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Russia says sanctions unlawful, will create barriers

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday international sanctions imposed on Russian officials and businessmen over the Crimea crisis were "absolutely unlawful" and would create artificial barriers with the West. Lavrov made the remarks in a speech to the upper house of parliament in which he urged the chamber to approve a treaty signed by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to make Ukraine's Crimea region part of Russia. (Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

Russia's Medvedev says Ukraine owes Russia $16 billion: agencies

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Medvedev said in a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Friday that in total Ukraine owes Russia $16 billion, local news agencies reported. Medvedev said that Ukraine owes Russia $11 billion because the treaty under which Russia provides Ukraine with cheap gas in return for the Sevastopol naval base was "subject to denunciation".

Russia says close to agreement on OSCE monitors for Ukraine

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that members of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe were close to a deal to send observers from the security and democracy body to Ukraine. "We have already practically agreed a draft decision" on an observer mission, Lavrov told President Vladimir Putin in televised remarks, adding that observers would be sent to western and central regions in addition to the largely Russian-speaking east and southeast.

Who's who of Russians hit by new US sanctions

US President Barack Obama on Thursday announced sanctions against 20 Russian lawmakers and senior government officials, amid the worst crisis between Moscow and the West in years. The US move freezes assets within American jurisdiction and bars US firms from conducting business with those concerned. Those targeted are: Political and military officials - Sergei Ivanov, chief of staff to President Vladimir Putin and one of his closest advisers. He is a former defence minister who -- like Putin -- served in the KGB.

US sanctions close associates of Putin, Russian bank over Ukrainian crisis

WASHINGTON - Increasing pressure on Russia for its incursion into Crimea, the U.S. on Thursday sanctioned some of President Vladimir Putin's close friends and associates, members of his inner circle, government officials, some of the richest men in the country and a major bank. The latest punitive measures freeze any assets that those being sanctioned currently hold within U.S. jurisdiction and prohibit Americans from conducting transactions with those targeted. Those sanctioned are:

Factbox: U.S. sanctions target 20 more individuals, Russian bank

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday expanded its list of sanctions on Russians over the seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region, after announcing the first round of sanctions on Monday. Senior Obama administration officials also said the action on Thursday paves the way for President Barack Obama to broaden sanctions beyond individuals and target various sectors, including financial services, energy, mining, engineering and defense sectors. Below is a list of the 20 latest targets of the U.S. sanctions:

UN chief tells Putin he is 'deeply concerned' over Ukraine

UN chief Ban Ki-moon told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that he was deeply concerned over the crisis in Ukraine, which saw Moscow absorb the ex-Soviet country's peninsula of Crimea into Russian territory. "As the secretary general, I cannot hide but to tell you that I am deeply concerned about the current situation," Ban said at the start of the talks in the Kremlin. He added that he also held talks with foreign minister Sergei Lavrov earlier Thursday. am-as/sjw/txw

Russian lower house ratifies treaty on taking Crimea

Russia's lower house of parliament on Thursday ratified in a rubber stamp vote the treaty incorporating Crimea into Russian territory, in defiance of the international community's insistence that the peninsula is part of Ukraine. Just one deputy in the State Duma lower house voted against approving the treaty, which was signed on Tuesday by President Vladimir Putin and Crimea's leaders. The Duma also approved a new law on the absorption of Crimea into Russia.

Russia says U.S., EU sanctions unacceptable

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov lodged a protest Tuesday about U.S. and EU sanctions against Russia in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis, saying they are "totally unacceptable," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Lavrov told his U.S. counterpart John Kerry over the phone that the sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union would not be left unreciprocated, the ministry said.

Russia's Lavrov tells Kerry Crimea sanctions "unacceptable"

MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Western sanctions over the Crimea dispute were "unacceptable" and threatened consequences, Moscow said on Tuesday. The two senior diplomats spoke by telephone hours after President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty in the Kremlin making Ukraine's Crimea peninsula part of Russia, despite an outcry from Kiev and the West.
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