By Adam Withnall. The Russian President Vladimir Putin has described war with Ukraine as an “apocalyptic scenario” in his first comments since the signing of a shaky peace agreement in Minsk.
With a ceasefire struggling to take hold and neither the Ukrainian government nor rebels withdrawing heavy weapons from the frontline as promised, Mr Putin gave a confident interview on Russian TV.
Asked if the situation in eastern Ukraine and renewed calls for Russia to return the annexed territory of Crimea meant we could “wake up one day to discover a war has started”, Mr Putin said: “I think that such an apocalyptic scenario is unlikely and I hope this will never happen.”
Foreign ministers from Russia and Ukraine are to meet with those from France and Germany in Paris on Tuesday to discuss how the deal set out on 12 February is progressing. (Read more about what President Putin said about the war in Ukraine HERE)
Moscow Times: Anti-American Sentiment Reaches 25-Year High in Russia
By Peter Spinella. Russians are more anti-American than they have been at any point in the past 25 years, according to a recent opinion poll.
More than 80 percent of Russians view the United States negatively, the exact inverse of how the public felt in 1992, respected independent pollster the Levada Center said in a statement.
More than 70 percent currently have a negative opinion of the European Union, according to the poll, which was conducted between Jan. 23 and 26.
Russia’s political relations with the West sank to post-Cold War lows last year as Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from neighboring Ukraine, and Russia and the West faced off in a series of tit-for-tat sanctions.
Now, with the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine heating up and U.S. lawmakers renewing a push to supply weapons to the Ukrainian military, popular opinion of the West is not likely to improve anytime soon in Russia. (Read more from this story HERE)
Report: Crime, Anti-American Harassment in Russia Grows
By Bill Gertz. Anti-American sentiment and criminal activities have increased in Moscow since Russian forces took over Ukraine’s Crimea and continue to destabilize eastern Ukraine, a recent State Department security report reveals.
Security threats in Moscow and Russia include petty crime, physical attacks, activities by organized crime groups, corrupt law enforcement and security officials, widespread cyber crime, and economic espionage, according to the Feb. 6 report produced by the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), a State Department group that supports American businesses abroad.
“The social and political unrest in Ukraine has led to increasing political tensions between the Russian Federation and the U.S. and other Western nations,” the report, based on reports from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, said. “As a result, anti-American and anti-Western sentiment appears to be increasing, especially in certain media outlets” . . .
The report said U.S.-Russia ties were “greatly strained” after Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.
Embassy reports indicate a number of Americans were verbally harassed and physically assaulted in the last part of 2014 . . . (Read more from this story HERE)