April 14th, 2014
10:59 AM ET

New Flashpoint in Ukraine

Pro-Russian protesters forced police out of a building in an eastern Ukrainian city on Monday, even as a government deadline for demonstrators to leave occupied facilities passed with no immediate consequences in two other cities.

Video from a demonstration in the eastern Ukrainian city of Horlivka showed protesters confronting police and walking through the building, which had small fires burning and broken windows. A severely beaten man in a police uniform was taken to an ambulance as onlookers shouted at him.

The seizure is a new complication for the government in Kiev. Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov had given pro-Russian protesters in other eastern Ukrainian cities until 2 a.m. ET to disarm or face a "full-scale anti-terrorist operation" by Ukraine's armed forces.

But the deadline passed with no sign that it was heeded in the eastern cities of Donetsk and Slaviansk. There was no movement at the regional government building in Donetsk, which has been occupied for more than a week.

Steven Pifer, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, weighed in on this deadline with Kate Bolduan on "New Day."

Pifer acknowledged the Ukrainian government faces difficult choices ahead as Russia continues its aggression.

"I think what you're seeing are isolated cases – now in about 8 or 10 towns in eastern Ukraine where there have been armed takeovers of buildings that very much look to be inspired, instigated by Russian special services. And this is going to put the Ukrainian government really at a dilemma. On the one hand, do they act and try to retake some of these building?...Or do they sit back and do nothing and watch these sort of seizures continue?

In Slaviansk, pro-Russian protesters milled around with makeshift shields outside the occupied police station.

Similar deadlines in the past came and went with no consequence.

Horlivka, with a population of about 300,000, became at least the 10th city or town in Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine - mainly in the Donetsk region - where activists took over security or government buildings in recent days.

See updates on this story as it develops HERE.

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October 25th, 2013
11:08 AM ET

Europe Falls Out Of Love With Obama Over NSA Spying Claims

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, who spoke with President Obama on Wednesday after reports that her personal cellphone was tapped,  joined her french counterpart to call for talks with the U.S. to renegotiate their countries' intelligence sharing protocols, CNN's Jim Acosta reports.

On July 24, 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama addressed tens of thousands of Germans on the avenue that leads from the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. In a pointed reference to the outgoing administration of President George W. Bush, he promised a new era of "allies who will listen to each other, who will learn from each other, who will, above all, trust each other."

One German present among the hugely enthusiastic crowd said the occasion reminded him of Berlin's famous "Love Parade." No U.S. politician since John F. Kennedy had so captured Europeans' imagination.

Five years on, in the words of the song, it's a case of "After the Love Has Gone." The U.S. ambassador in Berlin has been summoned to the foreign ministry over reports in Der Spiegel that the U.S. National Security Administration (NSA) monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel's official cellphone. His counterpart in Paris received a similar summons earlier this week after revelations in Le Monde.

"The outrage is predictable, even though we know various countries spy on each other pretty regularly. German President Angela Merkel and the French President are calling for closer cooperation among the intelligence gathering services," CNN's Joe Johns reports.

Both Der Spiegel and Le Monde used documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, lamented a "grave breach of trust." One of Chancellor Merkel's closest allies, Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere told broadcaster ARD there would be consequences.

France's President Francois Hollande said Friday morning: "A rule of good conduct is that you don't bug the portable phones of people you meet regularly at international summits."

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