Russia

Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

The MacArthur Foundation, a prominent American non-governmental organization that has operated in Russia for more than two decades, is closing its Russia office as a result of government pressure on NGOs.

Scientists and crew prepping the Healy for a voyage to the North Pole
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The Shell Oil rig that left Elliott Bay last week isn't the only big vessel heading to the Arctic from Seattle. A Coast Guard icebreaker heads to Alaska on Wednesday. The Seattle-based ship will help a multinational team of scientists explore pollution at the North Pole.

Climate change has fueled competition at the top of the world, where shipping and resource extraction are becoming feasible for the first time. With a tiny fleet of icebreakers (the Coast Guard has just two in operation), the U.S. lags behind other nations. At last count, Russia has 41 icebreakers.

KUOW's John Ryan reports.

Jeannie Yandel talks with Anastasia Podlazova, the founder of DroWa, an annual festival for the Russian-speaking community in Washington, about how the Ukrainian conflict impacts the event.

Courtesy Tony Allison

During the Cold War, thousands of Soviet and U.S. fishermen worked together on the high seas of the Pacific Ocean, trawling by day and sharing Russian bread, vodka and off-color jokes in the evenings, while their governments maintained a posture of pure hostility toward each other.

Audie Cornish talks with reporter Noah Sneider, who's at the crash site of the Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region.

When Nikita Khrushchev emerged as the leader of the Soviet Union after Stalin's death in 1953, one of the first things he addressed was the housing shortage and the need for more food. At the time, thousands of people were living in cramped communal apartments, sharing one kitchen and one bathroom with sometimes up to 20 other families.

"Armed pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said Friday that they were not bound by an international deal ordering them to disarm and were looking for more assurances about their security before leaving the public buildings they are holding," Reuters reports.

AP Photo/Jim Bourg

Steve Scher talks with Columbia University Professor Stephen Sestanovich about today's meeting between U.S., Ukrainian, EU and Russian officials in Geneva. Sestanovich also discusses what President Vladimir Putin's strategy might be in his involvement in Ukraine.

Courtesy of Wayne Buck

When there’s daylight in Seattle, it’s usually night time in Ukraine. But that time difference doesn't matter to many Ukrainians here, who are anxious for news of the crisis unfolding in their motherland.

“We have 32 channels from Ukraine so we can watch every day,” said Peter Drogomiretskiy during a recent interview at his home in Brier, Wash. He sometimes watches Ukrainian news coverage with his wife, Valha Drogomiretskiy, until 3 a.m. and only sleeps a few hours before work.

This post was updated with a new top at 4:10 p.m. ET.

Diplomats from the U.S., Ukraine, Russia and the European Union emerged Thursday from a meeting that wasn't expected to accomplish much saying they had made progress toward resolving the crisis in Ukraine.

"We worked hard and we worked in good faith in order to narrow our real differences," Secretary of State John Kerry said following the meeting in Geneva. He and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that the four parties at the negotiating table agreed:

Confusion continues to reign in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia gunmen remain in control of many government offices even as the Ukrainian military sends in troops, tanks and armed aircraft in an attempt to dislodge them.

According to NPR's Ari Shapiro, who is in eastern Ukraine, locals who are pushing to separate from the central government and join the Russian Federation claim that at least some Ukrainian troops are refusing to move against them.

Ukraine's acting president says his nation's military has begun "an anti-terrorist operation" aimed at pushing armed pro-Russia demonstrators out of the government buildings in eastern Ukraine that they have occupied for several days.

"A deadline set by the Ukrainian government for pro-Russian gunmen to leave government buildings in eastern Ukraine and surrender weapons passed early Monday," The Associated Press writes, "with no immediate sign of any action to force the insurgents out."

In the political battle between Ukraine and Russia, one of the biggest pawns is chocolate.

That's because the current front-runner in Ukraine's presidential race is Petro Poroshenko, known as "the Chocolate King." His billion-dollar empire was founded on candy factories.

Riot police and other Ukrainian forces are cracking down on pro-Russian demonstrators in eastern Ukraine, drawing a warning from neighboring Russia on Tuesday that also alleged an American military contractor is helping Ukraine.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov says Ukraine has arrested around 70 demonstrators who had seized a regional administration building in Kharkiv, the country's second-largest city. Avakov described it as an "anti-terrorist" operation.

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