By Jill Dougherty
Moscow claims an American diplomat tried to recruit a spy for the United States, calling it a "Cold War" provocation. But the timing may indicate the allegation could be linked to fallout over Russian information-sharing about a Boston Marathon bombing suspect.
Russia said Tuesday that Ryan Christopher Fogle, a political officer at the U.S. Embassy, was caught trying to recruit a Russian intelligence officer.
He was shown in videos and still photos released by the Russian security service, FSB, that got wide play in Russian media and brimmed with the stuff of spy novels.
By Jill Dougherty
When I was CNN’s Moscow Bureau Chief I participated in a round-table discussion with Vladimir Putin, then president for the first time, in the Kremlin library. Sitting next to him, just to his right, I could see how even the word “Chechnya” infuriated him. After all, it was Putin who, in 1999, launched the second Chechen War.
Thursday, in his annual national call-in, “Direct Line,” in which he fielded questions from Russians for almost five hours, Vladimir Putin showed that he still has a deep current of anger toward Chechen terrorists, along with a deep grudge toward the West for what he perceives as its double standard on terrorism.
By Joe Johns, Barbara Starr, Gloria Borger, and Carol Cratty, CNN
Months after the FBI cleared Tamerlan Tsarnaev in its investigation of possible connections to jihadist causes, the Russians approached the CIA as well to look into him, CNN has learned.
But what was provided by the Russians in late September 2011 was "basically the same" information that had been given the previous March to the FBI, according to a government official.
The source said the communication was a "warning letter" sent to the CIA.
Tsarnaev, 26, suspected along with his younger brother of bombing the Boston Marathon early last week, died on Friday following a violent confrontation with police.
By Elise Labott
BRUSSELS (CNN) - When Secretary of State John Kerry meets Tuesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of NATO meetings, he will have a full agenda, starting with the crisis in Syria, disarmament talks with Iran and nuclear saber rattling by North Korea.
There also will be the issue of missile defense and ongoing negotiations between Moscow and Washington to make drastic cuts in their respective nuclear arsenals.
But the Chechen roots of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects will loom large.
While Russia could be helpful in tracing possible motivation of the alleged attackers, brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, as well as any possible connection to terrorist groups, the Obama administration wants to make sure it does not upset an already fragile relationship.
By CNN's Nick Paton Walsh and Catherine E. Shoichet
Something struck Tamerlan Tsarnaev's aunt when her nephew arrived in southern Russia last year.
He prayed regularly, she said. He avoided looking women in the eye. His transformation into a devout Muslim was a radical change.
In North Korea Friday, CNN’s told, two medium-range missiles are in their launchers, loaded and ready to go.
The White House says it won’t be surprised if Kim Jong Un orders those missiles to be fired as a test of his military power.
The communist leader is sending all sorts of signals about his next move and when it might happen, including an ominous new warning to foreign diplomats.
To give us the global view on this unfolding story, our Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr.
By CNN's Jill Dougherty, Jamie Crawford and Gregory Wallace
Secretary of State John Kerry's Tuesday call to his Russian counterpart has gone unanswered for nearly a week after North Korea tested a nuclear device.
Kerry called Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and top diplomats with the three other countries – South Korea, China and Japan - that had been in negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear program. But Kerry was not connected to Lavrov, who was in Africa for a conference and had "a very overloaded work schedule," according to Russian government spokesman Alexander Lukashevich. He said that the United States did not make additional attempts to call Lavrov.
Russia is an ally of North Korea and a member of the six nations that have held talks over the North Korean nuclear program. The U.S. and North Korea also find themselves on opposite sides of the situation in Syria and have sparred over Russian restrictions on adoptions between the two countries.
By Jill Dougherty
On Syria, Russia and the United States agree on one thing: The only way the civil war can be solved is politically with a transitional government.
But there's the rub: the U.S. insists president Bashar al-Assad can't be part of that government; Russia says it's up to the Syrians to decide, but the opposition won't deal with any government that includes al-Assad.
No matter how many meetings Moscow and Washington have, they get hung up on this crucial point. But now U.S. diplomats say they're not waiting. They're trying to foster creation of a transitional government on the ground, even before al-Assad might go. As State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland puts it: "Creating de facto, particularly in liberated areas, the Syria of the future that the Syrian people want."
Nuland describes it as "both a top-down process and a bottom-up process happening at the same time in Syria."
Bottom-up, local coordinating councils are taking over and providing services to residents in towns and villages liberated from government control.
By Barbara Starr
The Syrian president's control is crumbling at an accelerating pace but the latest assessment by U.S. intelligence finds few indications Bashar al-Assad is willing to step down, according to U.S. officials.
While Obama administration officials have said during the nearly two-year conflict that it appears al-Assad is weakened, the descriptions provided to CNN by U.S. officials familiar with the latest intelligence suggest the Syrian leader's problems have accelerated internally as the opposition continues to capture more territory.
"It's at its lowest point yet," said one senior U.S. official with direct knowledge of the latest assessments. U.S. intelligence believes the decline has accelerated in recent weeks. "The trend is moving more rapidly than it has in the past."
The officials agreed to talk on the condition their names not be used because they were not authorized to discuss the information with the media.
The description comes as a key Russian official suggested candidly that al-Assad could very well be defeated by the rising opposition fighters.
"The regime and the government in Syria are losing more and more control and more and more territory," Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bodganov told a Russian government committee. "Unfortunately, we cannot rule out the victory of the Syrian opposition."
By Jill Dougherty
Russia’s foreign minister is criticizing President Barack Obama’s decision to recognize the Syrian opposition, saying “the U.S. apparently has decided to bet solely on the armed victory of this national coalition.”
Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday that Moscow was “somewhat surprised” by Obama’s statement that the U.S. recognizes the Syrian opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, in opposition to the Assad regime.
“None of the U.S. decisions here should be of any surprise to the Russian Federation. We have been very clear at all levels, publicly and privately, that we would continue to look for ways to support the political opposition in Syria,” a Senior State Department offical told CNN.
Announcing his decision in an interview Tuesday with ABC’s Barbara Walters, Obama said, "We've made a decision that the Syrian opposition coalition is now inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough of the Syrian population” to recognize them. But the Russian foreign minister argues that U.S. recognition “contradicts the agreements in the Geneva communiqué, which presume beginning an all-Syrian dialogue among representatives named by the government, on the one hand, and the opposition, on the other.”