March 30th, 2014
08:42 PM ET

Kerry: Russia supports finding a diplomatic solution to crisis in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday after four hours of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that Russia had reaffirmed its commitment to finding a diplomatic solution in Ukraine but had not agreed to move Russian troops from the Ukraine border.

"We both made suggestions as to how that will be achieved ... and I will return to Washington to consult with President Obama on his choices," Kerry said at a news conference in Paris. "We are trying to find a way to defuse this."

Kerry said Lavrov indicated Russia "wants to support" Ukraine in its move toward independence but said the massing of Russian troops has created "a climate of fear and intimidation."

"Is it smart at this moment in time to have that number of troops amassed on a border when you are sending a message that you want to de-escalate and move in the other direction?" Kerry said.

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March 30th, 2014
01:28 PM ET

Senate Intel chair: Crimea’s gone

Washington (CNN) - Some U.S. lawmakers are ready to say that it's futile to try to persuade Russia to give up control of Crimea.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on Sunday that the debate over the Crimean Peninsula is "done" and the region is now under Moscow's control.

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Ukraine impasse stirs U.S.-Russia tensions
March 11th, 2014
01:26 AM ET

Ukraine impasse stirs U.S.-Russia tensions

By Elise Labott

Tensions between the United States and Russia over the crisis in Crimea have exploded into an open row as Russia rejects U.S. diplomatic efforts to solve the impasse.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry postponed a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss American proposals, which Moscow has effectively rejected, on solving the crisis.

The meeting, which Russia said was supposed to happen Monday, would have marked the highest-level contact between the two countries since Russian troops took up positions in Crimea, and would have come ahead of Sunday's potentially explosive vote on whether Crimea should split from Ukraine and join Russia.

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February 23rd, 2014
05:37 PM ET

Analysis: U.S. and Russia playing chess or blood sport?

By CNN Foreign Affairs Reporter Elise Labott

President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin went to great lengths to portray their phone call Friday as evidence the two leaders were working together to stabilize the situation in Ukraine.

Absent were the accusations they traded the past two months over the future of the former Soviet republic.

The Obama administration continues to dismiss the notion of a new Cold War with Russia. But the louder their protests, the more apparent the chill has become.

It was on display Saturday in widely differing characterizations of a telephone conversation between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, after news broke that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych left the capital because of what he described as a "coup."

The Cold War is over. Right?
February 23rd, 2014
03:31 PM ET

The Cold War is over. Right?

By Greg Clary

Gay rights, Edward Snowden, Syria and now Ukraine: They're all recent issues in which the United States and Russia have had disagreements.

Tension has always seemed to exist between the two countries, and that's certainly been the case for President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Some days, it almost seems like the Cold War never went away.

In the latest example, Ukraine, it appears the Russian-backed government of President Viktor Yanukovych has been removed from office after deadly protests, setting up a power vacuum in a country known for Russian meddling.

The U.S. stands with Ukrainian opposition forces hoping to increase democratic reforms and decrease influence from Moscow, while Russia slams the opposition, saying they failed to honor international agreements made last week aimed at ending the crisis.

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Filed under: Putin • Russia
Obama, Putin 'exchange views' on Ukraine in phone call
February 21st, 2014
06:52 PM ET

Obama, Putin 'exchange views' on Ukraine in phone call

By Adam Aigner-Treworgy

President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin "exchanged views" on the need to quickly implement the political agreement reached on Friday in Ukraine and for all sides to "refrain from further violence."

 
A White House statement said the two leaders spoke by phone and also discussed Syria, including the "importance of efforts to advance a political solution" to the civil war.

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Inside the mind of Vladimir Putin
September 21st, 2013
12:55 PM ET

Inside the mind of Vladimir Putin

By CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty

Sociologist Olga Kryshtanovskaya is used to getting into people’s heads.

She’s an expert on Russia’s elites and its political system. For 23 years she headed the Department of Elite Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences and now is director general of the research center “Kryshtanovskaya Laboratory.”

When Kryshtanovskaya looks at Russian President Vladimir Putin, she sees an “average Joe” - make that an “average Ivan.”

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Russian roots of American exceptionalism
September 17th, 2013
06:59 PM ET

Russian roots of American exceptionalism

By Jill Dougherty reporting from Valdai, Russia

Even as news was breaking of a shooting at Navy headquarters in Washington, a Russian lawmaker and talk-show host jumped on it to take a swipe at "American exceptionalism."

"A new shootout at Navy headquarters in Washington – a lone gunman and 7 corpses," Alexey Pushkov, head of the International Affairs Committee of the Russian Duma, Tweeted. "Nobody's even surprised anymore. A clear confirmation of American exceptionalism."

President Barack Obama mentioned the concept in his address to the nation on Syria last week.

"When, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death, and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act. That's what makes America different. That's what makes us exceptional," Obama said.
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Vladimir Putin tries to save America from itself
September 12th, 2013
07:14 AM ET

Vladimir Putin tries to save America from itself

By Jill Dougherty

In an extraordinary direct appeal to Americans Vladimir Putin, in a New York Times op-ed, warned that military action in Syria would only “unleash a new wave of terrorism,” denied his country is trying to protect Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and depicted himself as an ally who wants to save the United States – from its own worst instincts.

“The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the Pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders,” Putin said. “ A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.”

RELATED: Reaction to Putin

The Russian president also denied the view that the uprising in Syria is part of a wave of popular movements in the Middle East demanding democracy from despotic rulers. “Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multi-religious country,” he wrote. “There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government.”
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September 10th, 2013
08:01 PM ET

President Obama asks Senate to delay military strike vote, senator says

(CNN) - As a Russian proposal to strip Syria of its chemical weapons began to take shape, the White House eased off the gas on Tuesday in its drive for congressional approval to strike the Middle Eastern country.

President Barack Obama asked Senate Democrats to delay voting on authorizing military action in Syria while the diplomatic process works itself out, according to senators in a meeting with Obama.

A White House official told CNN that during his meeting on the hill, the president said that his administration would spend the days ahead pursuing this diplomatic option with the Russians and U.S. allies at the United Nations.
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