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Putin orders crackdown on NGOs after Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a crackdown on "destructive" non-government organisations, saying such groups were behind the mass protests that brought down Ukraine's government. Moscow has repeatedly accused the new authorities in Kiev and the protesters who toppled pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych of being extremists, nationalists and even "Nazis".

Putin warns against letting West use anti-Kremlin groups

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin told the FSB security service on Monday to ensure Russia did not follow what he said was Ukraine's example by letting the West use local groups for "destructive" purposes. Putin's remarks signaled his lingering concern that the West could use non-governmental organizations to fuel dissent in Russia, despite a clampdown on groups funded from abroad since big protests against him in the winter of 2011-12.

Gazprom demands 'immediate' payment from Ukraine

Russia's gas giant Gazprom on Thursday demanded that Ukraine's Naftogaz takes immediate steps to pay for its gas deliveries, valued at over $2.2 billion. "Naftogaz Ukraine must take immediate measures to pay off the accrued debt," the Russian company said in a statement after its chairman Alexei Miller met with head of Naftogaz Andrei Sobolev. "At this time, the total debt by Naftogaz is estimated at over $2.2 billion including deliveries in March," Gazprom said.

Putin officially divorces his wife Lyudmila: Kremlin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has formally divorced his wife Lyudmila after more than 30 years of marriage, Kremlin spokesman said on Wednesday, following a surprise breakup announcement last year. "The divorce has taken place," Dmitry Peskov said, without giving any further details. Putin and his wife announced that their marriage was over last June in a live broadcast on Russian state television, confirming longstanding speculation that they had separated.

Kerry, Lavrov discuss ways to de-escalate Ukraine crisis

PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said late on Sunday he and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, discussed suggestions for de-escalating the Ukraine crisis during four hours of talks in Paris. Kerry told a news conference that the United States made clear it still considered Russian actions in Crimea to be "illegal and illegitimate."

Russia's Lavrov says Moscow, Washington to work with Ukraine

PARIS (Reuters) - Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday that Moscow and Washington had agreed to work with the Ukrainian government and the country's people to overcome the crisis, after meeting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian agencies reported. "We have agreed to work with the Ukrainian government and people to achieve progress in rights of minorities and linguistic rights," Lavrov told reporters after talks that lasted four hours, Interfax reported.

U.S., Russian foreign ministers to meet in Paris on Sunday to discuss Ukraine

SHANNON, Ireland (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Paris on Sunday to discuss ways to resolve the Ukraine crisis, state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. The meeting follows Russian President Vladimir Putin's call to U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday to discuss a U.S. diplomatic proposal for Ukraine. (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Kerry flying to Paris in hopes of Lavrov talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry made a last-minute change of plans on Saturday to fly to Paris with the aim of setting up talks with his Russian counterpart on the Ukraine crisis. After leaving Riyadh early on Saturday, the top US diplomat had been due to fly home to Washington via a refuelling stop in Ireland, but decided mid-flight to go to Paris instead. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday called his US counterpart Barack Obama to say he was interested in discussing a US proposal on the table to resolve the standoff over Ukraine.

Kerry flying to Paris in hopes of Lavrov talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry made a last-minute change of plans Saturday to fly to Paris with the aim of setting up talks with his Russian counterpart on the Ukraine crisis. After leaving Riyadh early Saturday, the top US diplomat had been due to fly home to Washington via a refuelling stop in Ireland, but decided mid-flight to go to Paris instead. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday called his US counterpart Barack Obama to say he was interested in discussing a US proposal on the table to resolve the standoff over Ukraine.

Russia's Lavrov, U.S. Kerry discuss Ukraine, timing of further contact

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed Ukraine in a phone call on Saturday as well as the timing of further contact, Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The ministry said the call was initiated by the United States and followed Russian President Vladimir Putin's call to U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday to discuss a U.S. diplomatic proposal for Ukraine. (Reporting by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Louise Ireland)
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