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Putin discussed with his Security Council Crimea proposal to join Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday discussed with his Security Council a request by the pro-Moscow authorities in Crimea to join Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told news agencies. Putin held an unscheduled meeting with the Security Council to discuss the situation in Ukraine, including the decision on Thursday by the parliament of Crimea to ask to join Russia, RIA Novosti news agency quoted Peskov as saying. The Kremlin spokesman gave no more detail of the discussion.

Putin, Germany's Merkel discuss efforts to resolve Ukraine crisis: Kremlin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed possible international efforts to help improve the situation in Ukraine in a phone call, the Kremlin said in a statement on Wednesday. The West has threatened sanctions against Russia which effectively occupied Crimea after the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich. Moscow accused the Western powers of supporting a "coup" to topple him and did not recognize the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian authorities.

Hillary Clinton compares Putin moves to Hitler's

Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has compared Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent steps in Ukraine to aggression by Adolf Hitler in 1930s Nazi Germany, a local paper reported. Clinton, speaking at a private event Tuesday in southern California, said Putin's apparent deployment of Russian troops into neighboring Ukraine -- a former Soviet satellite state -- to protect Russian citizens and Russian-speakers recalls moves by Hitler to protect ethnic Germans living outside of Germany.

Sanction threats won't change Russia stance on Ukraine

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that threats of sanctions against Moscow are counter-productive and will not change its position on the Ukraine crisis. "Our position is honest and... will not change," Lavrov told a news conference in Tunisia, where he was on an official visit. "We have always opposed the policy of unilateral sanctions. I hope our partners understand that such actions are counter-productive. "Anger and humiliation are ill-advised."

Putin told Yanukovich he has 'no political future'

NOVO-OGARYOVO, Russia (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday he had told Ukraine's ousted leader, Viktor Yanukovich, that he had "no political future" but that the man would have been murdered if he stayed at home. Putin told a news conference that pulling Russia's ambassador to Washington from his post over events in Ukraine would be a "last resort" and that he would not like this to happen. (Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk, writing by Elizabeth Piper, editing by Gabriela Baczynska)

Russia's Lavrov in Tunisia as Ukraine crisis deepens

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was in Tunis on Tuesday for a visit to boost commercial ties, as tensions escalated between Moscow and the West over the crisis in Ukraine. "We reaffirm our solidarity with the Tunisian people, our support for fundamental changes in Tunisia. We are ready to support this process," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on the visit which did not mention the standoff over Ukraine.

Russia's Lavrov in Tunisia as Ukraine crisis deepens

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was in Tunis on Tuesday for a visit to boost commercial ties, as tensions escalated between Moscow and the West over the crisis in Ukraine. "We reaffirm our solidarity with the Tunisian people, our support for fundamental changes in Tunisia. We are ready to support this process," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on the visit which did not mention the standoff over Ukraine.

Putin calls end to snap drill of armed forces

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday told troops to return to their permanent bases after calling a snap drill to check their battle-readiness last week. "The commander-in-chief President Vladimir Putin gave the order to the troops and units taking part in military exercises to return to their permanent bases," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies. Putin on February 26 ordered snap combat readiness drills involving thousands of troops, in what was ostensibly a routine exercise.

Putin like Hitler in 1930s: former Czech foreign minister

Russian President Vladimir Putin is repeating history by acting in Crimea much like Adolf Hitler did in central and eastern Europe in the late 1930s, a former Czech foreign minister said in an interview Monday. "What's happening in Ukraine is history repeating itself," Karel Schwarzenberg said in an interview with Austrian daily Osterreich. "Putin is acting along the same principle as Adolf Hitler" did during his invasions of Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland in 1938 and 1939, he said.

Merkel urges Britain to stay in EU but cool on reform

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Britain Thursday to stay in the EU but played down David Cameron's hopes that her visit to London would bring major reforms. The British premier rolled out the red carpet in his bid to woo fellow conservative Merkel, who gave a speech to both houses of parliament and was due to have tea with the queen. But Europe's most powerful politician was cool on Cameron's desire to change the EU's treaties ahead of a planned referendum on British membership of the bloc in 2017.
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