President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Russia was not to blame for the crisis over Ukraine's Crimea region. At a meeting with paralympic delegations in the Black Sea city of Sochi, Putin thanked officials for keeping politics out of the Winter Paralympics being hosted by Russia. And I would like to stress that Russia was not the initiator of the circumstances that have taken shape," he said. Crimea has been taken over by Russian forces and holds a referendum on Sunday on joining Russia.
By Noah Barkin and Andreas Rinke BERLIN (Reuters) - China's top envoy to Germany has warned the West against punishing Russia with sanctions for its intervention in Ukraine, saying such measures could lead to a dangerous chain reaction that would be difficult to control. In an interview with Reuters days before the European Union is threatening to impose its first sanctions on Russia since the Cold War, ambassador Shi Mingde issued the strongest warning against such measures by any top Chinese official to date. "We don't see any point in sanctions," Shi said.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Gaza militants resumed their rocket fire toward Israel on Thursday, striking the outskirts of two major cities a day after launching the largest barrage since an eight-day Israeli offensive in late 2012.