Journalists waiting for a meeting of the four-way summit on eastern Ukraine in Minsk, Belarus, on Tuesday. Photograph: Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko

Western powers have vowed swiftly to toughen their stance against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine if they judge that today’s peace talks are a fa(...)

 Vladimir Putin:  has utterly failed to diversify Russia’s economy during 15 years in power. Photograph: REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

Russia’s year began with a spectacular display of sporting prowess, organisational ability and, above all, financial muscle. The Winter Olympics in So(...)

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has  reportedly said if Edward Snowden wanted to remain in Russia, he must “stop his work aimed at harming our American partners”. Photograph: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

US whistleblower Edward Snowden is reported to have applied for political asylum in Russia. Reuters said a “Russian immigration source” had provided t(...)