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Obama urges Putin to avoid provocations over Ukraine crisis

U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to avoid further provocations in its confrontation with Ukraine, including the buildup of forces on its border, the White House said. The call came as Putin telephoned Obama to discuss a U.S. proposal for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine, whose southern Crimean region Russia has moved to take over.

Putin seeks diplomatic end to Ukraine crisis

Russian President Vladimir Putin called his American counterpart Barack Obama on Friday to discuss a US proposal on resolving the crisis in Ukraine, the White House said. "President Obama suggested that Russia put a concrete response in writing" to the proposal presented by US Secretary of State John Kerry to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in The Hague this week, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Putin has 'no intention' of further military moves into Ukraine

The UN secretary general said Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin assured him he had no intention of orchestrating further incursions into Ukrainian territory. Ban Ki-moon told reporters after briefing the UN Security Council on his recent talks in Moscow and Kiev that Putin told him "he had no intention to make any military move." jm/vlk

Olympics: Killy quits IOC amid Putin links criticism

French ski legend Jean-Claude Killy on Friday resigned from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), insisting he had no regrets about his close ties to Russia's President Vladimir Putin. The winner of three gold medals at the 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics told L'Equipe magazine his age was the main reason for standing down. But he has been criticised for a close relationship with Putin built up while he was a key figure in the Sochi Winter Olympics preparations.

Olympics: Killy quits IOC amid Putin links criticism

French ski legend Jean-Claude Killy on Friday resigned from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), insisting he had no regrets about his close ties to Russia's President Vladimir Putin. The winner of three gold medals at the 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics told L'Equipe magazine his age was the main reason for standing down. But he has been criticised for a close relationship with Putin built up while he was a key figure in the Sochi Winter Olympics preparations.

Putin says Crimea showed 'new capacities' of Russian army

President Vladimir Putin on Friday congratulated the Russian armed forces for their role in the takeover by Moscow of Crimea from Ukraine, saying they had showed the new capacities of the Russian army. "The recent events in Crimea were a serious test. They demonstrated the new capacities of our armed forces in terms of quality and the high moral spirit of the personnel," he said, quoted by Russian news agencies, for the first time confirming the direct involvement of the Russian army in the seizure. sjw/yad

Pentagon sees no signs of Russia military drills despite buildup

By Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States sees no indications that Russian forces along the border with Ukraine are carrying out the kind of springtime military exercises that Moscow has cited as the reason for their deployment, the Pentagon said on Thursday. Ukraine's government has put its heavily outnumbered and outgunned forces on alert for an invasion from Russia in the east following Moscow's seizure of Crimea, as the West moves to isolate Russia diplomatically and pressure it economically.

Russia to create its own national payment system

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said Russia should create its own national payment settlement system, in a bid to reduce economic dependence on the West amid the controversy over Moscow's seizure of Crimea. "In countries such as Japan and China these systems work, and work very well," Putin told lawmakers in televised remarks. "Initially, they started out solely as national systems limited to their own markets, their own territory, their own population but they are becoming more popular right now."

Russia to create its own national payment system

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said Russia should create its own national payment settlement system, in a clear bid to become more independent of the West amid the controversy over Moscow's seizure of Crimea. "In countries such as Japan and China these systems work, and work very well," Putin was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies. "Why should not we do it? We should definitely do it and we will do it," saying that Russia's Central Bank and the government have been looking into the matter. as/sjw/ric

In mirror-image speech, Obama rebuts Putin over Ukraine

By Steve Holland and Paul Taylor BRUSSELS (Reuters) - President Barack Obama jousted rhetorically with Vladimir Putin on Wednesday with a point-by-point rebuttal of the Russian president's rationale for his incursion into Ukraine. Without mentioning Putin's name, Obama used a keynote speech in Brussels on U.S.-European relations to push back against many of the justifications, grievances and accusations used by the Russian leader for Moscow's annexation of Crimea.
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