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Putin tells Obama charges of Ukraine interference 'unfounded'

President Vladimir Putin on Monday told US counterpart Barack Obama that charges of Russia meddling in eastern Ukraine were "unfounded", the Kremlin said. "In reply to concern voiced by the American president about so-called Russian interference in southeast Ukraine, the Russian president remarked that such speculations are based on unfounded information," said a statement, referring to a telephone conversation between the two leaders.

Putin getting requests for help from eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin is receiving many requests for help from eastern Ukraine, where pro-Moscow protesters have clashed with authorities, and is watching the situation with "great concern", his spokesman said on Monday. "Unfortunately, we are receiving a lot of such requests from the regions of east Ukraine, addressed personally to Putin, with a request to help, to intervene in some form," Russian news agencies quoted Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

Russia, China try to finish gas talks before Putin's visit: deputy PM

Moscow and Beijing plan to wrap up a decade of talks on supplies of Russian natural gas before President Vladimir Putin's expected to travel to China next month, a deputy prime minister said on Monday. Deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich, speaking after a visit to China last week, also said Chinese companies wanted to invest in the former Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea taken over by Russia last month.

Russia, China aim to finish gas talks before Putin's May visit: media

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia and China aim to wrap up a 10-year series of talks about Russian gas supplies before President Vladimir Putin visits China in May, media quoted the deputy prime minister as saying on Monday. The Russian deputy premier, Arkady Dvorkovich, also said China is interested in alternative energy projects on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, annexed by Russia from Ukraine in March.

Axworthy blasts IMF for waffling on Ukraine bailout in face of Putin threats

OTTAWA - The International Monetary Fund must stop "waffling" on approving a massive bailout for Ukraine, Canada's former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy said Friday in a blistering critique. Axworthy told The Canadian Press in an interview from Kyiv that world bankers need to step up fast to help the faltering Ukraine confront the belligerence of Russian President Vladimir Putin. "The IMF and others are kind of treating this like just another loan application," Axworthy said.

Putin poorest Kremlin official, declaration shows

Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a relatively modest income of just over $100,000 for last year -- the lowest of all of his staff in the Kremlin, official figures showed Friday. Putin earned about 3.7 million rubles ($104,000, 75,000 euros) and owns three Russian-made cars, a 77 square-metre flat, a garage and a plot of land, according to a declaration of assets published on the Kremlin's website. For the first time, the document makes no mention of his wife of 30 years Lyudmila, whose divorce from Putin was confirmed earlier this month.

Putin pledges to fulfil Europe gas obligations

President Vladimir Putin on Friday said Moscow would fulfil its obligations to send natural gas to Europe but also said the United States had no business interfering in Russia's talks with Europe over Kiev's debt. "We certainly guarantee the fulfilment of our obligations before our European customers in full," Putin said in comments released by the Kremlin. "The issue is not about us, the issue is about securing transit through Ukraine."

'Secret polls' sealed decision to annex Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that his decision to take the Crimean peninsula under Russian control was made final after "secret polls" showed that its people wanted to be ruled by Moscow. "My decisions were finalised after people's attitudes became clear," Putin said. "We weren't prepared for such a turn of events. To tell you the truth, we could imagine how people felt but did not know for sure."

Putin warns Kiev against irreversible mistakes

Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Wednesday a positive outcome to the first international peace talks on Ukraine but also upped the pressure by warning Kiev's interim leaders against making any irreversible mistakes. The veteran strongman's mixed message came as Kalashnikov-wielding separatists barricaded inside state offices in the Russified east of Ukraine remained locked in a standoff that the country's police chief said should be resolved within 48 hours but may require the use of force.

IMF cuts Russia growth forecast over Ukraine crisis

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday cut its growth forecast for Russia following Moscow's takeover of Crimea and warned the Ukrainian crisis could have much wider global knock-on effects. The Ukraine crisis and the ensuing diplomatic confrontation between Moscow and Western powers have already plunged Ukraine into a deep recession and prompted major capital outflows from Russia after Washington slapped targeted sanctions against Moscow.
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