Putin congratulates Yanukovych on his apparent victory in the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election despite the lack of an official result, after the Central Election Commission’s preliminary announcement that with 99% of ballots counted, Yanukovych is ahead of Yushchenko 49%-47%. With the pro-Russian candidate victorious:
We will be able to do a great deal to strengthen the European and international security and build a united and prospering Europe. I value your determination to work together and express deep satisfaction with the constructive contacts that have been established between us. Continuing our active dialogue will definitely contribute to the expansion of bilateral cooperation inthe name of prosperity between the two brotherly nations
Putin is chosen as Time’s Person of the Year, over runner-ups former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, British author J.K. Rowling, Chinese President Hu Jintao and the U.S. Commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus. Managing editor Richard Stengel explains the choice:
He’s not a good guy, but he’s done extraordinary things. He’s a new tsar of Russia and he’s dangerous in the sense that he doesn’t care about civil liberties; he doesn’t care about free speech; he cares about stability. But stability is what Russia needed and that’s why Russians adore him.
Salmond defends his remark that Putin has ‘restored a substantial part of Russian pride’:
When people see the comments I made, they will see that they’re perfectly reasonable. I said I deprecated Russian actions in Ukraine and also its human rights record. I pointed out that the western press underestimated Putin and that’s obviously true … When I was talking about the pride issue, it was in the aftermath of the Sochi [winter] Olympics, which was obviously a restoration of Russian pride. Those are reasonably balanced remarks.
In a conversation with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Putin demands that Ukraine must remove its military from the southeastern region of the country to resolve the show-down there with Russian militants. He emphasizes that in addition to all military being removed, violence must be stopped and a national dialogue be launched as part of the constitutional reform process involving all regions and political forces. Christina Wirtz, a spokeswoman for Chancellor Merkel, told Interfax that the Chancellor “reminded President Putin of Russia’s responsibility as a member of the O.S.C.E. and called on the president to use his influence.”
Putin, Poroshenko and Obama talk cease-fire at the 70th anniversary commemoration of D-Day. This is the first meeting between Obama and Putin since Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014, and they agree to further peace talks between Poroshenko and a Putin emissary. The agreement is not without demands from the Russian leader; Putin tells reporters at Normandy:
The Ukrainian leadership must show its goodwill and wisdom. They have to immediately stop the operation and announce a cease-fire. There is no other way to create the conditions for negotiations.
Putin is supports Ukraine’s cease-fire declaration and is now asking for both sides to reach a compromise. Putin says the compromise must guarantee the rights of the Russian-speaking residents of eastern Ukraine. They must feel they are an “integral part” of their own country. The comments were made today following a ceremony commemorating the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union on this day in 1941.
A vote by the upper parliament prevents Putin from using troops in Ukraine to deal with the crisis. Putin had requested the order be revoked on June 24. Only one lawmaker votes against revoking his power to use force, 153 vote in favor.
In a Fourth of July message to President Obama, Putin says he hopes for better ties with the US. According to the Kremlin’s website, Putin:
expressed a hope for the successful development of the relationship between both countries, based on equal rights and utilitarianism, despite all the difficulties and disagreements they are facing at the moment
The response from The White House from National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden:
We’ve seen the message but have no particular comment.
With almost two-thirds of the people killed in the crash of flight MH17 being Dutch, the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, urges President Vladimir Putin to use his power to influence the rebels to allow full access to the crash site. In a press briefing he says:
I want to see results in the form of unimpeded access and rapid recovery. This is now priority number one.
Cameron asks Putin to intervene so that victims of the crash can be removed from the scene and returned to their countries.
Branson tells CNN that he and the leaders of 15 major companies including Unilever, PayPal, and eBay, want a diplomatic solution and to avoid a new Cold War scenario:
I just think it’s extremely sad to see in my lifetime the Berlin Wall coming down, and then a number of years later, all that hope seemingly disappearing. And I have a lot of Russian friends, a lot of Ukrainian friends, a lot of business leaders from both countries. And I’ve spoken with them, and they’re equally sad. And we felt it was important to speak out to beg our politicians to — through diplomacy to resolve this particular issue. And then, as quickly as possible, to try to get back to the normality that existed between Russia and Europe and the rest of the world after the Berlin Wall came down.
On whether the entrepreneurs will seek a meeting with Putin:
The first important thing that’s happening is that the president of Ukraine is meeting with President Putin next week, and let’s hope that something positive comes out of that. If that fails, then the group of people that we’ve put together, the group of Russian business leaders would be delighted to meet up with President Putin and see whether a compromise can be reached. The group of Ukrainian business leaders that we have onboard would be delighted to sit with the Ukrainian president. And I think we could use our negotiating skills, our entrepreneurial skills to reach a compromise.
On whether Putin is open to diplomacy:
I don’t know. I think that we would be irresponsible if we didn’t give it a try. And I think that he feels that when he got reelected, the West didn’t welcome him into office, that he was somewhat ostracized by the West. And therefore, he’s going it alone somewhat. And I think that whatever caused him to feel that, it’s up to the West, I think, to make it clear that we want Russia to be — ultimately, that we want Russia to be part of Europe, we want to be able to trust each other completely. And that’s what we’ve all got to try to work towards and try to put the last year firmly behind us and try to find a positive way forward.
Branson tells CNN Money that he has written an open letter to Putin and wants to meet with the president personally:
We all speak with one voice, and I must have spoken over 100 Russian businessmen, over 100 Ukrainian businessmen, and western businessmen, and every one of us are incredibly sad that the e dreams of what had happened when the Berlin Wall came down of the Russian people being able to trade merrily and go on the holiday with western peoples, with working together to sort out the bigger problems of the world, seems to be diminishing rapidly.
Intervention should be limited to sanctions:
President Putin, I think he needs to realize that Russian business people, and the people who have signed this document, you know, the biggest car manufacturer in Russia, the biggest dairy producers in Russia, the biggest supermarket chain, they are all self- made people who are very saddened and worried a about the way things are going. But the last thing that is needed is military intervention. And, you know, that should be a thing of the past. Further military intervention will result in decades, I think, of Russia being ostracized. It means that Europe won’t buy its fuel from Russia. The people of Russia will suffer, and that is not the answer.
Putin needs to regain the trust of the business community:
We need to get President Putin to feel not that Ukraine should be a part of Europe or Ukraine should be part of Russia, but that we should all be part of one world. I would be delighted to sit down with him and delighted to meet him and be delighted to see whether, you know, issues can be bridged, because they have to be bridged one day. And you know, today is better than waiting for tomorrow.
Putin tells NATO and US not to mess with Russia. He also says that Moscow doesn’t want or intend to wade into any “large-scale conflicts”.
I want to remind you that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations. This is a reality, not just words. We must always be ready to repel any aggression against Russia and (potential enemies) should be aware … it is better not to come against Russia as regards a possible armed conflict.
Barroso questions Putin on the apparent presence of as many as 1,600 Russian troops in Ukraine at a closed-door discussion at an EU summit in Brussels, and the Russian leader responds that he could take the country’s capital in a fortnight. Details of the talk leaked by the Italian La Repubblica newspaper show that he responds:
The problem is not this, but that if I want I’ll take Kiev in two weeks
A Kremlin foreign policy advisor says the remarks are out of context, however the Kremlin does not deny that Putin has spoken of taking Kiev.
Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite says that Russia is now effectively at war with Europe:
It is the fact that Russia is in a war state against Ukraine. That means it is in a state of war against a country which would like to be closely integrated with the EU. Practically Russia is in a state of war against Europe. That means we need to help Ukraine to … defend its territory and its people and to help militarily, especially with the military materials to help Ukraine to defend itself because today Ukraine is fighting a war on behalf of all Europe.
Cameron says at a closed-door EU summit in Brussels that the international community cannot afford to appease Putin, comparing Russia’s actions to Hitler in 1938. The Italian La Repubblica newspaper obtains details of the discussion:
We run the risk of repeating the mistakes made in Munich in ’38. We cannot know what will happen next. This time we cannot meet Putin’s demands. He has already taken Crimea and we cannot allow him to take the whole country.
Downing Street declines to confirm the remarks, but does not contest the accuracy of the report.
Salmond discusses the referendum with Alastair Campbell for GQ. Asked if he considers himself a historic figure:
I prefer modern studies to history.
He says the Yes campaign is trying to dismiss ‘unreasonable’ fears about the outcome of independence, and that keeping the pound is the most likely scenario for an independent Scotland, drinking culture in Scotland, and whether Spain and other opponents of independence can keep the country out of the EU. His general view on Putin:
Well, I don’t approve of a range of Russian actions, but he is more effective than most and you can see why he carries support in Russia.
On whether he ‘admires’ Putin:
Certain aspects. He’s restored a substantial part of Russian pride and that must be a good thing. There are aspects of Russian constitutionality and the inter-mesh with business and politics that are difficult to admire.
He also discusses whether the Iraq War was illegal and former Prime Minister Blair a war criminal, Kosovo, Syria and Afghanistan. The leader he admires most is German Chancellor Merkel, and he admires Obama’s campaigns but says he should be effective despite running a minority government.
Ukraine, Russia and the Kremlin-backed separatists sign a ceasefire deal. Gunfire and shelling appear to fall silent across the east of the country as the agreement takes effect. Poroshenko says he ordered his forces to halt hostilities at 6 p.m. local time (11 a.m. EDT) after the deal was signed in Minsk, Belarus capital, by the three sides and a representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Separatist leaders also say they ordered their forces to hold fire. Poroshenko says the cease-fire is based on an agreement reached during a ‘long conversation’ with Putin and will be overseen by international monitors from the OSCE. The European Union is preparing additional sanctions in case it fails. The negotiators also agree on withdrawal of all heavy weaponry, the release of all prisoners and the delivery of humanitarian aid to devastated cities in eastern Ukraine.
Russia’s presidential library says the country has begun producing its own alternative to Wikipedia, to provide more ‘detailed and reliable’ information about the country for Russian citizens. The library says it has analyzed Wikipedia:
Analysis of this resource showed that it is not capable of providing information about the region and life of the country in a detailed or sufficient way. The creation of an alternative Wikipedia has begun.
It isn’t known if access to Wikipedia in Russia will be affected.
Putin calls for his government to cap rising vodka prices amid fears that sharp price inflation will drive people to drink illegal liquor. According to a leading university study last year, 25% of Russian men die before reaching their mid-50s, and alcohol was found to be a contributing factor in some of these early deaths. Since last year, the government-regulated minimum price of half a litre (17 oz) of vodka has increased by around 30% to 220 roubles ($4.10; £2.64). Annual inflation in Russia is currently at 9.4%.
Russian inflation reaches more than 10% for the first time in more than five years due to sanctions and the rouble collapse, which is the biggest since 1998. Сonsumer prices increased 10.4 percent this year through Dec. 22, the Federal Statistics Service in Moscow said. Prices grew 0.9 percent in the week through that date, the most since April 2008, when the service started to provide weekly data. ING Groep economist:
Companies are saying ‘everybody is raising prices and so will I, especially when people start panic-buying not only electronics and cars but also everyday goods’
A Bank of Russia base case forecast predicts inflation to reach 11.5% next quarter, before then decelerating.
Putin praises Blatter in an interview by the Swiss broadcaster RTS:
We all know the situation developing around Mr Blatter right now. I don’t want to go into details but I don’t believe a word about him being involved in corruptiton personally. I think people like Mr Blatter or the heads of big international sporting federations, or the Olympic Games, deserve special recognition. If there is anyone who deserves the Nobel prize, it’s those people.
Sisi will meet with Putin next Wednesday in Moscow to promote closer strategic and economic ties with Russia. Issues concerning the Middle East will be also be discussed.
In an interview with the BBC while in Ukraine, John says he wants to meet Putin to discuss gay rights. Discussing how Putin has said that gays target children:
Give me a break. You are President of Russia, and you go and say stupid things like that?..I would like to meet [Putin]…It’s probably pie in the sky… He may laugh behind my back when he shuts the door, and call me an absolute idiot, but at least I can think I have the conscience to say I tried.
John says that Putin called him to discuss gay rights in Russia.
Thank-you to President Vladimir Putin for reaching out and speaking via telephone with me today. I look to forward to meeting with you face-to-face to discuss LGBT equality in Russia.
A spokesman for Putin says that the Russian President did not speak to John.
I don’t know who spoke to Elton John but President Putin did not speak to him. I don’t know [what happened] but President Putin did not speak to Elton John and most importantly we didn’t receive any proposals to meet. If the president does get such a signal from Elton John, the president has always been open to discuss any… human rights problems, any issues. He is always ready to clarify the real situation.
Two Russian comedians, “Vovan” and “Lexus,” admit that they prank called John. In the phone call the pranksters get John to talk about gay rights:
I think the violence toward LGBT people–they don’t feel safe–but this something I don’t really want to talk about over the phone.
They also arrange a November meeting date with the Russian president and agreed to attend a gay pride parade in Moscow. Kremlin spokesperson:
The president has always been open to discuss human rights issues…I would recommend to apologise (to) Elton John, he is a respected and favoured singer here. It was not good to trick him like that.
Pranks are funny. Homophobia, however is never funny. I love Russia and my offer to talk to President Putin about LGBT rights still stands. I will always stand up for those that are being degraded and discriminated against. If this unfortunate incident has helped push this vital issue back into the spotlight, then I am happy to be pranked on this occasion.
Putin phones John for real and the two agree a face-to-face meeting if their schedules allow it. A Kremlin spokesperson says it took some convincing from the Russian side for John to believe it was really Putin who wanted to talk to him.
He (Elton John) was in doubt for a period of time.
Putin tells John he was aware of the prank on Elton John and asked him “not to hold grudges” against the pranksters. Spokesperson:
If their schedules match accordingly, he’s ready to meet and discuss any issue which interests [the musician].
Obama meets Putin for the first time in more than two years. On the biggest issue that divides them in Syria, the U.S. still insists Syria’s future cannot include Assad, while Putin appears to only want to bolster the standing of his longtime ally, casting him as the best defense against Islamic States militants. Putin:
Strange is it may seem, there were many common points. There were also disagreements which we agreed to work together. I hope this work will be constructive.
President Putin has orders an investigation into claims by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), that the country’s athletes were using performance enhancing drugs during the 2012 London Olympics. WADA wants to ban Russian athletes from competing. Athletes who are found to be doping would have their Olympic Medals taken away from them and be banned from participating in future Olympic events. Putin said athletes should be punished individually, rather than collectively.
Sportsmen who don’t dope – and never have – must not answer for those who break the rules. If we find that someone must be held responsible for something of the sort that breaks the rules in place against doping, then the responsibility must be personalised – that’s the rule…The battle must be open. A sporting contest is only interesting when it is honest. It is essential that we conduct our own internal investigation and – I want to underline – provide the most open professional co-operation with international anti-doping structures
At a Kremlin meeting, President Putin offers a $50 million reward for information leading to those responsible for the downing of the jet.
We will find them anywhere on the planet and punish them.
Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s FSB security service, says traces of foreign-made explosive had been found on fragments of the downed plane and on passengers’ personal belongings, and that the bomb probably contained around 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of TNT:
You can definitely say that this is a terrorist act.
A Russian Su-24 jet crashes near the Turkey-Syrian border, after being hit by a Turkish missile. Turkey says its jets shot at the plane after giving 10 warnings that it was violating Turkish airspace. Moscow says the jet never strayed from Syrian airspace. One of the two pilots is killed in the air by fire from the ground. The second pilot’s situation is not known. Two Russian Mi-8 helicopters perform a search-and-rescue operation, but one of them is damaged by small arms fire and makes an emergency landing. A Russian marine is killed during an operation. Turkish President Erdogan:
[The Russian plane was dealt with because it] did not answer our warning.
Russian President Putin says there will be “serious consequences” for Moscow’s relations with Turkey.
[This] represents a stab in the back by the terrorists’ accomplices. I can’t describe what has happened today in any other way. Our plane was downed over Syrian territory by an air-to-air missile from a Turkish F-16 jet. The plane fell on Syrian territory 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) away from the Turkish border. It was flying 1 kilometer away from the Turkish border when it was attacked. In any case, neither our pilots nor our jet posed any threat to Turkey. That is obvious. They were carrying out an operation fighting against ISIL in Northern Latakia.
During an annual news conference with reporters, Putin comments on Trump’s standing in the race.
He is a bright and talented person without any doubt. [He] is an outstanding and talented personality. [He is] the absolute leader of the presidential race.
It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond. I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect.
President Hollande accuses Russia of war crimes in Syria, and says he wants to sue the country in International Criminal Court for their role in alleged war crimes over the Syrian city of Aleppo. Hollande also says he may not receive the Russian president who is scheduled to visit Paris, late this month, for a church opening ceremony.
I have asked myself that question: Is it useful? Is it necessary? Could we do something that pushes him as well and stop what they’re doing with the Syrian regime — that is to say the help they are providing to the Syrian regime, which sends bombs to the population of Aleppo? If I receive him, I would tell him that it is unacceptable, that it is bad even for the image of Russia. What I tell them, is that these populations are populations that are today victims of war crimes and those who commit those acts will have to pay for their responsibility in front of the International Criminal Court.
After Hollande cancels a meeting with Putin, the Russian president cancels his visit to Paris, where he was to inaugurate a new Russian Orthodox cathedral and visit a Russian art exhibition on Oct. 19. Hollande:
I made it known to Mr Putin that if he came to Paris, I would not accompany him to any ceremonies, but that I was ready to continue the dialogue on Syria. He decided to postpone the visit…With Russia, France has a major disagreement on Syria and the Russian veto of the French resolution at the U.N. Security Council has prevented the cessation of bombings and enablement of a truce. I’m ready to meet President Putin if we can advance peace, end the bombings and announce a truce.
After attending the World Cup, Putin and McGregor meet.
Today I was invited to the World Cup final as a guest of Russian President Vladimir Putin. This man is one of the greatest leaders of our time and I was honored to attend such a landmark event alongside him. Today was an honor for me Mr. Putin. Thank you and congratulations on an amazing World Cup. Россия вперёд!