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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.

Ukraine: current sanctions on Russia and options

The United States and European Union have warned Moscow it faces more sanctions if Russian troops intervene further in Ukraine. Here is a look at where things stand now. - CURRENT SANCTIONS - EUROPE: The European Union has slapped visa bans and asset freezes on 33 Ukrainian and Russian officials and business leaders, including members of President Vladimir Putin's inner circle and Black Sea and Crimea commanders.

Putin rewards Crimea PM with post of governor

Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed the current premier of Crimea as the peninsula's acting governor on Monday, another step towards its establishment as a region of Russia. Sergei Aksyonov, who has been prime minister since the start of the region's drive to separate from Ukraine, will hold the post until elections, according to a decree published on the Kremlin's website. As the two met at the president's Moscow-region residence, Putin thanked Aksyonov for his help in making Crimea a Russian region, telling him: "It is first and foremost your accomplishment."

Ukraine: current sanctions and options

The United States and European Union have warned Moscow it faces more sanctions if Russian troops intervene further in Ukraine. Here is a look at where things stand now. - CURRENT SANCTIONS - EUROPE: The European Union has slapped visa bans and asset freezes on 33 Ukrainian and Russian officials and business leaders, including members of President Vladimir Putin's inner circle and Black Sea and Crimea commanders.

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 pledges to fulfil Europe gas obligations

President Vladimir Putin on Friday said Russia would fulfil its contractual obligations to send natural gas to Europe after threatening to pull the plug on energy supplies over Ukraine's unpaid gas bill. "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." as/am/ric

In spat over Ukraine, Putin tells U.S. not to read others' letters

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin responded acidly to U.S. comments about a proposal he sent to European leaders seeking talks about Ukraine's gas debt and supplies, saying "it is not good to read other people's letters". In a letter to 18 European leaders on Thursday, Putin said Russian gas supplies to Europe could be disrupted if Moscow cuts the flow to Ukraine over unpaid bills, drawing a U.S. accusation that Russia is using energy as a "tool of coercion". (Writing by Steve Gutterman)

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.

Putin warns Ukraine on gas supplies, urges talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered Ukraine to come to the negotiating table over its unpaid energy bills, warning that it would otherwise require payment in advance for gas. Ukraine "would receive only what they have paid for" if they failed to negotiate, Putin was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies. as/am/hmn

Ukraine's defiant armed separatists prepare for long siege

By Thomas Grove LUHANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - Past the barricades of metal railings, sandbags and barbed wire, Russian separatists peer out of the state security building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk, rifles in hand. The headquarters of the former KGB in this small Ukrainian city less than 30 km (20 miles) from the Russian border is potentially the most dangerous flashpoint among buildings in eastern Ukraine seized on Sunday night by pro-Moscow agitators.
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