In late March, United Nations relief workers in Syria received a long-sought green light to deliver aid to tens of thousands of desperate residents of Douma, one of several villages outside Damascus that have been besieged by the government of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad for nearly two years, according to a pair of unpublished U.N. reports obtained by Foreign Policy.
A Ukrainian military push into the country's restive east after the brutal murder of a local politician would complicate efforts to reduce tensions between Kiev and Moscow and prevent further violence in the country, the head of the international organization charged with helping resolve the crisis said in an interview.
For several weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his top diplomats have provided the world with repeated assurances that they have no intention of sending Russian troops into eastern Ukraine. On Monday, April 21, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov brushed aside those pledges, providing the strongest signal yet that Moscow may be laying the political groundwork for a military incursion into its jittery neighbor.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has gotten rid of 80 percent of his chemical weapons, and is increasingly likely to hit a key deadline for the elimination of his entire arsenal by the end of the month. That good news is being partially overshadowed, however, by growing signs that Assad is still waging chemical attacks on communities in rebel-held areas of the country.
After days of intensifying violence in eastern Ukraine, the United States, the European Union, Russia and Ukraine reached a tentative agreement designed to lower tensions in the eastern European country.