“I can tell you outright and unequivocally that there are no Russian troops in Ukraine,” Russian President Vladimir Putin declared on a live television show April 16.

That claim was patently false. To put it bluntly: Mr. Putin was lying through his teeth.

The conflict in Ukraine’s east is a Kremlin-manufactured war, begun by Russian officials, fought by Russian soldiers, fueled by Russian equipment, and supported by artillery strikes from Russian territory. The evidence is literally hiding in plain sight.

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Saudi King Salman’s recent shakeup of key leadership positions in his kingdom will not affect oil production in the short term, though it may offer some clues about how Saudi Arabia will confront urgent issues such as rising youth unemployment and instability in the Gulf.

That’s the consensus of three scholars who spoke May 29 at a discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

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In Swahili, a language spoken throughout East and Central Africa, “kitu kidogo” means “a little something.” In Kenya, the phrase is shorthand for the small bribes necessary to navigate virtually any encounter with Kenyan officialdom. In Nairobi, the country’s capital, it is wise to factor in extra time, and a lot of extra patience, for resisting bribe requests for anything from getting an identification document to having one’s water turned back on.

Were Kenyan graft contained to balky bureaucrats, the problem would be only an irritation. But as illustrated in April by the attack by the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab on Garissa University College, which killed 147 people, it is far worse than that. Corruption in Kenya costs lives. It corrodes the security services’ capabilities and alienates Kenyans whose cooperation is critical to countering domestic extremism. If Kenya is to avoid another Garissa massacre, it must fight the corruption that leaves it vulnerable to a ruthless terror organization.

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Reports by Atlantic Council and Boris Nemtsov’s allies reveal extent of Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin is violating a February 2015 ceasefire agreement by continuing to send troops and weapons into Ukraine in a blatant attempt to destabilize the country, according to an Atlantic Council report issued May 28.

The report, Hiding in Plain Sight: Putin's War in Ukraine, draws on open source material and uses social media posts to track the movement of Russian soldiers and equipment across the border into Ukraine.

“There would be no conflict in Ukraine today but for Putin’s strategy to provoke one,” said Damon Wilson, the Atlantic Council’s Executive Vice President of Programs and Strategy, and one of the report’s five co-authors. “We don’t have a Ukraine problem, we have a Putin problem.”

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Sgt. Leonid Kichatkin of the Russian 76th Airborne Division and Russian soldier Anton Tumanov died in August 2014 while fighting in eastern Ukraine. Their deaths amply demonstrate that Russian President Vladimir Putin's claim that there are no Russian troops in Ukraine is false.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 10 once again justified the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact as a statesmanlike act of defending Russia's national interests. This time Putin did so with German Chancellor Angela Merkel next to him. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact—the 1939 deal that split Eastern Europe between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany—was a death warrant for millions of Poles, Jews, and other East Europeans and paved the way for World War II. From his repeated justifications of the pact, one can derive six important insights into the mentality and objectives of Putin and Russia's elite.

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European Ambassadors see “erosion” of sanctions regime if US Congress is viewed as cause of deal’s failure

Failure to secure a deal that limits Iran’s nuclear program in return for phased sanctions relief could unravel a crippling sanctions regime on the Islamic Republic if that outcome is perceived to be the West’s fault, two European diplomats said May 26.

“If we were to walk away, or if the [US] Congress were to make it impossible for the agreement to be implemented, then the international community would be pretty reluctant, frankly, to contemplate a ratcheting up further of the sanctions against Iran,” Sir Peter Westmacott, the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to the United States, said at the Atlantic Council.

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The European Union's Summit on the Eastern Partnership, held May 21-22 in Riga, was a disaster for Ukraine. For friends of democracy, the rule of law, and Ukraine, it would have been better had this EU summit never taken place and its joint declaration never written.

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For most of the 20th century, Ukraine was the victim of two equally malevolent empires—Germany and Russia. Germany's contribution to Ukraine's devastation was the two World Wars; Russia's was the imposition of Soviet rule and the concomitant destruction of Ukraine's peasantry and elites. Unsurprisingly, one of the most constant images in 20th-century Ukrainian commentary is that of their country being caught between a hammer and an anvil.

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In Russia this April, a Baptist pastor was jailed for professing his faith. Pavel Pilipchuk's five-day detention was brief, but excessive. It followed his refusal to pay a heavy fine for organizing street evangelism in the city of Oryol, around 200 miles south of Moscow. By not informing city officials of his plans, a local court ruled the pastor had violated Russia's law regulating public demonstrations. Pilipchuk's plea that "Christian hymns and conversation are not demonstrations" fell on deaf ears. So did his appeal to Russia's constitutional guarantees of religious freedom.

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