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Kremlin calls claims of US sanctions against Putin 'absurd'

A Kremlin spokesman on Sunday dismissed as "absurd" claims that Washington could target President Vladimir Putin directly if it imposes further sanctions against Russia. Quoting anonymous sources, The Times said in an article published Friday that the United States was looking at imposing sanctions on Putin, who is estimated to hold some $40 billion in Swiss accounts. But Putin's spokesman rubbished the claim. "That's obviously a hoax, an absurd one," Dmitry Peskov told Moscow's Echo radio station.

Putin offers condolences over deadly sinking of S. Korean ferry

SEOUL, April 20 (Yonhap) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a message of condolence to South Korean President Park Geun-hye over the deadly sinking of the ferry Sewol, Park's office said Sunday. Putin said in the message that he offers "deep condolences" to victims of the sinking, including many young students and children, and wished the injured a quick recovery, according to presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook. On Friday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev sent a similar message to his South Korean counterpart Chung Hong-won.

Nothing should impede normalisation of Russia-West relations

President Vladimir Putin on Saturday said nothing should impede the normalisation of relations between Russia and the West, after ties hit a post-Cold War low due to the standoff over Ukraine. His remark, which contrasted with weeks of hostile rhetoric on both sides, came after talks between Russia, Ukraine and the West on Thursday in which an agreement was forged on initial steps to ease the crisis.

Nothing should impede normalisation of Russia-West relations

President Vladimir Putin on Saturday said nothing should impede the normalisation of relations between Russia and the West, after ties hit a post-Cold War low due to the standoff over Ukraine. "It does not depend on us. Or does not only depend on us. It depends on our partners. I think that there is nothing that should stand in the way of a normalisation (of relations) and normal cooperation," Putin said in comments released by Russian news agencies from a state television interview to be broadcast later Saturday. sjw/cc

Who are the mysterious 'little green men' helping Ukraine's rebels?

The expertly armed, masked men in matching camouflage stripped of all insignia are tough, taciturn and tactically devastating. And according to President Vladimir Putin, they are not -- absolutely, categorically not -- elite Russian special forces. So who are the members of this mysterious military or paramilitary force operating in eastern Ukraine, nicknamed "little green men" by many here?

Who are the mysterious 'little green men' helping Ukraine's rebels?

The expertly armed, masked men in matching camouflage stripped of all insignia are tough, taciturn and tactically devastating. And according to President Vladimir Putin, they are not -- absolutely, categorically not -- elite Russian special forces. So who are the members of this mysterious military or paramilitary force operating in eastern Ukraine, nicknamed "little green men" by many here?

'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."

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.

Putin says trust lost in ties with U.S. before Ukraine crisis

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that trust between Russia and the United States was lost before the crisis in Ukraine but that he wants to restore their cooperation. To achieve that, Putin said, the United States should respect others' interests and respect international law.

Ex-Russian Alaska 'too cold' to annex, Putin jokes

In a patriotic fervour, Russians are asking President Vladimir Putin to bring back the US state of Alaska, sold off to the United States in Tsarist times. Putin's answer? It's too cold. During Putin's annual marathon phone-in session Thursday, when Russians pose questions to the Russian leader, a pensioner asked him to possibly follow the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine with the taking of Alaska. "Faina Ivanovna, dear, why do you need Alaska?" Putin asked the pensioner.
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