FROM Paul Sonne
Sochi, One Year Later A year ago, we took our seats for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The Russian government reportedly spent $50 billion to turn a relatively unknown ski resort near the Black Sea into a world-class sporting venue. And aside from some hiccups, like broken toilets and buildings without lobbies, it was a success. But Russia hasn’t been as successful in convincing the world’s winterati to come back to Sochi for a ski vacation. What’s the scene on the ground, one year after the Olympics?
US Considers “Lethal Aid” to Ukraine Forces With Russian-backed separatists advancing in Ukraine, there’s pressure on the Obama Administration to provide the government with weapons sophisticated enough to strike back effectively. Is that the best answer to provocations by Vladimir Putin—or could it lead to a wider war? Secretary of State John Kerry will be in Kiev tomorrow, amid reports that the Obama Administration may change course and provide the Ukrainian army with high-tech weaponry for use against separatists backed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Two Ukrainian Warplanes Shot Down Near Jetliner Crash Site Two Ukrainian warplanes were shot down today, and pro-Russian separatist leaders claim they did it with shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missiles. But Ukraine says the anti-aircraft fire came from across the border—in Russia. Paul Sonne is in Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine for the Wall Street Journal.
WikiLeaks Suspends Operations Due to Bank Blockade The last time WikiLeaks made a splash was in April, when it released a trove of US government documents about prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Today in London, Julian Assange said a financial blockade poses an existential threat to the organization, which has specialized in revealing classified information since it was launched in 2006. Today WikiLeaks suspended all publication and said it might go out of business by the end of this year. Paul Sonne reports from London for the Wall Street Journal .
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
The US gets deeper into Middle East wars. What's the endgame? President Trump welcomed Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to the White House today… just one of the changes in America's approach to the Middle East since Barack Obama left office. We hear about that and the escalation of warfare as well as civilian casualties.
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
After Syria strike a new Trump doctrine emerges The President who promised an end to entanglements in the Middle East and snuggled up to Vladimir Putin has now outraged Russia with surprise missile attacks on Syria. That's raised questions about who's running the White House? We hear a variety of answers.