SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine - There has been no fighting in Crimea as a supposed Russian ultimatum for two Ukrainian warships to surrender passed without action from either side.
Two Ukrainian warships remained anchored in the Crimean port of Sevastopol early Tuesday, a day after Ukrainian authorities claimed that Russian forces had issued an ultimatum for the ships to surrender or be seized. Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Vladimir Anikin said late Monday that no ultimatum had been issued.
MOSCOW - The Interfax news agency says Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered troops participating in military exercises in western Russia near the Ukraine border to return to their permanent bases.
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax early Tuesday that Putin had ordered the troops to return to their usual stations. Putin issued the order almost a week after Russia began massive exercises involving most military units in western Russia, stoking fears that the Kremlin might use the troops to seize territory in pro-Russian areas of eastern Ukraine.
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Herbie Hancock reckons he's performed more often in Japan than in his hometown of Chicago during his professional career. The pianist will be back next month for an all-star concert at Osaka Castle Park highlighting the third annual International Jazz Day.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has chosen Osaka as the host city for International Jazz Day 2014, which will be celebrated around the world on April 30.
WASHINGTON - Winter weather shut down much of Washington on Monday, although the snowfall wasn't as bad as predicted.
Snow covered a thin layer of ice in the capital city early Monday, and officials warned people to stay off treacherous roads. Schools were cancelled, bus service was halted in places and federal government workers in the DC area were told to stay home Monday.
WASHINGTON - The U.S and major allies strained on Monday to rally a strong Western front to persuade Russia to step back from a military takeover of Ukraine's strategic Crimea region. But several acknowledged there are few options beyond already-threatened economic and diplomatic penalties, and critics said Obama administration efforts were too little, too late after years of pressing for friendlier relations with Moscow.
Ukraine's fugitive president requested Russian soldiers in the strategic Crimea region "to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order," Russia's U.N. ambassador said Monday, contradicting the president's own comments last week, while Ukraine's ambassador said 16,000 troops are now deployed there.
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Defence Department says it is suspending exercises and other activities with the Russian military over Moscow's military involvement in Ukraine.
A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, said Monday evening that the U.S. military has "put on hold" all military-to-military engagements, including bilateral meetings, port visits and planning conferences.
Kirby says the Pentagon values the relationship it has developed with the Russian military in the last few years.
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to make the "tough decisions" needed to move forward on talks with the Palestinians, as he sought to salvage an elusive Middle East peace plan.
But facing a U.S.-imposed April deadline, the Israeli leader declared that, "Israel has been doing its part and, I regret to say, the Palestinians have not."
GILMAN, Minn. - A farmer in Minnesota has created a towering tribute to winter's excess.
Greg Novak says he's invested hundreds of hours to build a 50-foot (15-meter) snowman named "Granddaddy" that he hopes will wake onlookers from their winter doldrums. And he admits it has some neighbours questioning his sanity.
Granddaddy began to take shape earlier this winter when the Gilman farmer needed to move mounting snow piles away from his greenhouses.
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Stocks are falling and bond prices are rising as tensions build over Russia's military presence in the Ukraine.
The price of crude oil rose as traders feared that Russian oil exports might be disrupted if Western governments impose sanctions on Moscow.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 153 points, or 0.9 per cent, to close at 16,168 Monday.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 14 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 1,845. The S&P 500 closed at a record high on Friday.
The Nasdaq composite fell 30 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 4,277.