World News: Live updates on Ukraine Live
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- Obama phoned Merkel on Friday to discuss Ukraine situation
FLORIDA CITY, Florida, March 7 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama telephoned German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday from his vacation resort in Key Largo, Florida, to discuss the situation in Ukraine, the White House said.
- Tensions ease in Crimea after standoff
From our Reuters report:
"Armed men thought to be Russians drove a truck into a Ukrainian missile-defence post in the Crimea region on Friday but a standoff was resolved without a shot being fired, witness said."
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Read on for more news and updates throughout the day.
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Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) talks to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev before the opening ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, March 7, 2014. REUTERS/Alexei Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti/Kremlin
- Putin rebuffs Obama as Ukraine crisis escalates
Russia said on Friday any U.S. sanctions imposed against Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine would boomerang back on the United States, raising the financial stakes as the military standoff intensified.
In a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned against "hasty and reckless steps" that could harm Rssian-American relations, the foreign ministry said.
"Sanctions...would inevitably hit the United States like a boomerang," it added.
It was the second tense, high-level exchange between the former Cold War foes in 24 hours.
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- Russia slammed the E.U. today for taking an "extremely un-constructive approach" to crisis in Ukraine wapo.st/1k0GgFH
- Russians take over Ukrainian military post, no shots fired
SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine - Armed men thought to be Russians drove a truck into a Ukrainian missile defense post in the Crimea region on Friday and took control without a shot being fired, a Reuters reporter on the scene said.
Initial reports said the truck had smashed through the gates and that post in the city of Sevastopol was being stormed but the reporter could not see any signs of the gates being damaged.
A Ukrainian military official, Vladislav Seleznyov, said by telephone that the armed men took over the base without any shooting and that no one was hurt.
Another Ukrainian official told Reuters at the post that he was now mediating between the Ukrainian forces and the armed group inside, and that no arms had been seized.
(Reporting by Andrew Osborn and Pavel Polityuk, Editing by Timothy Heritage)
- Reader Comment: Putin's pretense that he's protecting "Russian speaking people" is a farce. Using the same pretext, we could make the same claim, given the diversity of the U.S. population. We could "protect" Russians from Putin, Syrians, Chinese, etc. Putin is playing the old Soviet game... keep pushing until determined resistance is met.
- Reader Comment: www.kyivpost.com
- Ukrainians and forces thought to be Russians hold negotiations after military post taken, no arms seized: Reuters reporter
- Armed men enter Ukrainian military post in Crimea and take control; no shots fired: Reuters reporter on scene
- White House downplays role of natural gas policy in Ukraine crisis
ON BOARD AIR FORCE ONE - The White House on Friday appeared to downplay the possibility of changing U.S. policy on exporting natural gas to address the situation in Ukraine.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Air Force One that policy changes would not have an immediate effect and noted that stocks in Europe were above normal levels because of a mild winter.
Europe and Ukraine are key export markets for Russian natural gas.
(Writing by Jeff Mason; Editing by Sandra Maler)
- In 1992, #Ukraine 's economy was larger than Poland's. Today it's less than half the size.
My 5 Facts @POLITICO
- Presidential spokesman @jearnest44 said "G7" was merely reflection of how united allies are against Russian move on Ukrainecomment by westwingreport via twitter 3/7/2014 7:24:05 PM
- Slideshow: Crimea's Tatars in the minority
- comment by kyivpost via twitter 3/7/2014 6:39:50 PM
- In call with Kerry, Lavrov warned United States against "hasty and reckless steps" that could harm Russian-American relations: Reuters
- Lavrov told Kerry that U.S. sanctions against Moscow would "hit the United States like a boomerang": Foreign Ministry statement
People hold a rally in the Russian southern city of Stavropol, in support of the people of Crimea, March 7, 2014. Russia on Friday accused the European Union of taking an "extremely unconstructive position" by freezing talks on easing visa barriers and on a comprehensive agreement that would govern ties between Moscow and the EU over Ukraine. REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko
- Kremlin ridicules calls for Russia-Ukraine talks with Western mediation
MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman on Friday ridiculed calls for talks between Russia and Ukraine with Western mediation, saying Western countries' actions during the crisis in Ukraine had cost them their credibility, Russian news agencies reported.
Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, also said Russia feared there would be ethnic persecution in Crimea and eastern Ukraine if "those who stood behind the coup in Kiev" reached those regions, the reports said.
(Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
- Kremlin fears ethnic cleansing if those behind government overthrow in Kiev reach Crimea or Eastern Ukraine: Putin spokesperson, via Interfax
- Calls for Russia to start talks with Ukraine under western mediation "makes us smile": Putin spokesperson
- Interfax (via Kyiv Post): Foreign Ministry: Russian soldiers preparing to install air defense systems in Crimea
- Despite deep differences with West over Ukraine, Russia hopes common ground will be found and there will be no new cold war: Putin spokesperson, via RIA
- Cold War past shapes complex Merkel-Putin relationship
After one of her first encounters with Vladimir Putin in 2002, Angela Merkel joked to aides that she had passed the "KGB test" by staring straight into his eyes without averting her gaze.
Unlike presidents in Washington - George W. Bush claimed to have gotten a glimpse of Putin's soul and Barack Obama promised to "reset" relations with Russia - the German chancellor has never harbored any illusions about the former Soviet agent, nor hopes that she might change him.
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SEVASTOPOL/KIEV - A pro-Russian force opened fire in seizing a Ukrainian military base in Crimea on Monday and NATO announced reconnaissance flights along its eastern frontiers as confrontation around the Black Sea peninsula showed no sign of easing. | Video
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