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Turkish president rules out role swap with Erdogan

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Abdullah Gul appeared to rule himself out as a potential future prime minister on Friday, saying a "Putin-Medvedev model" under which he might swap roles with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was not suitable for Turkey. "I don't have any political plan for the future under today's conditions," Gul told reporters in the western province of Kutahya, when asked about a presidential election in August in which Erdogan is expected to stand.

Shell committed to Russia expansion despite sanctions

By Alexei Anishchuk NOVO-OGARYOVO, Russia (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell is committed to expansion in Russia, Chief Executive Ben van Beurden told Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting on Friday amid sanctions imposed on the country after its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region. Shell plans to expand Russia's only liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant with Russian partner Gazprom, he said at a meeting at Putin's residence.

Obama's hope in check after Geneva deal

President Barack Obama had a curt assessment of his own administration's latest "breakthrough" in its tangled diplomacy with Vladimir Putin: buyer beware. US officials never held out much hope for talks in Geneva aimed at stemming the chaos in eastern Ukraine that Obama had blamed on Russian support for separatist rebels. But on the face of it, the unexpected agreement between Russia, Ukraine, the EU and United States appeared to address the immediate flashpoints of the latest brushfire in the wider Ukraine crisis.

Putin talks tough on Ukraine but says he hopes for peace

By Alissa de Carbonnel and Alexei Anishchuk MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine's leaders on Thursday of committing a "grave crime" by using the army to try to quell unrest in the east of the country, and did not rule out sending in Russian troops. But, addressing Russians in his annual televised phone-in, Putin said he hoped he would not need to take such a step, and that diplomacy could succeed in resolving the standoff, the worst crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War.

'I hope not to use this right': Main points from Putin Q

Russian President Vladimir Putin fielded four hours of questions on Thursday in a marathon phone-in session, leaving the door open for Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Here are the main points from his comments: -On Russia sending troops to Ukraine "I remind you that the Federation Council (Russia's upper house of parliament) gave the president the right to use force in Ukraine. I hope very much that I will not have to use that right."

Canada sends fighter jets to Eastern Europe

Canada is deploying six CF-18 fighter jets to Eastern Europe as part of NATO's response to the worsening crisis in Ukraine, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Thursday. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Ukraine was on the brink of civil war, stoking fears of outright Russian intervention. NATO has increased air sorties and additional navy ships in the region as Ukrainian and pro-Russian forces face off.

Confident Putin keeps all options open on Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin exuded self-confidence as he fielded four hours of questions in his traditional phone-in marathon, keeping open Russia's diplomatic and military options on the Ukraine crisis. Putin basked in the glory of Russia's lightning takeover of Crimea from Ukraine last month, sitting impassively as dozens of locals in the Crimean port of Sevastopol chanted "Thank you!" in a live link-up.

Snowden questions Putin on surveillance in phone-in

Fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden on Thursday joined a phone-in with Russian President Vladimir Putin, quizzing him over the extent of Moscow's surveillance activities. Putin, a former KGB agent, greeted Snowden as a fellow "former agent" before assuring him that Russia's surveillance of the population was not on a mass scale and strictly controlled by laws.

Snowden questions Putin on surveillance in phone-in

Fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden on Thursday joined a phone-in with Russian President Vladimir Putin, quizzing him over the extent of Moscow's surveillance activities. Putin, a former KGB agent, greeted Snowden as a fellow "former agent" before assuring him that Russia's surveillance of the population was not on a mass scale and strictly controlled by laws.

Russia's Putin acknowledges impact from sanctions

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin on Thursday condemned Western sanctions imposed on a group of Russians and Ukrainians, saying they were aimed at people close to him and in one case had prevented a leading businessman's wife from paying for an operation. He said the wife of Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko, the co-owner of gas producer Novatek, had been unable to pay because of a blocked bank card.
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