Receive Breaking News updates as they occur
By Richard Balmforth KIEV (Reuters) - A $15 billion Russian aid package for Ukraine began to take shape on Thursday as Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich went public in defense of the deal, but offered no concessions to persuade thousands of protesters to leave the streets. In his first public appearance since agreeing the deal with Moscow, he argued that securing cheaper gas and credits from Russia had been the only way to avoid default. ...
President Vladimir Putin announced Thursday that he would pardon ex-oil tycoon and bitter Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a move that should see Russia's most famous prisoner freed after more than a decade behind bars. The shock announcement could finally draw the curtain on the most notorious legal case in post-Soviet Russian history and came as Russia comes under even greater international scrutiny in the run-up to the Winter Olympic Games in February. Khodorkovsky's decade-long imprisonment on embezzlement and fraud convictions in jails including a penal colony in Siberia has dented Russia's investment climate and become a symbol of the erosion of human rights under Putin. Putin revealed after his marathon annual news conference that Khodorkovsky, 50, had for the first time written a request for a pardon, citing humanitarian circumstances as his mother is ill.
MUMBAI, India (AP) — Christie's held its first art auction in India on Thursday, aiming to tap into a budding market for prestige purchasing among the country's fast-growing ranks of millionaires despite an economic slowdown.