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USA president Obama met with EU leaders in Berlin, Germany - photo AP
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Outgoing USA president Barack Obama met with EU leaders to affirm their commitments to NATO and to continue sanctions against Russia. This was the first USA-EU summit since Donald Trump won the USA presidential election.

Convening in Berlin, Germany, Obama met with Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel, Britain's prime minister Theresa May, France's president Francois Hollande, Italy's prime minister Matteo Renzi and Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy.

The leaders concluded that sanctions against Russia must continue until Russia resolves its conflict with Ukraine. Obama and the EU claim that Russia has sent military and weapons to eastern Ukraine to aid separatists there.

The leaders also said that Syria and Russia must halt their attacks on Aleppo. "We agreed the need to keep up the pressure on Russia, including the possibility of sanctions on those who breach international humanitarian law," Britain's prime minister Teresa May said.

In regard to NATO, an official statement released by the White House after the summit said the leaders "affirmed the importance of continued co-operation through multilateral institutions, including Nato" and that they "agreed on the necessity of working collectively to move the transatlantic agenda forward, particularly on bringing stabilization to the Middle East and North Africa".

Despite the summit topics, Donald Trump has vowed to improve USA's relationship with Russia, and has criticized NATO as being outdated and unfair.


Vocabulary
summit - an organized, regular meeting of international leaders
outgoing - leaving soon
affirm - to say something again as being factual
sanctions - penalty / punishment against a country by other countries
convene - to meet (officially)
separatists - people who fight to leave a country and start their own country or join another
halt - to immediately stop
outdated - old and not useful anymore


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Russian special forces raid an apartment complex in St. Petersburg killing four militants - photo AFP
Russian special forces raided an apartment complex in St. Petersburg today and killed four militants believed to be linked to Islamic terror groups of the North Caucacus region. 

The militants exchanged gun fire with police and wounded on officer before being killed.

Russian police raided the 16-story apartment in daylight and did not evacuate any people beforehand.

Three of the men were wanted by Russian police because of their connections to past terror attacks and were known to be leaders of the terrorist underground in the Kabardino-Balkharia region of the North Caucasus.

An armed rebellion in the Nort
h Caucacus region follows two past conflicts between Russia and Chechnya-separatists.

Another incident in Russia occurred in Moscow where two men attacked traffic police with guns and axes. The men, who were reported to be from Central Asia, injured two police officers before being shot and killed by police. 


Vocabulary
to raid - to suddenly go to a place and confront someone to arrest them or take something from them
apartment complex - an area of many of the same style of apartments; a neighborhood of apartments
militant - a person involved in military action that has opinions that are extreme (against government, violent, religious, etc.)
evacuate - to suddenly send people away because of an emergency
underground - a system that works in secret (because it is illegal and wants to hide from police / government)
armed - with guns and other weapons
rebellion - a struggle against rulers / authority 
separatists - a group of people who want to leave a country and form their own different country


 
 
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Russia's President Vladimir Putin has accused Ukraine of plotting attacks - photo by Mikhail Svetlov / Getty Images
Russian president Vladimir Putin has accused Ukraine of resorting to violence rather than peace talks following a Wednesday report by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB). The report says that an attack on Crimea planned by Ukraine has been thwarted by Russian military in an armed clash and that two Russian soldiers were killed while 'arresting terrorists'.

"I think it is obvious to everyone now that the current Kiev authorities are not seeking a way to solve the problems through talks but have chosen terror," Putin said in a press conference today. "We obviously will not let such things slide by.'

Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko has denied Russia's claims and said, "These fantasies are only a pretext for making more military threats against Ukraine."

Ukraine and Russia were set to meet in China in the Normandy format, a group of representatives from Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany whose goal is to resolve the Crimea-dispute between Russia and Ukraine sparked after Russia annexed the region in 2014. 

Putin said during the news conference that now there is 'no point' to the meeting. 


Vocabulary
to accuse - to say someone did something (without showing proof)
to resort to _ - to use something / do something only because you say you have no other choice
to thwart - to stop a plan of attack before it happens

to slide by - to go unpunished or without consequences

to annex - to make a region apart of another country
no point to __ - no reason to do something