The Trump White House has loosened financial sanctions against Russia’s powerful security agency that the Obama administration had imposed as punishment for Russia’s meddling in November’s presidential election and for Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. The administration downplayed the action, but the decision drew fire from Democrats and some Republicans who oppose lifting any sanctions against the Russians.
For Putin, in his 17th year of dominating the Russian political landscape, a deal with President Trump, or even an early symbolic concession such as easing minor sanctions, matters. Expected to contest a presidential election next year that could extend his time in the Kremlin to 2024, he needs sanctions relief to help lift the economy out of recession.
Putin got his big break in politics when, as a young intelligence officer, he affirmed that a murky videotape of a man cavorting with hookers was indeed a foe of Boris Yeltsin’s. Today, sleazy videos of public figures are a regular feature on Russian TV.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will propose offering to end sanctions imposed on Russia over its annexation of Crimea in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal with Moscow, he told The Times of London. “They have sanctions on Russia — let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia,” the Republican president-elect said during his interview.
What exactly do Trump voters think they’re getting out of the Russian connection? Most simply don’t care. They’ve basically chosen party over country. They dislike Americans who vote Democratic far more than Putin, a distant figure. And most are too busy gloating and rationalizing Trump’s boasts to worry about the Kremlin’s arm lock on the White House.
A bipartisan group of 27 U.S. senators sent a letter to Donald Trump urging him to take a tough line against Russia over its “military land grab” in Ukraine.
When asked if Trump would consider recognizing Crimea as a Russian territory, which Moscow has claimed it is, since its annexation from Ukraine in 2014, Trump reportedly responded “we would be looking at that.”
A House resolution passed Monday urges President Obama’s administration to provide “lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine before it is too late.”
Ukrainian forces fighting pro-Russian separatists refute the claim that they are using prohibited weapons in heavily populated areas.
Kiev (AFP) — Ukrainian lawmakers ratified a landmark EU pact Tuesday that steers the ex-Soviet state closer to the West, and pledged autonomy for pro-Russian rebels waging war in the east. But Russia signaled it had no intention of backing down in the most serious East-West standoff since the Cold war, with the announcement it […]
Washington (AFP) – The United States warned Friday it would not accept any use of Russian military forces in eastern Ukraine, amid reports they could be used to protect pro-Moscow civilians in the country. “We are monitoring the situation carefully. We will not accept the use, under any pretext, of any Russian military forces in […]
Kiev (AFP) – NATO on Thursday reported another build-up of Russian forces near Ukraine as its new president put in place key pieces of his pro-Western government and embraced an EU trade pact that has been bitterly fought by the Kremlin. Ukraine’s parliament unanimously confirmed as foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin — a charismatic 46-year-old ambassador […]
Brussels (AFP) – Western leaders come face-to-face with President Vladimir Putin in Paris on Thursday for the first time since Russia seized Crimea, after a blunt G7 warning that Moscow must stop destabilizing Ukraine or face further sanctions. Most of the leaders gathered for this week’s Group of Seven summit in Brussels will be heading […]
By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s beleaguered “anti-terrorism operation” retook control of two strategic positions in eastern Ukraine from pro-Russia gunmen, reportedly without inflicting civilian or insurgent casualties, acting President Oleksandr Turchinov told lawmakers Thursday. The operation that drove the separatists from positions outside of Kramatorsk and Slovyansk in the turbulent […]
Kiev (AFP) – Separatist rebels killed seven Ukrainian soldiers in a bloody ambush in the restive east on Tuesday, rattling efforts by Europe to step up a diplomatic push to resolve the escalating crisis on its doorstep. The violence flared as German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was in Ukraine to push Kiev and pro-Moscow rebels […]
By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times KIEV, Ukraine — Diplomatic efforts to quell violence in Ukraine hit an impasse Tuesday, with the visiting German foreign minister warning against interference with the country’s May 25 presidential election and his Russian counterpart saying there will be no peace until Ukraine’s interim leaders agree to negotiate with the […]
Kiev (AFP) – Europe stepped up diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine Tuesday, with the German foreign minister in Kiev pushing authorities and pro-Moscow rebels to come together at the negotiating table. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s efforts came amid guarded optimism after the OSCE East-West security body said Moscow supported its road […]
By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times DONETSK, Ukraine — Galvanized by fear and propaganda, residents of eastern Ukraine voted Sunday in a widely condemned and unmonitored referendum on independence that is expected to be declared an overwhelming victory by its separatist organizers. Ukraine’s central government in Kiev denounced the balloting in the self-proclaimed People’s Republic […]
By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times KIEV, Ukraine — In the southeastern port of Mariupol, fighting flared between pro-Russian gunmen trying to seize the city’s police headquarters and Ukrainian defense troops guarding the building. Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov reported 21 dead — all but one of them “terrorists” — and the police building set […]
Slavyansk (Ukraine) (AFP) – Russia on Tuesday rejected a new peace initiative for Ukraine as fears of open war mounted over the ex-Soviet republic, whose troops are waging an increasingly deadly offensive against pro-Moscow rebels. “Chaos and the risk of civil war” are looming, French President Francois Hollande warned after Kiev announced the death toll […]
Washington (AFP) – A U.S. court has blocked a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing from buying Russian-made rocket engines, after private rocket operator SpaceX filed a lawsuit protesting the contract. The preliminary injunction against the deal between the U.S. Air Force and United Launch Systems was issued late Wednesday by Judge Susan Braden […]
Washington (AFP) – The International Monetary Fund approved a $17 billion aid deal for Ukraine, even as Kiev fought to prevent pro-Moscow separatists from grabbing another chunk of the country. Greenlighting a rescue program for an interim government which took power after an uprising two months ago, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said it was crucial […]