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Russia 'outraged' as deadly east Ukraine shootout shatters Easter truce

A deadly gunfight in a town in restive east Ukraine on Sunday shattered a fragile Easter truce, with Russia declaring it was "outraged" at the return to violence in the crisis-hit former Soviet republic. Three pro-Russian militants and one attacker were killed in a firefight at a roadblock close to the separatist-held town of Slavyansk, said a local pro-Kremlin rebel leader, Vyatcheslav Ponomarev.

Russia 'outraged' as deadly east Ukraine shootout shatters Easter truce

A deadly gunfight in a town in restive east Ukraine on Sunday shattered a fragile Easter truce, with Russia declaring it was "outraged" at the return to violence in the crisis-hit former Soviet republic. Three pro-Russian militants and one attacker were killed in a firefight at a roadblock close to the separatist-held town of Slavyansk, said a local pro-Kremlin rebel leader, Vyatcheslav Ponomarev.

S. Korea allows KORAIL chief to visit N. Korea

SEOUL, April 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea decided to allow the chief of its state rail operator to visit North Korea this week for an international rail conference, the unification ministry said Sunday. The ministry said it approved an April 24-28 trip to Pyongyang by Choi Yeon-hye, president and CEO of the Korea Railroad Corp. (KORAIL), and four other officials for a meeting of the Organization for Co-Operation between Railways (OSJD).

S. Korea allows KORAIL chief to visit N. Korea

SEOUL, April 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has allowed the chief of its state rail operator to visit North Korea this week for an international rail conference, the unification ministry said Sunday. The ministry said it approved a trip to Pyongyang by Choi Yeon-hye, president and CEO of the Korea Railroad Corp. (KORAIL), and four other officials for a meeting of the Organization for Co-Operation between Railways (OSJD) set for April 24-28.

Russia stares at recession as Ukraine crisis scars economy

Russia looks increasingly likely to sink into recession in 2014 as the knock-on effects of its standoff with the West over Ukraine hurt an economy already beset by structural problems. Data released over the last week showed that Russian is beginning to suffer the effects of the worst East-West political crisis since the Cold War. The threat of economic sanctions from the European Union and the United States has already prompted a massive capital outflow from Russia in the first three months of the year.

At Easter, Ukrainian church condemns Russian 'aggression'

By Alastair Macdonald KIEV (Reuters) - As Russians and Ukrainians celebrated Easter on Sunday with their nations locked in conflict, the head of Ukraine's Orthodox Church condemned Russian "aggression" and said "evil" would be defeated.

Easter war of words breaks out between Ukraine and Russia

Politics overshadowed Easter observances in Kiev and Moscow late Saturday, with the Orthodox religious leaders in each capital trading barbs over the crisis in Ukraine -- while the US reportedly prepared to send ground forces to neighbouring Poland. Patriarch Filaret thundered to the faithful in pro-West Kiev that Russia was an "enemy" whose "attack" on Ukraine was doomed to failure because it was evil and contrary to God's will.

Russia writes off 90 percent of North Korea debt, eyes gas pipeline

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's parliament has agreed to write off almost $10 billion of North Korea's Soviet-era debt, in a deal expected to facilitate the building of a gas pipeline to South Korea across the reclusive state. Russia has written off debts to a number of impoverished Soviet-era allies, including Cuba. North Korea's struggling communist economy is just 2 percent of the size of neighboring South Korea's.

French hostage says 'very happy to be free'

One of the four French hostages freed after 10 months in captivity in Syria said Saturday he was "very happy to be free", Turkey's Dogan News Agency reported. Didier Francois, smiling broadly and wearing a long beard, spoke briefly to a journalist at a police station in the small Turkish town of Akcakle near the Syrian border, according to images broadcast by the Turkish agency. Francois, along with his colleagues Edouard Elias, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres, were found by Turkish soldiers on the border, with their hands bound and blindfolded, Dogan reported.

In Seoul, Obama to focus on security guarantee, FTA

By Lee Chi-dong WASHINGTON, April 18 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Barack Obama will have two main goals in his trip to South Korea next week -- assuring Washington's security commitment and promoting bilateral economic ties, according to the White House Friday. Shortly after flying into Seoul on April 25 from Tokyo, Obama will head to the War Memorial of Korea to lay a wreath. It is one of the most symbolic places for the alliance as the two nations fought side by side against the invading North Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War.
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