Russia

Why would Russian President Vladimir Putin want to help Donald Trump win the White House?

That's the accusation from Democrats this week, after embarrassing internal Democratic National Committee emails appeared on Wikileaks on the eve of the party's convention in Philadelphia.

The emails were lifted earlier this year in a hacking breach that security experts have linked to Russian espionage groups.

More than 60 track and field athletes from Russia have had their bid for an appeal rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, dealing another blow to their hopes of participating in the Summer Olympics in Rio next month.

The CAS decision comes weeks after the International Olympic Committee backed a ban on Russia's track and field athletes who were seeking the right to compete in Rio as neutral athletes, after their country's sporting federation for track was suspended by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

The International Olympic Committee held an emergency meeting Tuesday but put off a final decision on whether to ban all Russian athletes from the Summer Games that begin in Brazil on Aug. 5.

Though the games are less than three weeks away, the IOC said it would "explore the legal options" and would weigh a collective ban "versus the right to individual justice."

Russia is issuing a new 100-ruble banknote commemorating the annexation of Crimea.

But the new bill may serve as a reminder of the country's current economic pain. At the present rate of exchange, the 100-ruble note is worth about $1.41 — around half of what it was worth in February 2014, just before Russia seized the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine.

Alexei Nikolsky/Reuters

On Russian state television, the Russian military campaign in Syria is portrayed as one success after another — terrorists targets destroyed through precision airstrikes, the Syrian army counterattacking against ISIS, and ever new surprises up Moscow's sleeve.

While American officials have disputed the accuracy of those strikes, Vladimir Ryzhkov, a prominent opposition politician, says the Russian campaign, which began in late September, is in fact showcasing effective military reforms carried out under Putin in recent years; this is the new improved Russian army.

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:

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