Russia will come under heightened diplomatic pressure on Thursday as the UN Security Council and European leaders hold emergency talks on Ukraine, after attempts to foster a diplomatic meeting between Russia and Ukraine in Paris on Wednesday failed.
• Germany has announced it will not send ministers or other government representatives to the Sochi Paralympics, citing Russia’s role in Ukraine’s mounting crisis.
• Crimea’s parliament on Thursday voted in favour of becoming part of Russia, RIA news agency reported, citing the text of the decision.
• Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who took over after the ouster of president Viktor Yanukovich last month, has accused Russia of increasing tensions between the two countries.
• Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country is simplifying its citizenship process for foreigners with Russian as a native language.
• The EU said Thursday it has frozen assets belonging to exiled Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovich as well as 17 other Ukrainian officials on suspicion that they violated human rights and/or misused state funds.
• EU leaders will meet in Brussels on Thursday with Ukrainian premier Yatsenyuk.
• Some 40 unarmed military personnel are expected in Crimea in a mission by the OSCE to try to defuse tensions in the flashpoint region.
• On Thursday afternoon, the 15-member UN Security Council (UNSC) will hold fresh closed-door talks in New York, the body's fourth consultations on the subject since Friday.
• Kerry announced on Wednesday that he had agreed to continue talks on de-escalating tensions with both his Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Deshchytsia and Russia's Lavrov in the coming days.
• Kerry failed to instigate direct talks between the two foreign ministers, during what was his first face-to-face meeting with Lavrov since Russian forces effectively occupied Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula last week.
• UN special envoy Robert Serry was forced on Wednesday to abandon a mission to the Russian-occupied region after he was besieged by gunmen.
• Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Wednesday that his country would impose economic sanctions on those who worked for Ukraine’s deposed president Viktor Yanukovich.
• Pro-Russia activists recaptured control on Wednesday of the administrative headquarters in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, flying a Russian flag from its roof just hours after Ukrainian authorities succeeded in raising their own flag over the building for the first time since Saturday.
• On Wednesday afternoon the European Union offered Ukraine's new leaders 11 billion dollars in financial aid over the next couple of years, provided they reach a deal with the International Monetary Fund. Germany, the EU’s biggest economy, also promised bilateral financial help.
• US lawmakers could vote within days on a $1 billion loan guarantee package for Ukraine, it was reported on Wednesday.
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Date created : 2014-03-05