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Berlin rejects Putin comparison of Crimea to German unification

BERLIN (Reuters) - Comparing Russia's integration of Crimea to the reunification of Germany in 1990, as Russian President Vladimir Putin did this week, was "astonishing", Germany said on Wednesday. Steffen Seibert, spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel who grew up in Communist East Germany, said Germans had not forgotten that the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev did not stand in the way of a peaceful reunification.

New age of discord as Putin rips up post-Soviet order

Russia is heading to a new era of confrontation with the West as President Vladimir Putin reasserts Kremlin power by tearing up the post-Soviet order that prevailed for over two decades, analysts say. On December 8, 1991 then Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the leaders of Ukraine and Belarus met at a remote dacha to sign the document that effectively dismembered the USSR into independent states.

Putin defies West with Crimea 'land grab'

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a treaty claiming the Black Sea region of Crimea as Russian territory as Ukraine warned the showdown had entered a "military stage" with the killing of one of its soldiers on the peninsula. The treaty signing was conducted at lightning speed in the Kremlin in a defiant expansion of Russia's post-Soviet borders that has plunged relations with the West to a new post-Cold War low.

Putin touches emotional nerve with Russians in historic speech

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday pushed every emotional button of the collective Russian psyche as he justified the incorporation of Crimea, citing everything from ancient history to Russia's demand for respect to Western double standards. The 61-year-old Russian strongman said that justice has finally been served now that the peninsula, which has been historically linked to Moscow, was becoming Russian not only in spirit but also in deed. Reeling off a litany of historic facts, Putin said Crimea was home to a host of places that were "sacred" for Russians.

To cheers and tears, defiant Putin sets out conservative agenda

By Timothy Heritage MOSCOW (Reuters) - To thunderous applause, cheers and even tears, Vladimir Putin delivered a fiercely patriotic speech on Tuesday that laid claim to Crimea and set out a vision of a Greater Russia that could define his third term as president. In a 47-minute address to his loyal political and business elite that was interrupted by clapping at least 30 times, Putin described a deeply conservative world view in which Russia hankered after land lost when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Ukraine says Putin acting like Nazi Germany with Crimea annexation

Ukraine's interim President Oleksandr Turchynov accused Russia's Vladimir Putin on Tuesday of acting like Nazi Germany after Moscow moved to "annex" Crimea. "Russia is playing a dirty game to annex Crimea. World War II began with the annexation by Nazi Germany of other countries' territories. Today, Putin is following the example of 20th century fascists," Turchynov told journalists. dg-neo/ssw/mfp

Putin signs treaty to annex Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty Tuesday to annex Ukraine's southern Crimea region and the city of Sevastopol into Russia. "Representatives of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol are here among us, citizens of Russia, residents of Crimea and Sevastopol," Putin said in an address at the Kremlin before the signing.

Putin to crowd in Red Square: Crimea returns to 'home port'

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin told a crowd under the Kremlin's walls on Red Square on Tuesday that the Ukrainian region of Crimea was finally returning home. "Crimea and Sevastopol are returning to ... their home shores, to their home port, to Russia!" he told a crowd chanting "Russia!" and "Putin!" after he signed a treaty on making the Black Sea peninsula part of Russia. Sevastopol, in Crimea, is home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet. Putin concluded his speech on Red Square by shouting "Glory to Russia".

Putin says will never seek to spark confrontation with West

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday Russia would never seek to start a confrontation with the West but that it will defend its own interests. "We must decide for ourselves whether we are ready to stand up for our national interests. Or just carry on giving them away forever?" he asked a joint session of parliament.

Putin portrays Crimea as part of Russia, blasts West

By Timothy Heritage and Alexei Anishchuk MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin delivered a fiercely patriotic speech on Tuesday describing Crimea as an inseparable part of Russia and accusing the West of reverting to Cold War containment by trying to stop the Ukrainian region joining Russia. To thunderous applause, and some tears among women in the audience, Putin defended Russia's actions in the crisis over the Black Sea peninsula which has pushed relations with the West to a post-Cold War low.
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