweet_link":"835_russian-stores-sanction-obama-congress","entry_text":"

In the wake of President Obama's announcement of new sanctions against Russia, a few Russian stores announced \"sanctions\" against President Barack Obama and Congress in return, announcing that they could not come in.

Here is 'The Honey Store.'

Непрерывно поступают новые данные о бойкоте Барака Обамыча pic.twitter.com/nVJaOG79R8

— ER Insider ♻ (@ER_Insider) March 20, 2014

Here is the store, XXL.

@rykov Устройте флешмоб: "На всех магазинах страны!" pic.twitter.com/5v45nxf8v4

— Бурый воин (@gunn_lurid) March 20, 2014

And to top it off, a Russian satirical site showed a picture of a dog with a sign saying that Obama and Congress were banned from petting, because of sanctions.

санкции про США (это вам не мед) pic.twitter.com/lzplsXiYZl

— Gogol's wives (@GogolsWives) March 20, 2014

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

In the wake of President Obama's announcement of new sanctions against Russia, a few Russian stores announced \"sanctions\" against President Barack Obama and Congress in return, announcing that they could not come in.

Here is 'The Honey Store.'\r\nRead More"},{"id":"834","created":"03/20/2014 4:56 PM EDT","title":"Putin's Approval Rating Reaches New Record: State-Owned Pollster","tweet_link":"834_putins-approval-rating-reaches-new-record-stateowned-pollster","entry_text":"

VTsIOM, the state-owned pollster, said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's approval rating reached a record high for the last five years of 75.7 percent Thursday. Putin's approval ratings have gone up since the Crimea incursion. Of course, polling in an authoritarian state is tricky, but it seems that Putin's actions have created a rally-around-the-flag effect.

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

VTsIOM, the state-owned pollster, said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's approval rating reached a record high for the last five years of 75.7 percent Thursday. Putin's ap...Read More"},{"id":"833","created":"03/20/2014 3:55 PM EDT","title":"Timchenko Sells Shares In Guvnor After Sanction","tweet_link":"833_timchenko-sells-shares-in-guvnor-after-sanction","entry_text":"

Gennady Timchenko, one of the oligarchs sanctioned by the United States Thursday, sold his stake in the oil trading firm that he founded, Gunvor. Timoshenko sold his 44 percent stake in the company to the man whom he co-founded the company with.

\"Anticipating potential economic sanctions so to ensure with certainty the continued and uninterrupted operations of Gunvor Group Ltd’s activities, the shares of the company held by Mr. Gennady Timchenko were sold on March 19 from his personal holding vehicle to Mr. Torbjorn Törnqvist personally,\" the company wrote on its website. \"As a result, Mr. Törnqvist has become the majority owner of Gunvor Group Ltd, with an 87 percent stake, and Mr. Timchenko has fully divested his entire holdings in the company. The remaining 13 percent of shares are held by senior employees of Gunvor. There are no outside shareholders.\"

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

Gennady Timchenko, one of the oligarchs sanctioned by the United States Thursday, sold his stake in the oil trading firm that he founded, Gunvo...Read More"},{"id":"832","created":"03/20/2014 3:34 PM EDT","title":"Full Text Of Obama's Statement On Ukraine This Morning","tweet_link":"832_full-text-of-obamas-statement-on-ukraine-this-morning","entry_text":"

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. I wanted to provide an update on the situation in Ukraine and the steps that the United States is taking in response.

Over the last several days, we’ve continued to be deeply concerned by events in Ukraine. We've seen an illegal referendum in Crimea; an illegitimate move by the Russians to annex Crimea; and dangerous risks of escalation, including threats to Ukrainian personnel in Crimea and threats to southern and eastern Ukraine as well. These are all choices that the Russian government has made -- choices that have been rejected by the international community, as well as the government of Ukraine. And because of these choices, the United States is today moving, as we said we would, to impose additional costs on Russia.

Based on the executive order that I signed in response to Russia’s initial intervention in Ukraine, we’re imposing sanctions on more senior officials of the Russian government. In addition, we are today sanctioning a number of other individuals with substantial resources and influence who provide material support to the Russian leadership, as well as a bank that provides material support to these individuals.

Now, we’re taking these steps as part of our response to what Russia has already done in Crimea. At the same time, the world is watching with grave concern as Russia has positioned its military in a way that could lead to further incursions into southern and eastern Ukraine. For this reason, we’ve been working closely with our European partners to develop more severe actions that could be taken if Russia continues to escalate the situation.

As part of that process, I signed a new executive order today that gives us the authority to impose sanctions not just on individuals but on key sectors of the Russian economy. This is not our preferred outcome. These sanctions would not only have a significant impact on the Russian economy, but could also be disruptive to the global economy. However, Russia must know that further escalation will only isolate it further from the international community. The basic principles that govern relations between nations in Europe and around the world must be upheld in the 21st century. That includes respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity -- the notion that nations do not simply redraw borders, or make decisions at the expense of their neighbors simply because they are larger or more powerful.

One of our other top priorities continues to be providing assistance to the government of Ukraine so it can stabilize its economy and meet the basic needs of the Ukrainian people. As I travel to Europe next week to meet with the G7 and other European and Asian allies, I once again urge Congress to pass legislation that is necessary to provide this assistance -- and do it right away. Expressions of support are not enough. We need action. I also hope that the IMF moves swiftly to provide a significant package of support for Ukrainians as they pursue reforms.

In Europe, I’ll also be reinforcing a message that Vice President Biden carried to Poland and the Baltic states this week: America’s support for our NATO allies is unwavering. We’re bound together by our profound Article 5 commitment to defend one another, and by a set of shared values that so many generations sacrificed for. We’ve already increased our support for our Eastern European allies, and we will continue to strengthen NATO’s collective defense, and we will step up our cooperation with Europe on economic and energy issues as well.

Let me close by making a final point. Diplomacy between the United States and Russia continues. We’ve emphasized that Russia still has a different path available -- one that de-escalates the situation, and one that involves Russia pursuing a diplomatic solution with the government in Kyiv, with the support of the international community. The Russian people need to know, and Mr. Putin needs to understand that the Ukrainians shouldn’t have to choose between the West and Russia. We want the Ukrainian people to determine their own destiny, and to have good relations with the United States, with Russia, with Europe, with anyone that they choose. And that can only happen if Russia also recognized the rights of all the Ukrainian people to determine their future as free individuals, and as a sovereign nation -- rights that people and nations around the world understand and support.

Thank you very much, everybody.

","short_text":"

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. I wanted to provide an update on the situation in Ukraine and the steps that the United States is taking in response.

Over the last several days, we’ve continued to be deeply concerned by events in Ukra...Read More"},{"id":"831","created":"03/20/2014 3:34 PM EDT","title":"S&P Lowers Outlook On Russia","tweet_link":"831_sp-lowers-outlook-on-russia","entry_text":"

S&P lowered its outlook on Russia but has not cut its rating yet. In fact, affirmed its triple-B rating. http://t.co/R6rsviJZ98

— Paul Sonne (@PaulSonne) March 20, 2014

","short_text":"

S&P lowered its outlook on Russia but has not cut its rating yet. In fact, affirmed its triple-B rating. http://t.co/R6rsviJZ98

— Paul Sonne...Read More"},{"id":"830","created":"03/20/2014 2:20 PM EDT","title":"U.S. Officials Proud To Be On Sanctions List","tweet_link":"830_us-officials-proud-to-be-on-sanctions-list","entry_text":"

American lawmakers are cheering their inclusion on the Russian sanctions list, report HuffPost's Luke Johnson and Sabrina Siddiqui.

\"The Speaker is proud to be included on a list of those willing to stand against Putin’s aggression,\" Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in a statement, “I guess this means my spring break in Siberia is off, my Gazprom stock is lost, and my secret bank account in Moscow is frozen. Nonetheless, I will never cease my efforts on behalf of the freedom, independence, and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea.\"

Read the full story here.

-- Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

American lawmakers are cheering their inclusion on the Russian sanctions list, report HuffPost's Luke Johnson and Sabrina Siddiqui.

Read More"},{"id":"829","created":"03/20/2014 2:19 PM EDT","title":"Russian Embassy In UK Calls EU 'Misogynist' In Statement","tweet_link":"829_russian-embassy-in-uk-calls-eu-misogynist-in-statement","entry_text":"

Russia's Embassy in the United Kingdom released an extensive statement in response to a tweet from the British Embassy in Moscow calling the Crimean government a puppet of Russia and declaring the referendum illegal.

More from the statement:

We are being reassured by Foreign Office that the British Government wants to maintain normal diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation. If that is the wish of our British partners, then this relationship has got to be normal and diplomatic including at the level of rhetoric. Good relations ought to be valued. The British side should mind its language. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with the British Embassy in Moscow.

It seems that the harsh rhetoric, quite beyond the pale, is meant to cover up the gross inaptitude of the Brussels bureaucracy, who badly mismanaged the entire EU Ukrainian enterprise, and its zero-sum motive to engineer a Cold War type geopolitical grab on Russia’s borders to be financed by EU taxpayers’ money.

The same could be said on the EU sanctions against Russian citizens, including parliamentarians and women, which have been introduced on a shaky legal foundation and betray discriminatory and even misogynist attitude of the EU establishment, bent on meting out extrajudicial punishment to people for speaking up their mind. Who are the judges? Nobody has ever been sanctioned or brought to justice for Britain’s illegal war in Iraq, including the death of 179 British soldiers.

As is known, the British sense of style doomed Sir Oswald Mosley’s guys. Does the same sense put up with the sight of Svoboda thugs, armed with baseball bats, roughing up Ukrainian TV Channel One head Panteleymonov and others who disagree with them? We have not seen London’s reaction to that.

Mosley was a prominent British Nazi.

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

Russia's Embassy in the United Kingdom released an extensive statement in response to a tweet from the British Embassy in Moscow calling the Crimean government a pu...Read More"},{"id":"828","created":"03/20/2014 1:55 PM EDT","title":"Treasury Tweets In Russian To Sanctions List","tweet_link":"828_treasury-tweets-in-russian-to-sanctions-list","entry_text":"

The Treasury Department tweeted a link in Russian to the sanctions list. \"Link to information about sanctions announced by the United States against Russian government officials, private people and a bank,\" read the tweet.

ссылка на информацию о санкциях объявленными США против Российских правительственных чиновников, частных лиц, и банка http://t.co/ZI5y17Bsli

— Treasury Department (@USTreasury) March 20, 2014

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

The Treasury Department tweeted a link in Russian to the sanctions list. \"Link to information about sanctions announced by the United States against Russian government officials, private people and a bank,\" read the tweet.

Read More"},{"id":"827","created":"03/20/2014 1:03 PM EDT","title":"Crimea's Attorney General Has Become An Internet Sensation","tweet_link":"827_crimeas-attorney-general-has-become-an-internet-sensation","entry_text":"

Crimea's Attorney General Natalya Poklonskaya is now something of an obsession for internet users, according to web culture blog Kotaku. A recent press conference of Poklonskaya uploaded by a Japanese YouTube channel has now been viewed over 300,000 times, and numerous images of her depicted as an anime character are currently filling up various internet forums.

--Nick Robins-Early

","short_text":"

Crimea's Attorney General Natalya Poklonskaya is now something of an obsession for internet users, according to web culture blog Kotaku. A recent ...Read More"},{"id":"826","created":"03/20/2014 12:26 PM EDT","title":"Full List Of Americans Sanctioned By Russia","tweet_link":"826_full-list-of-americans-sanctioned-by-russia","entry_text":"

Russia's list of USA officials sanctioned pic.twitter.com/2eKBlh9lWw

— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) March 20, 2014

","short_text":"

Russia's list of USA officials sanctioned pic.twitter.com/2eKBlh9lWw

— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) Read More"},{"id":"825","created":"03/20/2014 12:10 PM EDT","title":"IMF Extends Talks With Ukraine On Aid Package","tweet_link":"825_imf-extends-talks-with-ukraine-on-aid-package","entry_text":"

From Reuters:

The International Monetary Fund on Thursday extended talks IMF officials are holding with Ukraine on an aid package until March 25, saying progress had been made but more time was needed to wrap up the mission.

\"The mission has made significant progress in discussing with the Ukrainian authorities the policies to put the country on the path of economic reform, sound governance, and sustainable growth while protecting the poor and vulnerable,\" IMF mission chief Nikolay Gueorguiev said in a statement.

\"The authorities' comprehensive reform program covers a wide range of issues and additional work needs to be completed to advance program discussions.\"

The mission had been scheduled to conclude on Friday.

-- Eline Gordts

","short_text":"

From Reuters:

The International Monetary Fund on Thursday extended talks IMF officials are holding with Ukraine on an...Read More"},{"id":"824","created":"03/20/2014 12:07 PM EDT","title":"Menendez On Being On Russia's Sanction List: I'll Take It","tweet_link":"824_menendez-on-being-on-russias-sanction-list-ill-take-it","entry_text":"

Sen. Menendez on being

included on Russia's sanctions list: "I'll take it."

http://t.co/9laeIeGE8e

Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui)

href=\"https://twitter.com/SabrinaSiddiqui/statuses/446678249943617536\">March

20, 2014

","short_text":"

Sen. Menendez on being
\nincluded on Russia's sanctions list: "I'll take it."
\nhttp://t.co/9laeIeGE8e


\nSabrina Siddiqui (@Sab...Read More"},{"id":"823","created":"03/20/2014 12:05 PM EDT","title":"Boehner 'Proud' To Be Included On List Of U.S. Officials Sanctioned","tweet_link":"823_boehner-proud-to-be-included-on-list-of-us-officials-sanctioned","entry_text":"

"The Speaker is

proud to be included on a list of those willing to stand against

Putin's aggression," says Boehner spox

href=\"https://twitter.com/michael_steel\">@michael_steel.

Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur)

href=\"https://twitter.com/sahilkapur/statuses/446677357165031424\">March

20, 2014

","short_text":"

"The Speaker is
\nproud to be included on a list of those willing to stand against
\nPutin's aggression," says Boehner spox \nhref=\"https://twitter.com/michael_steel\">@michael_steelRead More"},{"id":"822","created":"03/20/2014 12:03 PM EDT","title":"Russia Strikes Back With Sanctions Against US","tweet_link":"822_russia-strikes-back-with-sanctions-against-us","entry_text":"

State-owned Russia Today is reporting that Moscow will slap the U.S. with sanctions against several officials. This news comes just minutes after President Obama announces more sanctions on Russia.

Read more from RT here.

-- Alana Horowitz

","short_text":"

State-owned Russia Today is reporting that Moscow will slap the U.S. with sanctions against several officials. This news comes just minutes after President Obama announces more sanctions on Russia.

Read more from RT Read More"},{"id":"821","created":"03/20/2014 11:25 AM EDT","title":"Obama Announces New Sanctions Against Officials","tweet_link":"821_obama-announces-new-sanctions-against-officials","entry_text":"

President Barack Obama announced sanctions against Russian officials and said he had authorized sanctioning of sectors of the Russian economy Thursday.

Here are the details, from the Treasury Department.

BUSHMIN, Evgeni Viktorovich (a.k.a. BUSHMIN, Evgeny; a.k.a. BUSHMIN, Yevgeny); DOB 10 Oct 1958; POB Lopatino, Sergachiisky Region, Russia; Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation; Chairman of the Council of the Federation Budget and Financial Markets Committee (individual) [UKRAINE2].

DZHABAROV, Vladimir Michailovich; DOB 29 Sep 1952; First Deputy Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation (individual) [UKRAINE2].

FURSENKO, Andrei Alexandrovich (a.k.a. FURSENKO, Andrei; a.k.a. FURSENKO, Andrey); DOB 17 Jul 1949; POB St. Petersburg, Russia; Aide to the President of the Russian Federation (individual) [UKRAINE2].

GROMOV, Alexei; DOB 1960; POB Zagorsk (Sergiev, Posad), Moscow Region, Russia; First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office; First Deputy Head of Presidential Administration; First Deputy Presidential Chief of Staff (individual) [UKRAINE2].

IVANOV, Sergei (a.k.a. IVANOV, Sergey); DOB 31 Jan 1953; POB St. Petersburg, Russia; Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office (individual) [UKRAINE2].

IVANOV, Victor Petrovich (a.k.a. IVANOV, Viktor); DOB 12 May 1950; alt. DOB 1952; POB Novgorod, Russia (individual) [UKRAINE2].

KOHZIN, Vladimir Igorevich; DOB 28 Feb 1959; POB Troitsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia (individual) [UKRAINE2].

KOVALCHUK, Yuri Valentinovich (a.k.a. KOVALCHUK, Yury Valentinovich); DOB 25 Jul 1951; POB Saint Petersburg, Russia (individual) [UKRAINE2].

MIRONOV, Sergei Mikhailovich (a.k.a. MIRONOV, Sergei); DOB 14 Feb 1953; POB Pushkin, Saint Petersburg, Russia; Member of the Council of the State Duma; Leader of A Just Russia Party; Member of the State Duma Committee on Housing Policy and Housing and Communal Services (individual) [UKRAINE2].

NARYSHKIN, Sergey Yevgenyevich (a.k.a. NARYSHKIN, Sergei); DOB 27 Oct 1954; POB Saint Petersburg, Russia (individual) [UKRAINE2].

OZEROV, Viktor Alekseevich (a.k.a. OZEROV, Viktor Alexeyevich); DOB 05 Jan 1958; POB Abakan, Khakassia, Russia; Chairman of the Security and Defense Federation Council of the Russian Federation (individual) [UKRAINE2].

PANTELEEV, Oleg Evgenevich (a.k.a. PANTELEEV, Oleg); DOB 21 Jul 1952; POB Zhitnikovskoe, Kurgan Region, Russia; First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Parliamentary Issues (individual) [UKRAINE2].

ROTENBERG, Arkady; DOB 15 Dec 1951; POB St. Petersburg, Russia (individual) [UKRAINE2].

ROTENBERG, Boris; DOB 03 Jan 1957; POB St. Petersburg, Russia (individual) [UKRAINE2].

RYZHKOV, Nikolai Ivanovich (a.k.a. RYZHKOV, Nikolai); DOB 28 Sep 1929; POB Duleevka, Donetsk Region, Ukraine; Senator in the Russian Upper House of Parliament; Member of the Committee for Federal Issues, Regional Politics and the North of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation (individual) [UKRAINE2].

SERGUN, Igor Dmitrievich; DOB 28 Mar 1957; Lieutenant General; Chief of the Main Directorate of the General Staff (GRU); Deputy Chief of the General Staff (individual) [UKRAINE2].

TIMCHENKO, Gennady (a.k.a. TIMCHENKO, Gennadiy Nikolayevich; a.k.a. TIMCHENKO, Gennady Nikolayevich; a.k.a. TIMTCHENKO, Guennadi), Geneva, Switzerland; DOB 09 Nov 1952; POB Leninakan, Armenia; alt. POB Gyumri, Armenia; nationality Finland; alt. nationality Russia; alt. nationality Armenia (individual) [UKRAINE2].

TOTOONOV, Aleksandr Borisovich (a.k.a. TOTOONOV, Alexander; a.k.a. TOTOONOV, Alexander B.); DOB 03 Mar 1957; POB Ordzhonikidze, North Ossetia, Russia; alt. POB Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, Russia; Member of the Committee on Culture, Science, and Information, Federation Council of the Russian Federation (individual) [UKRAINE2].

YAKUNIN, Vladimir; DOB 30 Jun 1948; POB Vladimir Oblast, Russia (individual) [UKRAINE2].

ZHELEZNYAK, Sergei Vladimirovich (a.k.a. ZHELEZNYAK, Sergei; a.k.a. ZHELEZNYAK, Sergey); DOB 30 Jul 1970; POB Saint Petersburg, Russia; Deputy Speaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation (individual) [UKRAINE2].

The following entity has been added to OFAC's SDN List:

BANK ROSSIYA (f.k.a. AKTSIONERNY BANK RUSSIAN FEDERATION), 2 Liter A Pl. Rastrelli, Saint Petersburg 191124, Russia; SWIFT/BIC ROSY RU 2P; Website www.abr.ru; Email Address bank@abr.ru [UKRAINE2].

The announcement comes after earlier sanctions were dismissed by many in Moscow and Washington as limited.

--Luke Johnson

","short_text":"

President Barack Obama announced sanctions against Russian officials and said he had authorized sanctioning of sectors of the Russian economy Thursday.

Read More"},{"id":"820","created":"03/20/2014 11:11 AM EDT","title":"Obama: 'Ukrainians Shouldn't Have To Choose Between The U.S. And Russia'","tweet_link":"820_obama-ukrainians-shouldnt-have-to-choose-between-the-us-and-russia","entry_text":"

Obama stressed that diplomacy between the United States and Russia continues, adding that Moscow still has the possibility to take a different course.

The president stressed however that \"the Ukrainians shouldn't have to choose between the U.S. and Russia.\"

-- Eline Gordts

","short_text":"

Obama stressed that diplomacy between the United States and Russia continues, adding that Moscow still has the possibility to take a different course.

The president stressed however that \"the Ukrainians shouldn't have to choose between the U.S. ...Read More"},{"id":"819","created":"03/20/2014 11:09 AM EDT","title":"Obama: 'We Need Action'","tweet_link":"819_obama-we-need-action","entry_text":"

Obama said that providing assistance to the government in Ukraine remains a top U.S. priority and he urged American lawmakers to pass legislation that would help Kiev to push through crucial reforms.

\"Expression of support are not enough,\" Obama said. \"We need action.\"

-- Eline Gordts

","short_text":"

Obama said that providing assistance to the government in Ukraine remains a top U.S. priority and he urged American lawmakers to pass legislation that would help Kiev to push through crucial reforms.

\"Expression of support are not enough,\" Oba...Read More"},{"id":"818","created":"03/20/2014 11:07 AM EDT","title":"Obama Announces New Sanctions","tweet_link":"818_obama-announces-new-sanctions","entry_text":"

\"The United States is moving to impose additional costs on Russia,\" Obama announced during a statement in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday.

Obama explained that the U.S. is sanctioning senior Russian officials and individuals and a bank that are providing support to the Kremlin. The U.S. will also be targeting segments of the Russian economy.

-- Eline Gordts

","short_text":"

\"The United States is moving to impose additional costs on Russia,\" Obama announced during a statement in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday.

Obama explained that the U.S. is sanctioning senior Russian officials and individuals and a bank t...Read More"}]

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