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Putin Pulls In Horns Over Ukraine

Published: June 25, 2014 (Issue # 1817)



  • Putin, left, pictured Tuesday in Vienna with Austrian President Heinz Fischer, has moved to revoke a resolution allowing military force in Ukraine.
    Photo: Presidential Press Service / Kremlin.ru

In an ostentatious demonstration of goodwill after months of violent conflict in Ukraine for which the West has blamed Russia, President Vladimir Putin asked the parliament's upper chamber Tuesday to revoke a Mar. 1 resolution granting him the authority to use military force in Ukraine, the Kremlin said on its official website.

The move is largely symbolic, political analysts said, as Russia is believed to be acting in Ukraine through militant ragtag proxies rather than regular troops, but it is still a signal that Russia does not want a further escalation of the crisis.

"Putin is removing the sword of Damocles from over Ukraine, because the West was really concerned about the movement of Russian troops near the Ukrainian borders," said Alexei Makarkin, a researcher with the Center for Political Technologies think tank.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko welcomed the move Tuesday, calling it "the first practical step toward the stabilization of the situation in [eastern Ukraine's] Donbass following the Russian president's official expression of support for Ukraine's peace plan," according to Poroshenko's website.

The Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, will consider Putin's request Wednesday, when it is certain to be passed by an overwhelming majority.

"We believe that revoking approval for the use of military force will be a catalyst for peaceful negotiations," Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the upper chamber's defense and security committee, told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.

Russian markets reacted positively to the news, with key indexes growing by up to 3.6 percent.

Putin's announcement came on the heels of a phone conversation Monday with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Obama called upon Putin to put pressure on pro-Russian separatists to abide by the cease-fire announced by Poroshenko the day before and to halt the flow of weapons for the insurgents across the Russian border into Ukraine.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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