FROM Andrew Kramer
Ukraine Exodus World leaders always travel with an entourage, but Russian President Vladimir Putin has ruffled feathers at the G20 Summit in Brisbane by bringing a phalanx of warships. Meanwhile, Russian tanks have been streaming over the border into Ukraine, which NATO leaders worry is a prelude to war. We get up to speed on the Russian leader and the situation in Ukraine.
Pro-Russian Eastern Ukraine Separatists Declare Independence Yesterday's referendum in two provinces of eastern Ukraine was chaotic and sometimes violent. Voters were asked one question about self rule. Today — just two hours after ballots were counted — the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk asked to join Russia. Andrew Kramer is in Donetsk for the New York Times .
Pro-Russia Militants Are Ignoring Russia-Ukraine Deal Yesterday in Geneva, diplomats from the US, Ukraine, the European Union and Russia agreed that its time for an end to the violence in Easter Ukraine. What's happening today on the ground? We get an update from Reporter Andrew Kramer is in the city of Donetsk for the New York Times .
Who's in Charge in Crimea? The New York Times reports that "armed men of uncertain allegiance" took up position at two airports in Ukraine's Crimean region today. At a news conference in Russia, Viktor Yanukovych claimed that he's still President, adding this about Vladimir Putin, "I think that Russia should and must act, and knowing the character of Vladimir Putin, I am surprised why he is, until now he is still so restrained and not talking." The Times' Moscow correspondent, Andrew Kramer, joins us today from Kiev, Ukraine's capital city.
Turmoil in Ukraine Brings a Challenge to Russia Over the weekend, the Ukrainian Parliament ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to the Eastern part of the country, raising fears that the country might come apart, with half leaning toward Western Europe and half toward traditional ties with Russia. We get an update from Andrew Kramer, who is in Kiev for the New York Times , and from Fred Weir of the Christian Science Monitor , who's in Moscow, which is questioning the new government's legitimacy.
Death Toll Rises in Kiev, Yanukovich May Call In Military "As a matter of urgency," the foreign ministers of the European Union have imposed sanctions, including asset freezes and travel bans, on Ukranian officials thought "responsible for violence and excessive force." Russia is sending an emissary to Kiev. In the city itself, 70 people have been killed today, bringing this week's death toll to almost 100. Andrew Kramer is there for the New York Times .
President Obama Cancels Meeting with Putin President Obama cancelled a planned meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladmir Putin today. This follows Russia's decision to grant temporary asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, after he spent nearly a month in diplomatic limbo in Russia's airport. President Obama addressed US-Russian relations last night on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Andrew Kramer is in the New York Times ' Moscow Bureau.
Has the 'Arab Spring' Come to the Russian Winter? Russian authorities did not clamp down on massive protests in all that country's nine time zones over the weekend, despite repeated shouts of Vladimir "Putin is a thief" and "Russia without Putin." Today, the billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov announced he'll challenge Putin in next year's presidential elections; the former finance minister Aleksei Kudrin said he'll form a new party to push for liberal reforms; and the Russian Orthodox Church called for election reform. We hear about Saturday's mass protest and political challenges from the left, the right and even the Orthodox Church. Is Putin really at risk of losing his power?
Has the 'Arab Spring' Come to the Russian Winter? Russian authorities did not clamp down on massive protests across Russia's nine time zones over the weekend as tens of thousands turned out to denounce Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and last week's allegedly rigged elections. Today, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov challenged Putin for President; former finance minister Aleksei Kudrin said he'll form a new party to push for liberal reforms, and the Russian Orthodox Church called for change. Dissenters include the new middle class, Communists and a nationalist blogger with ties to skinheads. Can they get together? Will they be repressed? With Putin blaming Hillary Clinton for stirring up trouble, what will it mean for President Obama's "reset" in relations?
Russian (Nuclear) Swords Beaten into American Plowshares "Fuel from missiles that may once have been aimed at your home may now be lighting it." While only 5% of the uranium in America's nuclear power plants is generated from within the US, recycled Soviet bomb cores provide 45% of fuel. That's according to Andrew Kramer in today's New York Times .
Commercial Ships Pass through the Arctic Ice The ancient dream of mariners for a shortcut through Arctic waters may be realized by global warming. Two German ships are on their way to becoming the first commercial vessels to negotiate what's called the Northeast Passage. One obstacle in addition to floating icebergs is Russian bureaucracy. That's according to today's New York Times in an article co-authored by Andrew Kramer in Moscow.
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.