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IMF to take decision on Ukraine aid on April 30

IMF to take decision on Ukraine aid on April 30

24 April 2014 | 18:34 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. The International Monetary Fund will take a final decision on a huge rescue plan for embattled Ukraine on April 30, a spokesman said Thursday, cited by AFP.
The global crisis lender agreed tentatively at the end of March to lend Kiev $14-18 billion over two years to lead a broader support package for the economy.

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Russian FM Lavrov: US 'running the show' in Ukraine

Russian FM Lavrov: US 'running the show' in Ukraine

24 April 2014 | 10:34 | FOCUS News Agency
Moscow. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the US of "running the show" in Ukraine, as cited by BBC.
In clips of an interview with Russia Today, released by the Russian Foreign Ministry, Mr Lavrov said it was telling that the government in Kiev had decided to renew military operations against pro-Russian militants, during a visit by the US vice-president, Joe Biden.
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Biden lands in Kiev as Russia accuses Ukraine of breaching deal

Biden lands in Kiev as Russia accuses Ukraine of breaching deal

21 April 2014 | 16:50 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Kiev Monday in a show of support for the pro-Western government, as Russia accused Ukraine of reneging on an international accord meant to defuse tensions over its separatist east, AFP reported.
Biden's two-day visit comes with the clock ticking on a White House warning of further sanctions against Moscow if it fails to implement the agreement hammered out last Thursday in Geneva with Ukraine, the United States and the European Union.
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Kiev authorities violating Geneva accord: Lavrov

Kiev authorities violating Geneva accord: Lavrov

21 April 2014 | 12:31 | FOCUS News Agency
Moscow. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday accused the government in Kiev of breaching an international accord reached last week toward defusing the crisis in Ukraine, AFP reported.
"The Geneva accord is not only not being fulfilled, but steps are being taken, primarily by those who seized power in Kiev, that are grossly breaching the agreements reached in Geneva," Lavrov said at a news conference in Moscow.

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Investments in reorganisation of Crimea’s railway system may top USD 3.6 bn

Investments in reorganisation of Crimea’s railway system may top USD 3.6 bn

21 April 2014 | 09:37 | FOCUS News Agency
Moscow. Russia has started to make calculations concerning the integration of Crimea’s railway system after the peninsula joined the Russian Federation, ITAR-TASS reported.
For the redirecting of the flow of passengers and cargo using the railroad system and going past Ukraine several things will need to be done: a bridge will have to be built over the Kerch Strait, the section of Dzhankoy- Feodosia-Kerch will have to be rehabilitated and a new road between Feodosia and Simferopol may have to be built.
According to experts’ estimations, the total amount of investments may top USD 3.6 billion.
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Biden heads to discuss Ukraine situation with local authorities

Biden heads to discuss Ukraine situation with local authorities

21 April 2014 | 06:28 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will begin a two-day visit to Ukraine on Monday, hours after a fragile Easter truce was shattered and pro-Kremlin rebels in the country's east appealed for help from Russian "peacekeepers", AFP reports.
Biden's arrival in Kiev comes after a deadly gunfight killed at least two pro-Russian militants, an incident which sparked "outrage" in Moscow.
But the Western-backed authorities in Kiev claimed the violence was a set-up by Russia to create a pretext for it to send in troops.
The attack, near the flashpoint town of Slavyansk, undermined an accord worked out in Geneva between Russia, Ukraine and Western powers on Thursday under which "illegal armed groups" were to surrender their weapons.
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Ukraine shootout threatens to bury Geneva peace deal: Guardian

Ukraine shootout threatens to bury Geneva peace deal: Guardian

21 April 2014 | 05:06 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. An international agreement to defuse the crisis in Ukraine was all but shredded on Sunday after a shootout in the separatist town of Slavyansk, The Guardian argues in an analysis on the perspectives of difusing the Ukraine crisis.
Three days after the Geneva deal brought modest hopes for a resolution to the gravest east-west stand-off since the end of the cold war, the midnight incident at a checkpoint – in which reports said as many as five people were killed – unleashed a torrent of accusations and counter-accusations that bodes ill for international peacemakers.
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Russia wants to turn Ukraine in something like Bosnia and Herzegovina: Radoslaw Sikorski

Russia wants to turn Ukraine in something like Bosnia and Herzegovina: Radoslaw Sikorski

21 April 2014 | 02:58 | FOCUS News Agency
Warsaw. According to Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, Russia intends on turning Ukraine into something like Bosnia and Herzegovina. “Speaking about Ukraine’s federative form of government, Russia means a federation such as that of Bosnia, and not that of the USA,” Mr Sikorski explained as quoted by UNIAN. “Moscow desires of having influence over certain parts of Ukraine and, thus, paralyses the country’s unity,” he added. This includes the destabilisation of the situation in Ukraine, changing the election dates, and convoluting economic reforms.
“Russia intends on preventing Ukraine from becoming a successful state with close ties to the EU,” Mr Sikorski concluded.
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Pro-federalists kidnapped Euromaidan activist in Sloviansk

Pro-federalists kidnapped Euromaidan activist in Sloviansk

21 April 2014 | 02:23 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Pro-federalists have kidnapped a Euromaidan activist in the Eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk, UNIAN reports. The kidnapped activist, Irma Krat, is part of the Maidan’s female fraction.
Separatists accuse her of violence against citizens who oppose Ukraine’s EU integration and of killing collaborators of Berkut special forces.
Witnesses say Krat was taken in an unknown direction.
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Vladimir Putin wants to destroy independent Ukraine: Oleksandr Turchynov

Vladimir Putin wants to destroy independent Ukraine: Oleksandr Turchynov

21 April 2014 | 01:43 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Acting President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of attempting to destroy independent Ukraine. “Putin is really afraid of Ukraine as Ukraine gives a good example to other post-Soviet countries that people are free to determine what kind of government they like or dislike,” Turchynov said as quoted by UNIAN.
Ukrainians managed to change the government and to get rid of “crooked” politicians, the acting Ukrainian President explained, adding that “such an example really intimidates Putin.”
According to Turchynov, this is why the Russian president wants not just to take over part of Ukraine’s territory, but to fully destabilise the situation in the country.
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Sergey Lavrov urges for negotiations with Ukraine

Sergey Lavrov urges for negotiations with Ukraine

21 April 2014 | 00:39 | FOCUS News Agency
Moscow. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Sunday urged Ukrainian authorities to sit at the table for negotiations, obozrevatel.com reports.
Mr Lavrov shared his indignation in Twitter over last night’s skirmish near Sloviansk, which left six people dead. He noted violence was no solution and called for world peace.
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Ukraine’s Right Sector denies involvement in shooting in Slavyansk

Ukraine’s Right Sector denies involvement in shooting in Slavyansk

20 April 2014 | 19:19 | FOCUS News Agency
Slavyansk. Right Sector party has denied the claims it is connected with the shooting of last night in the Ukrainian city of Slavyansk, which resulted in victims, UNIAN reported.
”The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) is trying to compromise the Right Sector in the eyes of the Ukrainian citizens and the whole world through slanders,” the Ukrainian party said.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry earlier accused Right Sector of taking part in the shooting and violating the ceasefire during the Easter holidays.
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Western official: US considering deploying Army company to Poland and Estonia for exercises

Western official: US considering deploying Army company to Poland and Estonia for exercises

20 April 2014 | 06:34 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. A Western official says the United States is considering deploying about 150 soldiers for military exercises to begin in Poland and Estonia in the next few weeks, Fox News reports.
The exercises would follow Russia's buildup of forces near its border with Ukraine and its annexation last month of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said earlier this week that the U.S. is looking for ways to reassure its NATO allies of its strong commitment to collective defense.
The Western official says ground exercises in Poland and Estonia would last about two weeks but that such exercises would continue on a rotating basis off and on over time.
The official isn't authorized to discuss the plan by name because it hasn't been made final and requests anonymity.

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Russia President: Russia to wait for one month for Ukraine to pay off debts

Russia President: Russia to wait for one month for Ukraine to pay off debts

19 April 2014 | 14:31 | FOCUS News Agency
Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin recalled that Moscow would wait for one more moth for the payment of the Ukrainian gas debts, UNN.
In an interview for the Vesti v Sabota [English: News on Saturday], Putin said that Moscow’s demand towards Kiev to pay off its debts had nothing to do with the political processes in Ukraine and called the EU countries for cooperation on the issue.
“However, we cannot wait forever. We cannot shift the entire burden of a country of 45 million people on the Russian budget and the Russian taxpayers,” Putin said further.
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Russian President promises to award military men, who took part in Crimea referendum

Russian President promises to award military men, who took part in Crimea referendum

19 April 2014 | 14:11 | FOCUS News Agency
Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he would award the military officers, who took part in the organisation of the referendum in Crimea held on March 16, RIA Novosti reported.
In an interview for the Vesti v Sabota [News on Saturday] programme, Putin also said that Moscow’s demand towards Kiev to pay its gas debts had nothing to do with the political process in Ukraine.
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Pro-Russian activists in Kramatorsk take control over TV station

Pro-Russian activists in Kramatorsk take control over TV station

19 April 2014 | 13:18 | FOCUS News Agency
Kramatorsk. Pro-Russian activists in Kramatorsk, district of Donets, which is seized with clashes between the activists and the law-enforcement authorities, have yet again taken control over the TV tower, RIA Novosti reported.
The broadcasting of Ukrainian television is suspended at the moment, which is not valid for the Russian ones.
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Separatists ban three parties in Sloviansk: UNIAN

Separatists ban three parties in Sloviansk: UNIAN

19 April 2014 | 02:41 | FOCUS News Agency
Sloviansk. Pro-Russian separatist forces have banned three Ukrainian political parties in the city of Sloviansk, UNIAN agency reports. Local separatist leader and acting mayor Vyacheslav Ponomaryov announced that the parties UDAR, Rodina, and Svoboda had been prohibited from carrying out activities within the city.
Mr Ponomaryov also said that local authorities had scheduled a referendum for May 11th on topics like federalisation and using Russian as an official language.
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Sloviansk mayor has resigned, according to separatist forces

Sloviansk mayor has resigned, according to separatist forces

19 April 2014 | 01:03 | FOCUS News Agency
Sloviansk. Separatist forces occupying the city council building in the Ukrainian city of Smolensk announced that Mayor Nelia Shtepa had resigned, korrespondent.net reports.
“Learning that separatism charges have been pressed against Ms Shtepa, we decided to keep her with us. She is here and in a normal condition. She experienced a minor crisis yesterday due to an operation she recently underwent. Ms Shtepa signed her resignation,” separatist leader and acting mayor Vyacheslav Ponomaryov announced.
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Luhansk calls Ukraine parliament to call referendum on power decentralisation

Luhansk calls Ukraine parliament to call referendum on power decentralisation

18 April 2014 | 15:54 | FOCUS News Agency
Luhansk. District Council of Luhansk called upon the Ukrainian parliament to call a referendum on the state status of Ukraine with maximum authority assigned to the powers in the regions, on the state status of the Russian language, as well as on the adoption of an amnesty act, UNIAN reported.
“Citizens in the southeast were refused the right of vote, the right of being citizens of their country. We were called separatists, terrorists and Russian diversionists. The army is ready to be used for the “liberation” of the territories we occupy despite the laws and the Constitution, which do not allow the use of armed forces inside the country and against its own nation,” reads a statement of the District Council of Luhansk.
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Groups of unknown people move from Crimea into Ukraine

Groups of unknown people move from Crimea into Ukraine

18 April 2014 | 15:49 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Groups of unknown people are moving from Crimea into the continental part of Ukraine, Ukrinform reported.
The groups have been noticed to pass the Kerch Strait by vessels.
Marina Ostapenko, spokeswoman for Ukraine's State Security Service (SBU), did not exclude the possible for the vessels to transport weapons and Russian troops.
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PACE President welcomes the agreement reached in Geneva for a resolution of the crisis in Ukraine

PACE President welcomes the agreement reached in Geneva for a resolution of the crisis in Ukraine

18 April 2014 | 15:07 | FOCUS News Agency
Strasbourg. “I welcome the agreement reached yesterday in Geneva between the United States, Russia, the European Union and Ukraine to obtain a de-escalation of tensions in Ukraine," today said Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), a press release reported.
"The agreement, reached with the responsible attitude shown by negotiators, is a positive step after the recent deterioration of the situation and gives hope for a lull in the rising tensions in the coming days."
Ms Brasseur added that the Ukrainian authorities now needed to be supported in their efforts to implement the agreement, which includes, in particular, the disarmament of illegal armed groups currently active in Ukraine, the evacuation of occupied buildings and the end of violent or provocative actions by all participants.
In its resolution adopted on 9 April, the Parliamentary Assembly expressed its deep concern at the risk of destabilisation of the whole region, by further Russian military aggression against Ukraine and recommended to “explore the possibility for tangible security agreements to ensure Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
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Ukraine does not recognise Crimea’s annexation: PM

Ukraine does not recognise Crimea’s annexation: PM

18 April 2014 | 13:49 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that Ukraine did not recognise Crimea’s annexation and that it would gain the autonomous republic back.
Prime minister’s statement came during the question and answer time at the parliament, UNIAN reported.
“They stole something that belongs to us – our Crimea, our Yalta, this is our sea, this is our territory - Vladimir Vladimirovich,” Yatsenyuk remarked.
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Kiev government must quit before rebels respect deal: pro-Russian leader

Kiev government must quit before rebels respect deal: pro-Russian leader

18 April 2014 | 13:45 | FOCUS News Agency
Donetsk. Kiev's interim government must leave power before pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine will abide by an international deal to vacate seized government buildings, a separatist leader said Friday, AFP reported.
"We agree that the buildings should be vacated, but first (Prime Minister Arseniy) Yatsenyuk and (acting president Oleksandr) Turchynov much leave the buildings that they are occupying illegally since their coup d'etat," Denis Pushilin, a prominent member of the self-declared Donetsk Republic, told journalists.
Pro-Kremlin rebels remain barricaded inside state buildings across southeastern Ukraine a day after Kiev, Moscow, Brussels and Washington inked an accord in Geneva aimed at resolving the spiralling crisis.
The accord called for "all illegal armed groups" to disarm and leave seized state buildings.
Pushilin said that the separatists had not been consulted on the deal and that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov "did not sign in our name".
Pushilin said that pro-Moscow protesters would press on with plans to hold a regional referendum on sovereignty for the eastern part of the country on May 11.
"We are expecting an escalation in the conflict," he said.
Authorities in Kiev have also expressed scepticism about the deal, with Yatsenyuk telling parliament that he had "no high hopes" for the agreement sticking.
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Ukraine has no great expectations from Geneva agreement: PM

Ukraine has no great expectations from Geneva agreement: PM

18 April 2014 | 11:48 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukraine does not share too great expectations from the agreement reached at the four-way negotiations among the U.S., the EU, Russia and Ukraine held in Geneva.
This is what Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has said, as cited by Interfax.
“We do not have great expectations over the agreement,” Yatsenyuk said speaking at parliament.
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Crimea to finalise transition to roubles in 2-3 weeks

Crimea to finalise transition to roubles in 2-3 weeks

18 April 2014 | 11:45 | FOCUS News Agency
Simferopol. Crimea is to officially finalise the transition to the Russian currency in two or three weeks. Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Crimea Sergey Aksionov announced the information, as cited by Interfax.
“We want to withdraw the hryvnia from circulation as fast as possible. We believe that this process will be finalised in two or three weeks,” Aksionov said in Simferopol.
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Obama cautious over deal to ease Ukraine crisis

Obama cautious over deal to ease Ukraine crisis

18 April 2014 | 10:31 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. US President Barack Obama has cautiously welcomed a deal to calm tensions in Ukraine, reached at multi-party talks in Geneva, BBC reported.
He said the US and its allies were ready to impose new sanctions on Russia if the situation failed to improve.
Pro-Russian separatists occupying official buildings in eastern Ukraine show no signs of giving up any ground, a BBC correspondent reports.
There are reports of some shooting in Serhiyivka, in Donetsk region.
Ukrainian paratroopers opened fire to remove a protesters' roadblock in Serhiyivka, Interfax-Ukraine reported, quoting local sources. The details have not been confirmed.
On Thursday the Russian, Ukrainian, EU and US foreign ministers agreed that illegal military groups in Ukraine should leave places they have been occupying.
Russia denies fomenting separatism in eastern and southern Ukraine.
One protest leader in Donetsk said the separatists would not leave unless pro-European demonstrators in Kiev's Maidan Square packed up their camp first, the BBC's James Reynolds reports.
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Putin says Ukraine risks abyss, dialogue only solution

Putin says Ukraine risks abyss, dialogue only solution

17 April 2014 | 13:05 | FOCUS News Agency
Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday accused Ukraine's new authorities of driving the country towards the abyss but said that dialogue was the only way out of the intensifying crisis, AFP reported.
"Only through dialogue, through democratic procedures and not with the use of armed forces, tanks and planes can order be imposed in the country," Putin said at the start of a major nationwide phone-in broadcast on Russian television.
"It is very important today to think about how to get out of this situation and offer people a genuine dialogue and not one just for show," added Putin, saying he believed the talks opening Thursday in Geneva between top diplomats on the crisis were "extremely important".
He accused the Ukrainian authorities who took over after the fall of president Viktor Yanukovych of driving the country to the abyss.
"I hope that they manage to understand towards what abyss the Kiev authorities are going, dragging with them the whole country," said Putin.
Putin slammed the Kiev government for launching a military operation against separatist activists who have seized official buildings across southeast Ukraine.
"This is one more serious crime by the current Kiev authorities," he said.
He also said it was "nonsense" to claim Russian forces were operating in the east of Ukraine, saying those involved in protest actions were "all local citizens".
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Putin 'very much hopes' will not have to use army in Ukraine

Putin 'very much hopes' will not have to use army in Ukraine

17 April 2014 | 12:42 | FOCUS News Agency
Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said he very much hopes that he will not have to use his "right" to send Russian military forces into Ukraine amid the intensifying crisis, AFP reported.
"I very much hope that I am not obliged to use this right," said Putin, recalling that the Russian upper house of parliament had on March 1 authorised him to send troops onto Ukrainian territory.
Putin had said that Russia's main demand was for guarantees of the protection of the rights for Russian-speakers living in south and east Ukraine. "It is a question of guarantees for these people."
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Vladimir Putin: No Russian army units in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin: No Russian army units in Ukraine

17 April 2014 | 11:40 | FOCUS News Agency
Moscow. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, defined the claims of Kiev and western countries there were units of the Russian army and instructors from Russia in eastern Ukraine as devoid of sense, RIA Novosti reported.
”This is all nonsense. There are no Russian units, no special services, no instructors in Eastern Ukraine. These are all peaceful citizens. The best proof for this is that people took off their masks,” Mr Putin said, speaking in his annual televised question and answer session.
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Crimea, Ukraine to be in focus at Putin’s Q&A session

Crimea, Ukraine to be in focus at Putin’s Q&A session

17 April 2014 | 10:28 | FOCUS News Agency
Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold an annual televised question and answer session at noon Moscow time on Thursday, April 17. Already two million questions have come from Russian citizens, and according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Crimea and Ukraine as well as traditional social problems will be in the focus of attention, ITAR-TASS reported.
This will be Putin’s 12th Q&A session. Each time it was getting longer and longer, reaching the record four hours and 48 minutes last year. Kremlin sources could not forecast how long the Thursday session would be.
“The length of the program will depend on the president, on how actively questions will be asked, but we know for sure that it will be several hours long,” the spokesman said.
According to him, this year many of the citizens, who have called, have expressed support for the head of state on the situation with Crimea and on Ukraine instead of asking questions or addressing requests. “I have not seen any protest, disagreement [with Putin’s position],” Peskov said, noting that he personally had looked through dozens of thousands of appeals to the President.
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Ukraine says same Russian agents in east as in Crimea

Ukraine says same Russian agents in east as in Crimea

16 April 2014 | 17:45 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukraine's security service said on Wednesday its intercepted communications showed that the same Russian agents who took part in last month's seizure of Crimea were now coordinating the separatist insurgency in the country's east, AFP reported.
"These same Russian special service agents also seized the Supreme Soviet and the Council of Ministers building in Crimea. We clearly established this by their call signs," the service's counter-intelligence department spokesman Vitaliy Naida told reporters.
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Pro-Russians seize six Ukraine armoured vehicles in east: ministry

Pro-Russians seize six Ukraine armoured vehicles in east: ministry

16 April 2014 | 16:45 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukraine's defence ministry said on Wednesday that pro-Russian militants had seized six armoured vehicles dispatched by Kiev to the eastern town of Kramatorsk to quell a separatist insurgency, AFP reported.
The ministry said the column had been initially blocked in Kramatorsk by local residents and then "seized by extremists". It added that the column had since been moved by the militants to the flashpoint eastern city of Slavyansk.
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Putin: еscalation of conflict in Ukraine puts the country on the verge of a civil war

Putin: еscalation of conflict in Ukraine puts the country on the verge of a civil war

16 April 2014 | 01:13 | FOCUS News Agency
Moscow. President Vladimir Putin has had a telephone conversation with Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Federal Republic of Germany and discussed with her the situation in Ukraine, the Kremlin press service reports, as cited by Itar Tass.
Russia's Head of State pointed out , "The sharp escalation of the conflict puts the country, in essence, on the verge of a civil war".
The leaders of the two countries accentuated the importance of talks in a quadripartite format (Russia, the European Union, the United States, and Ukraine), planned for April 17. "Hope has been expressed that the sides at the meeting in Geneva will manage to convey a clear message contributing to directing the situation into a peaceful channel," a Kremlin press service official added.
The RF President also recalled the importance of stabilizing the economy of Ukraine and of ensuring deliveries and transit of Russian natural gas to Europe. This had been reiterated in his message, dated April 10, 2014, to the leaders of a number of European countries.
The telephone conversation was held on the initiative of the German side.
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Ukraine pushes tanks and troops into separatist east: AFP

Ukraine pushes tanks and troops into separatist east: AFP

16 April 2014 | 00:07 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukraine pushed tanks toward a flashpoint eastern city on Tuesday to quash a separatist surge backed by Moscow -- a high-risk operation that was sharply condemned by the Kremlin but won Washington's support.
The 20 tanks and armoured personnel carriers were the most forceful response yet by the Western-backed government in Kiev to the pro-Kremlin militants' occupation of state buildings in nearly 10 cities across Ukraine's rust belt.
Ukrainian forces set up a cement road barrier and began checking traffic leading to Slavyansk while fighters and attack helicopters circled overhead.
The economically depressed industrial city of 100,000 has effectively been under the control of separatist gunmen since Saturday.
"They must be warned that if they do not lay down their arms, they will be destroyed," Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) General Vasyl Krutov told a group of reporters tracking the sudden tank movements.
He insisted that the militants were receiving support from several hundred soldiers from the Russian army's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) that had been dispatched to Slavyansk and surrounding villages.
Witnesses told AFP that at least two Ukrainian military helicopters had landed in the nearby town of Kramatorsk with reinforcements.
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Slovakia, Ukraine fail to reach agreement on reverse gas supplies

Slovakia, Ukraine fail to reach agreement on reverse gas supplies

15 April 2014 | 23:43 | FOCUS News Agency
Bratislava. Bratislava and Kiev have failed to reach an agreement about reverse-mode gas supplies, a representative from the Slovak minister of energy said on Tuesday.
According to the representative, negotiations held by a Ukrainian delegation led by parliament-appointed Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuri Prodan at the Slovak ministry of energy yielded no progress, Itar Tass reported.
“Slovakia and Ukraine failed to reach an agreement on gas supplies,” the ministry official said, adding that talks on reverse gas supplies would be continued.
The Slovak side offered to pump gas via a pipeline from Slovakia’s Vojany to Ukraine’s Uzhgorod. Ukraine insisted on pumping gas via the transit pipeline used to supply Russian gas to Europe via Slovakia.
Earlier, representatives of the Slovak gas operator Eustream said they were afraid that in case they agreed to Ukraine’s option, their company might violate its current contract with Russia’s Gazprom.
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Obama steels for Putin call as crisis escalates

Obama steels for Putin call as crisis escalates

14 April 2014 | 23:42 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin confronted one another in telephone talks Monday as a standoff over Ukraine escalated after the CIA chief visited Kiev and a Russian war plane "buzzed" a US destroyer, AFP reports.
Washington said it was consulting European allies and hinted that more sanctions on Russia's economy could be coming, to punish what it sees as Moscow's sponsorship of pro-Russia violence in eastern Ukraine.
The Kremlin said that Putin used the latest in a string of tense phone calls with Obama to brand US charges of meddling in eastern Ukraine as "unfounded."
There were no immediate readouts of the call from the White House, which earlier was the first to say it would take place.
Unusually though, the White House did offer some details of CIA chief John Brennan's travel, confirming Russian media reports that the top US spy had flown into Kiev over the weekend.
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Yulia Tymoshenko: Regional executive power should be appointed by regions, not Kiev

Yulia Tymoshenko: Regional executive power should be appointed by regions, not Kiev

13 April 2014 | 07:58 | FOCUS News Agency
Vienna. Ukraine’s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is convinced that the regional executive power in the country should be appointed by the regions themselves and not by Kiev.
This is what the currently president candidate and leader of Batkivshchyna (All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland") leader said in an interview with Austrian Die Presse newspaper.
Asked to comment on how she would win the support of the Russian-speaking population in the eastern part of the country, so as to avoid division of Ukraine, Tymoshenko said that the regional languages act should not be abolished and that there was an urgent need of adoption of a budget code that provides financial independence to the regions.
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UN chief calls for dialogue, calm over Ukraine

UN chief calls for dialogue, calm over Ukraine

13 April 2014 | 07:42 | FOCUS News Agency
New York. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday called on all sides in the Ukraine crisis to "exercise maximum restraint" and engage in dialogue to de-escalate the situation there, AFP reported.
Ban's appeal came as Ukraine accused Moscow of "aggression" after Kalashnikov-wielding gunmen seized two security buildings in its restive eastern rust belt amid spreading protests demanding the Russified region join Kremlin rule.
Ban is "deeply concerned" about the deteriorating situation and "growing potential for violent clashes," a UN statement said.
The secretary general "appeals to all sides to work towards calming the situation, adhere to the rule of law and exercise maximum restraint," the statement added.
He also "calls again for urgent and constructive dialogue to de-escalate the situation and address all differences."
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Kerry warns Russia of 'additional consequences' over Ukraine

Kerry warns Russia of 'additional consequences' over Ukraine

13 April 2014 | 04:30 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. US Secretary of State John Kerry warned his Russian counterpart Saturday that Moscow faces "additional consequences" if it fails to reduce tensions with neighboring Ukraine and pull its troops back from the border, official said, quoted by AFP.
During a telephone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Kerry "made clear that if Russia did not take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine's border, there would be additional consequences," a senior State Department official said.
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US warns Russia of 'additional consequences' over Ukraine: AFP

US warns Russia of 'additional consequences' over Ukraine: AFP

13 April 2014 | 04:29 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. US Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Ukraine later this month, officials said Saturday, as Washington warned Moscow of "additional consequences" if it fails to reduce tensions with Ukraine.
The announcement came just a day after Washington unveiled sanctions against six of Crimea's breakaway leaders, including the official who signed the deal with Moscow to split the peninsula from Ukraine.
During a telephone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US Secretary of State John Kerry "made clear that if Russia did not take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine's border, there would be additional consequences," a senior State Department official said, as cited by AFP.
Washington has repeatedly urged Moscow to de-escalate tensions and withdraw Russian troops from Ukraine's eastern border in the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War.
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Biden to travel to Ukraine amid growing unrest

Biden to travel to Ukraine amid growing unrest

13 April 2014 | 01:18 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Ukraine on April 22 to stress US support for Kiev and steps to improve its energy security amid a crisis with neighboring Russia, AFP reported.
During his meetings with government leaders and civil society groups, Biden will "underscore the United States' strong support for a united, democratic Ukraine that makes its own choices about its future path," a White House statement said Saturday.
The announcement came just a day after Washington unveiled sanctions against six of Crimea's breakaway leaders, including the official who signed the deal with Moscow to split the peninsula from Ukraine.
A first wave of US sanctions unveiled in March had blacklisted officials and businesspeople close to Russian President Vladimir Putin to protest Moscow's takeover of Crimea.
While in Kiev, Biden will "consult with government officials on the international community's efforts to help stabilize and strengthen Ukraine's economy and to assist Ukraine in moving forward on constitutional reform, decentralization, anti-corruption efforts and free and fair presidential elections on May 25th," the White House said.
Washington has repeatedly urged Moscow to de-escalate tensions and withdraw Russian troops from Ukraine's eastern border in the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War.
Earlier Saturday, Kalashnikov-wielding gunmen seized two security buildings in Ukraine's restive eastern rust belt amid spreading protests demanding the Russified region join Kremlin rule.
And the White House said these and other moves would figure in Biden's talks in Ukraine.
"The vice president will discuss the latest developments in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists, apparently with the support of Moscow, continue an orchestrated campaign of incitement and sabotage to destabilize the Ukrainian state," it said.
"In addition, the vice president will consult on the latest steps to enhance Ukraine's short- and long-term energy security."
Moscow has massed tens of thousands of troops on Ukraine's eastern border after annexing the Crimean Peninsula and nearly doubled the rates it charges Kiev for natural gas.
During his visit, Biden will also "meet with various Ukrainian people to hear their aspirations and deepen the partnership between the United States and Ukraine," according to the White House.
European Union and US diplomats are preparing their first direct talks with their Russian and Ukrainian counterparts in Geneva on Thursday.
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Ukraine accuses Russia of 'aggression' amid unrest in east

Ukraine accuses Russia of 'aggression' amid unrest in east

12 April 2014 | 23:49 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukraine accused Moscow of "aggression" on Saturday after Kalashnikov-wielding gunmen seized two security buildings in its restive eastern rust belt amid spreading protests demanding the Russified region join Kremlin rule, AFP reports.

The coordinated attacks and a series of gunfights between militants and police in two eastern towns underscored the volatility of the crisis ahead of first direct talks between EU and US diplomats and their Moscow and Kiev counterparts in Geneva on Thursday.
They also threaten to lead to further violence as far right forces which hold sway over the ex-Soviet state's western regions and which played a decisive role in this winter's anti-government protests watch the nation of 46 million veer toward a possible breakup.

Ukraine's foreign minister blamed the occupations on the "provocative activities of Russian special services" while a prominent nationalist called on militants in his Right Sector party - branded as a neo-Nazi organisation by Moscow - to "fully mobilise and prepare for decisive action". And acting president Oleksandr Turchynov convened an emergency security meeting after his interior minster reported that a "gunfight" had erupted between local security forces and militants who had attacked a police station in the eastern town of Kramatorsk. "The authorities of Ukraine view today's events as a display of aggression by the Russian Federation," Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page.

Ukraine's interim government has been facing relentless pressure from Russia since its February ouster of an unpopular Kremlin-backed president and decision to seek closer ties with the West. The seizures highlight how little sway Kiev's untested leaders have over pro-Russians who have since April 6 also controlled the Donetsk government seat and a state security building in the nearby eastern city of Lugansk.

Moscow has massed tens of thousands of troops on Ukraine's eastern border after annexing the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and nearly doubled the rates it charges Kiev for gas.
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Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs announces shooting in Kramatorsk

Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs announces shooting in Kramatorsk

12 April 2014 | 22:40 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov announced some news about the situation in Donetsk Oblast, remarking there was a shooting in the city of Kramatorsk. He did this in a Facebook post, UNIAN reported.
”Kramatorsk. There is an attack [there]. Unknown individuals shot at a regional [police department]. The police responded [to the attack]. There is a shooting,” he wrote.
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Ukraine president convenes emergency meeting over eastern unrest

Ukraine president convenes emergency meeting over eastern unrest

12 April 2014 | 21:34 | FOCUS News Agency
Kiev. Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov on Saturday convened a session of his security and defence council to address a series of seizures of police and security service buildings in a separatist eastern region, AFP reported.
The president's office said the meeting would be held at 1800 GMT and attended by his most powerful security and defence officials following the takeover by pro-Kremlin gunmen of police headquarters and a state security building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk.
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Supporters of Ukraine’s federalisation try to seize district prosecutor’s office in Donetsk

Supporters of Ukraine’s federalisation try to seize district prosecutor’s office in Donetsk

12 April 2014 | 11:14 | FOCUS News Agency
Donetsk. Supporters of the federalisation of Ukraine have tried to seize the building of the district prosecutor’s office in Donetsk but after negotiations with the police they scattered. No arrests were made, RIA Novosti reported.
A participant in the events told RIA Novosti’s correspondent that tens of protesters managed to enter in the building. The police officers, who arrived at the scene, managed to convince them to leave the building.
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Armed man seize police station in Sloviansk, Ukraine

Armed man seize police station in Sloviansk, Ukraine

12 April 2014 | 10:45 | FOCUS News Agency
Sloviansk. A group of armed men have seized the regional police department in the city of Sloviansk, East Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Minister of Interior Affairs, Arsen Avakov, announced the news, as cited by UNN.
“Armed men wearing camouflage clothes have seized a regional police department in Sloviansk,” Avakov said.
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Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria: Sanctions to return as boomerang to those, who initiate them

Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria: Sanctions to return as boomerang to those, who initiate them

12 April 2014 | 10:12 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. “Russia will respond to the sanctions of the European Union (EU),” Russia's Ambassador to Bulgaria Yury Isakov said in an interview with Darik Radio.
In his words, the sanctions are not only unproductive but also harmful because they return as a boomerang to those, who initiate them.
“In the first place, I would like to say that we are not happy with being imposed sanctions. Of course, this is not a pleasant thing. But we will overcome it.
In the second place, these sanctions will hit like a boomerang those, who initiate them – this is a law.
I would like to recall that only the trade exchange with the EU amounted to nearly USD 500 billion in 2013,” the ambassador said further.
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Crimea willing to speed up rouble’s adoption

Crimea willing to speed up rouble’s adoption

12 April 2014 | 09:57 | FOCUS News Agency
Simferopol. Crimea First Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliev said that Crimea will speed up the shifting to the Russian rouble due to the concerns over Ukraine’s insolvency. This is what Temirgaliev has posted on Facebook, Ukrainian news edition Liga writes.
“The drastic drop in the value of the Ukrainian currency and the increasing risk of default of Ukraine force us to reconsider the deadline for the work of the double currency system,” the post says further.
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Recognition of legitimacy of Crimea can accelerate Russia's decision on bailout to Kiev

Recognition of legitimacy of Crimea can accelerate Russia's decision on bailout to Kiev

12 April 2014 | 09:22 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. For financial assistance from Russia, Ukraine needs to recognize the legitimacy of the Crimea as part of the Russian Federation, as well as constitutional reform, elections and not to discriminate against Russian, said Finance Minister Anton Siluanov after meeting with German Finance Minister in Washington, The Voice of Russia reported.
"Constitutional reform, legitimate presidential elections and the formation of the government, with whom it could negotiate, legitimization of the situation around the Crimea and resolving issues of tension in the eastern territories of Ukraine. Settlement by peaceful means, without discrimination of the Russian population, based on the laws of Ukraine, without sacrifice and bloodshed. This kind of four positions we set as conditions and then Russia will be able to offer additional steps for financial aid for the budget and in help of resolving gas issues", Siluanov said after a meeting with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in Washington, Prime news agency reports.
According to him, the same conditions were expressed during the meeting with the head of the US Treasury Jacob Lew. "There is no direct link in between, but we have to think about it" said the Minister.
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Crimea’s Constitution comes into force

Crimea’s Constitution comes into force

12 April 2014 | 09:06 | FOCUS News Agency
Simferopol. Crimea’s Constitution, under which the republic is now part of the territory of Russia, came into force, Krymskie Izvestiya reported.
According to the document, Crimea is a constitutional democratic state within the Russian Federation.
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15 bln m3 of gas missing from Ukrainian depots

15 bln m3 of gas missing from Ukrainian depots

12 April 2014 | 08:00 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. Depots of Naftogaz of Ukraine report a loss of 15 billion cubic metres of gas, which seems to have been there only on paper.
This is what Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced, as cited by Radio Svoboda.
The statement came during a meeting of the members of the cabinet and the leadership of the districts Zaporizhia and Dnipropetrovsk.
In Yatsenyuk’s, the friendly and brotherly price of the Russian gas – nearly USD 500 per 1,000 m3, sets Ukraine among the uncompetitive counties.
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