Federation uniting former Soviet republic is only way to end crisis in Ukraine, Russia says

Russia on Sunday set out demands for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine, saying the former Soviet republic should be unified in a federation allowing wide autonomy to its various regions as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in Paris in another bid to calm tensions.

After a brief call on French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Kerry sat down with Lavrov at the residence of the Russian ambassador to France to go over Moscow’s response to a U.S. plan to de-escalate the situation as Russian troops continue to mass along the Ukrainian border. Continue reading

Moscow ‘Concerned’ Over Treatment Of Russians In Estonia

Whether a similar move that was done with Crimea will take place with Estonia is up in the air. It should be important to know, however, that Estonia is a NATO member. This means an attack on one member is an attack on all, which also might reduce the likelihood of a repeat. Perhaps a new trick can be played in this case by Russia as it did with Georgia and Ukraine, which caught everyone off guard, though.

GENEVA (Reuters) – Russia signaled concern on Wednesday at Estonia’s treatment of its large ethnic Russian minority, comparing language policy in the Baltic state with what it said was a call in Ukraine to prevent the use of Russian.

Russia has defended its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula by arguing it has the right to protect Russian-speakers outside its borders, so the reference to linguistic tensions in another former Soviet republic comes at a highly sensitive moment. Continue reading

Russia’s Gazprom takes over gas monopoly in Kyrgyzstan for $1

The former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan has approved a deal to sell the country’s debt-ridden natural gas monopoly to Russia’s state energy company Gazprom for $1.

The decision, backed by 78 deputies in the 120-seat parliament, hands Moscow control over a strategic asset in the Central Asian state in exchange for a guaranteed supply of fuel. Continue reading

Syria vows to ‘defend’ itself in ways that will ‘surprise’ the world as country prepares for military strike

Syria’s regime vowed to “defend” itself in ways that would “surprise” the world yesterday as President Bashar al-Assad’s allies prepared for a possible military strike by America and its allies.

As for the looming attack by America and its allies, Mr Muallem said: “We have two options: either to surrender, or to defend ourselves with the means at our disposal. The second choice is the best: we will defend ourselves.” Continue reading