(Carol J. Williams – LA Times)
A defiant Russian President Vladimir Putin joined Asian and European leaders in Italy on Thursday for talks intended to focus on trade but, like many diplomatic gatherings of the past six months, was being dominated by the deadly crisis in Ukraine. [...]
Putin has vehemently fought against Ukraine’s pursuit of membership in the European Union and NATO. While both Kiev and Brussels officials have conceded that joining the Western military bloc isn’t a desired development for the near-term future, Kiev has entered into a trade agreement with the 28-nation EU over which Putin has threatened to impose punitive trade barriers on its Western-drifting neighbor. Read more here.