When Russians look at Iran, they see a country that has been their neighbor and rival forever. As the Russian empire advanced, it wrestled the North and South Caucasus from the Shah. Peter the Great annexed, briefly, Iran’s entire Caspian Sea coastline and put his forces just north of Tehran.
A suicide bomb killed at least nine people today in the Syrian capital, Damascus, state media reported, as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the continuing violence “totally unacceptable.”
Ukraine is finishing preparations for a presidential election even as government forces continued to clash with rebels and Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that “radicals” in the country may disrupt gas transit.
As Europe takes the lead in trying to end the bloodshed in the Ukrainian capital, Vladimir Putin is running out of options to shape events in a country that he sees as firmly within Russia’s sphere of influence.