Christiano Ronaldo Is Third Top Scorer In Real Madrid’s History

Cronaldohristiano Ronaldo  has scored a total of  290 goals since he started playing in Real Madrid, making him the third top scorer in Real Madrid’s history. Ronaldo has scored in all of the games he has played in the round of 16 stage of the Champions League since the 2011/12 season.

Cristiano Ronaldo began demonstrating his eye for goal since 29 August 2009 against Deportivo, when he got on the score sheet during a 3-2 win in the Santiago Bernabéu. The ease with which the Portuguese man is able to break records means that, in the space of just six years, his name is already being talked about in the same breath as the club’s all-time best players.

Ronaldo kept up his fantastic performance in the Champions League round of 16. Since the 2011/12 season he has scored in all of the matches in this round. In total, that means he has scored in seven successive round of 16 matches.

The run began in 2012 against CSKA Moscow, where Ronaldo scored a goal in a 1-1 game in Russia, and featured again in the return leg by scoring two of the team’s four goals.

Ronaldo was once again decisive in the game against Schalke 04.

A year later, the Portuguese player made a vital contribution in the win against Manchester United in the round of 16.

Ronaldo scored the Whites’ goal in the home leg and got the second goal in the away leg at Old Trafford that sealed through to the next round.

Last season, the Whites had a clear win over Schalke in the round of 16 where Ronaldo scored twice on the night of the 6-1 win and got another brace during the 3-1 win at the Santiago Bernabéu.

The run has continued this year, with the German team once again the opponents. Cristiano has scored five goals against them in three games.

Christiano Ronaldo continues to write his name in the Real Madrid records as he is now the club’s third top scorer of all time. Ronaldo’s header against Schalkebrings the forward’s tally with the Whites to 290 goals, thus equaling Santillana’s record.

The Portuguese star has reached this milestone after 280 games, while the Cantabrian needed 645 matches to do so. The only players ahead of Ronaldo are Raúl (323) and Di Stéfano (308).

Ukraine Crisis: EU Leaders Set For Putin Talks

ukraineFrench President, Francois Hollande and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel announced a new peace plan for Ukraine on Thursday, flying to Kiev with a proposal they would then take on to Moscow.

The coordinated trip by Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande comes as rebels advanced on a railway hub held by Ukrainian troops after launching an offensive that scuppered a five-month-old ceasefire.

It comes as civilians in the key town of Debaltseve are being forced to hide underground as Ukrainian forces tried to hold out against rebel attacks.

Moscow is accused of arming pro-Russian separatists – a claim it denies.

Russia also rejects claims by Ukraine and the West that its regular troops are fighting alongside the rebels in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Clashes had left nearly 5,400 people dead since April.

Ukraine is also set to dominate an annual multilateral security conference in Munich and meetings between US Vice-President, Joe Biden and top EU officials in Brussels.

The importance of reaching a deal was demonstrated by a dramatic collapse in Ukraine’s hryvnia currency, which lost nearly a third of its value after the central bank halted daily auctions at which it sold hard currency to banks.

Moscow said it hoped talks with Merkel and Hollande would be “constructive”.

German government sources said the key problem for resuming peace talks was that the current front line no longer tallies with what was agreed at talks in Minsk, Belarus in 2014.

For talks to begin anew, Kiev would have to accept that the separatists now control several hundred square kilometers more than agreed in Minsk without Kiev having to give up its claim to these areas as part of the Ukrainian state.

In the end, the goal of the peace process should be the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Ukrainian Prime Minister, Arseny Yatseniuk, said that Kiev would not consider any peace plan that casts doubt on the nation’s territorial integrity, sovereignty or independence.

The Franco-German plan looks like an eleventh-hour bid to halt the escalation of the conflict ahead of diplomatic deadlines likely to make east-west confrontation even worse.

Peace talks collapsed on Saturday in Belarus and EU leaders are expected to consider new sanctions against Moscow next week.

Holland and Merkel met President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev on Thursday and were expected to go to Moscow to see Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Friday.
Poroshenko said the talks “gave hope that there will be a result in a ceasefire”.

Ukraine Rebels Hold Fresh Peace Talks As Fighting Rages In East

UkraineA new round of peace talks got under way involving Ukraine and separatists on Saturday, even as fighting between Kiev government forces and the Russian-backed rebels raged in Ukraine’s east, claiming civilian and military lives.

The main members of the so-called ‘contact group’ — Ukrainian former president Leonid Kuchma, a Russian diplomat and an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe official – met at a state residence in the Belarussian capital Minsk, where they were joined by two separatist officials.

The sides have held only one inconclusive meeting since agreeing a ceasefire last September as part of a 12-point blueprint for peace. Much-violated from the start, that truce collapsed completely with a new rebel advance last week.

Both sides have accused each other of deadly artillery and mortar strikes on civilian targets in the past two weeks, including on a cultural center in the main regional city of Donetsk on Friday which killed at least five people waiting for humanitarian hand-outs.

The September Minsk peace plan also called for tighter control of the joint Russia-Ukraine border, through which Kiev says Moscow is funneling fighters and equipment, and the freeing of prisoners held by the sides.

Much has changed on the ground, however, since September.

The separatists have set up self-proclaimed ‘people’s republics’ while their forces, which Kiev says are supported by 9,000 Russian regular troops, have seized more than 500 square km (193 square miles) of territory beyond that agreed in the Minsk talks and threaten to seize control of the east’s two main regions entirely.

EU Leaders To Threaten Extra Russia Sanctions, Agree New Team

russiaEuropean Union leaders are likely to threaten Russia with new sanctions over Ukraine on Saturday but, fearful of a new Cold War and self-inflicted harm on their own economies, should give Moscow another chance to make peace.

At a summit in Brussels that may hand one of the Union’s top jobs to Poland’s premier and give hawkish Kremlin critics in ex-communist Eastern Europe new influence in the bloc, EU officials gave Ukraine’s embattled President Petro Poroshenko a warm welcome and assurances of further economic and other support.

But divisions among the 28 EU nations have hampered action against Moscow, and officials expect a decision on Saturday only to ask the bloc’s executive arm to prepare more options for sanctions.

Large Western countries are wary of damaging their own economies. Those include Germany, Britain and France, as well as Italy, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas and expects to secure the post of EU foreign affairs chief.

Poroshenko gave short shrift to Moscow denials by denouncing the past week’s incursion of thousands of troops with hundreds of armored vehicles and said he expected the summit to order the European Commission to prepare a new set of sanctions.

But, like Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, he used their joint news conference to stress a will to find a political solution to a crisis that Russian President Vladimir Putin blames on Kiev’s drive to turn the ex-Soviet state away from Moscow influence, into a Western alliance with the EU and NATO.

With Ukrainian forces battling pro-Russian separatists and, apparently, Russian troops, he said he was not looking for foreign military intervention and that he was expecting progress toward peace as early as Monday – because failure could push the conflict to a point of no return: “Let’s not try to spark the new flame of war in Europe,” Poroshenko said.

Barroso also warned of the risk of a “point of no return” in stressing that EU leaders wanted to defuse the confrontation with their nuclear-armed neighbor.

“It makes no sense to have … a new Cold War,” Barroso said. Further conflict would hurt all of Europe, he said, adding that sanctions were meant only to push Moscow to talk.

He highlighted economic support for Ukraine and also plans for negotiations with Moscow and Kiev aimed at ensuring Russian gas continues to flow through Ukraine to the West this winter.

Russian Armoured Vehicle Attacked By Ukraine

russian soldiersUkraine said its artillery partly destroyed a Russian armoured column that entered its territory overnight, raising alarm that its forces came under shellfire from Russia on Friday in what appeared to be a major military escalation between ex-Soviet states.

The Russian government denied its troops had entered Ukraine, but the media reports may further inflame tensions between Moscow and the West, which have already imposed costly economic restrictions on each other.

NATO said there had been a Russian incursion into Ukraine, while avoiding the term invasion and the European capitals accused the Kremlin of escalating fighting.

“If confirmed, they are further evidence that Russia is doing the very opposite of what it’s saying. Russia has been escalating the conflict, even as it calls for de-escalation,” NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said.

At a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said he was alarmed that Russian forces might have crossed the border.

“If there are any Russian military personnel or vehicles in eastern Ukraine, they need to be withdrawn immediately or the consequences could be very serious,” he told reporters, just as Lithuania’s foreign minister also voiced concern.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper said on Friday that its reporter had seen several Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) crossing the border with Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials said that some armoured vehicles did cross from Russian into Ukraine overnight, and that they were investigating.

“These movements into Ukrainian territory take place practically every day with the aim of provoking (the Ukrainian side),” a Ukrainian military spokesman, Oleksiy Dmytrashkivsky, said.

Despite the allegations of a fresh Russian military incursion, the momentum on the battlefield in eastern Ukraine is with the government forces.

They are winning territory from the separatists almost daily, and in the main rebel strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk are pounding the rebels with artillery strikes. Civilians have also been wounded and killed.

Meanwhile, the rebels  appear to be in a disorderly retreat with three senior separatists removed from their post in the past seven days. One of them was Igor Strelkov, a Moscow native so feted among pro-Russian circles that T-shirts and mugs have been printed in Russia with his image.

Russia To Hold Military Exercises Near Ukraine In Show Of Strength

Russia's President Vladimir Putin chairs a government meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside MoscowRussia announced military exercises near the border with Ukraine on Monday in a show of strength as the Ukrainian army recaptured more territory from pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.

The Russian air force said that more than 100 aircraft, including fighter jets and bombers, were taking part in the manoeuvres this week in the central and western military districts.

The move could alarm Western powers which have accused Russia of beefing up its troops along its border with Ukraine and arming the rebels in eastern Ukraine, although Moscow denies the accusations.

The manoeuvres include missile-firing practice and will assist “coordination between aviation and anti-missile defence”, Interfax news agency quoted an Airforce spokesman as saying.

He said Russia’s latest bomber, the Su-24, was taking part, as well as Su-27 and MiG-31 fighter jets.

Russia upset the West by staging military exercises near Ukraine in March after the conflict with Ukraine flared. Moscow said in May that it had pulled back its forces but NATO military commander General Philip Breedlove said last week it still had more than 12,000 troops and weapons along the frontier.

The crisis has pushed relations between Russia and the West to their lowest level since the Cold War, with each side accusing the other of orchestrating events in Ukraine, and the United States and European Union imposing sanctions on Russia.

Russia has a firm grip on the Crimea Peninsula, which it annexed in March after Ukraine ousted a pro-Moscow president, but the rebels who wanted Moscow to also annexe east Ukraine have been losing ground in the past few weeks.

Russia President, Putin Renounces Right To Send Troops To Ukraine

Russian President Putin attends a state awards ceremony in the KremlinRussia President, Vladimir Putin, have  asked the Upper House, on Tuesday, to revoke the right it had granted him to order a military intervention in Ukraine in defence of Russian-speakers there, the Kremlin said in a statement.

This step by Putin would certainly be welcomed by the West as a sign that Moscow was ready to help engineer a settlement in Ukraine’s largely Russian-speaking east, where a pro-Russian uprising against Kiev began in April.

“The president has filed a proposal to the Federation Council on cancelling…the resolution on the use of Russia’s Armed Forces on the territory of Ukraine,” the Kremlin said in a statement on its website.

Federation Council Speaker, Valentina Matviyenko, said that the chamber would discuss Putin’s request on Wednesday.

Putin’s chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, said Russia now expected Kiev to respond with measures of its own, without specifying what these should be.

President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine described it as “first practical step” following Putin’s statement of support last weekend for Poroshenko’s peace plan for easternUkraine.

In the March 1 resolution, the Federation Council had granted Putin the right to “use the Russian Federation’s Armed Forces on the territory of Ukraine until the social and political situation in the country normalises”.

That resolution, with the eventual annexation of Crimea from Ukraine by Russia, helped push East-West relations to their lowest ebb since the Cold War and led the United States and Europe to impose sanctions on Moscow.

European Union foreign ministers, on Monday, had held out the prospect of further sanctions if Russia did not do more to support a peace process in eastern Ukraine, and had also asked it to revoke the March 1 resolution.

Like many of eastern Ukraine’s Russian speakers, Moscow was infuriated by the toppling in January of President Viktor Yanukovich, after he pulled out of an association agreement with the EU in favour of closer ties with Moscow.

 

Biden Warns On Ukraine As Russia Dismisses Sanctions Threat

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk attend a media briefing in Kiev

 U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, told Russia on Tuesday that “time is short” for action on defusing the crisis in eastern Ukraine, but Moscow said it could handle any tougher economic sanctions the West might impose.

Speaking on a visit to Kiev, Biden called on Moscow to pull back troops built up on Ukraine’s borders and to “stop talking and start acting” on getting Russian separatists who have seized control in eastern towns and cities to disarm.

The United States has repeatedly warned Russia it faces “mounting costs” if it fails to ensure full implementation of an international agreement struck last week on calming the crisis. This stipulates the rebels must leave the government buildings that they have occupied in the past two weeks.

Russia has in turn accused the Ukrainian government of stirring up the trouble and told Washington it must influence Kiev to prevent “hotheads” from provoking a bloody conflict.

Biden, however, put the onus on Moscow. “We’ve heard a lot from Russian officials in the past few days. But now it’s time for Russia to stop talking and start acting,” he told a news conference. “We will not allow this to become an open ended process. Time is short in which to make progress.”

Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and the eastern rebellion have deepened the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War, and Biden demanded the removal of Russian forces near Ukraine’s frontier which Moscow insists are merely on exercises.

“No nation should threaten its neighbors by amassing troops along the border. We call on Russia to pull these forces,” Biden said after meeting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk.

Moscow denies it is orchestrating the militants, who say they want the chance to join Crimea in becoming part of Russia following the overthrow of Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovich after months of street protests in Kiev.

But Washington, which signed last week’s accord in Geneva along with Moscow, Kiev and the European Union, has said it would decide “in days” on additional sanctions if Russia does not take steps to implement the agreement.

In Moscow, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the country could deal with tougher measures if necessary.

“We shan’t give up on cooperation with foreign companies, including from Western countries, but we will be ready for unfriendly steps,” he told parliament.

“I am sure we can minimize their impact,” he said. “We will not allow our citizens to become hostages of political games.”

So far the United States and EU have imposed visa bans and asset freezes on only a limited number of Russians over the annexation of Crimea last month.

Medvedev said some Russian banks had been shut out of international payments systems, calling this “a violation of existing agreements” which “must not go unpunished”.

Obama Imposes Sanctions On 11 Russians And Ukrainians Over Crimea Move

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the crisis in Ukraine from the White House in Washington March 17, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the crisis in Ukraine from the White House in Washington March 17, 2014.

U.S. President, Barack Obama on Monday (March 17) imposed sanctions on 11 Russians and Ukrainians blamed for Russia’s military incursion into Crimea, including two top aides to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The sanctions were the most visible sign of U.S. anger at Russia’s attempt to absorb the Crimea region of southern Ukraine, reflecting the deepest plunge in U.S.-Russian relations since the Cold War.

The U.S. sanctions came in an executive order signed by Obama a day after Sunday’s (March 16) Crimea referendum aimed at allowing Russia to annex the region, a vote that the United States says was illegal and would never be recognized by Washington.

Obama’s order freezes any assets in the United States and bans travel into the country of seven high ranking Russian government officials and four individuals identified as Crimea-based separatist leaders.

Ousted Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovich was among those sanctioned along with Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov and Crimean Parliament Speaker, Vladimir Konstantinov.

The United States also reached deep into Putin’s inner circle by naming presidential aide Vladislav Surkov and adviser Sergei Glazyev.

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitri Rogozin, and two state Duma deputies, Leonid Slutsky and Yelena Mizulina also were targeted.

Rogozin, shrugged off the sanctions in a tweet.

“Comrade Obama, what should those who don’t have any assets or property abroad do? Or you didn’t think about that?” Rogozin tweeted.

Two members of Russia’s Federation Council that approved deployment of Russian troops in Ukraine were named, including speaker, Valentina Matviyenko and Senator Andrei Klishas.

Senior administration officials who briefed reporters on the penalties said they were the most comprehensive sanctions applied to Russia since the end of the Cold War.

A senior official said Obama’s order clears the way for sanctions on people associated with the Russian arms industry and targets “the personal wealth of cronies” of the Russian leadership.

Putin himself was not sanctioned. A senior Obama administration official said it would have been a highly unusual step and extraordinary to target a Head of State.

Officials warned more sanctions would follow if Russia proceeds with the formal annexation of Crimea, which officials said they believe Putin may announce in a speech on Tuesday (March 18).

Crimea Parliament Declares Independence, Seeks To Join Russia

Pro-russia protest CrimeaCrimea’s parliament has formally declared independence from Ukraine and asked to join the Russian Federation.

This comes a day after a controversial referendum which overwhelmingly backed leaving Ukraine.

According to a statement on its website, the Parliament made a proposal to the Russian Federation to “admit the Republic of Crimea as a new subject with the status of a republic.”

A Crimean parliamentary delegation was expected to arrive in Moscow on Monday to discuss the procedures required for the Black Sea peninsula to become part of the Russian Federation.

However, the government in Kiev says it would not recognize the results, referring to the referendum as a “circus” directed at gunpoint by Moscow, as the Crimean peninsula had been seized for two weeks now by troops under apparent Russian command.

The US and EU has also said that the vote was illegal and have vowed to impose sanctions on Moscow, including travel bans and asset freezes on 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine.

The Crimean peninsula has been under the control of pro-Russia forces since late February.

The crisis follows the ousting of Ukraine’s pro-Moscow President, Viktor Yanukovych on February 22, following months of street protests and deadly clashes.

Russian Police Detain Dozens For Umbrella Protest

Russian Police on Saturday, February 8, detained dozens of umbrella-wielding demonstrators protesting after three television providers dropped a station that made its name covering massive street demonstrations against President Vladimir Putin.

The arrests follow reports of the detention of up to 14 gay rights activists on Friday, the day of the opening of Sochi Olympic Games – an event which has drawn international criticism of Russia’s human rights record.

“We want to protect the freedom of media in our country…Now they attack Dozhd. We want at least some remnants of freedom to stay on in our country,” said supporter Arina, standing under an umbrella next to her young son.

Saturday’s demonstrators had gathered near Moscow’s Red Square to protest the “censorship” of Dozhd (TV Rain), an independent-minded television station which has aired aggressive reporting critical of Russian authorities and even-handed broadcasts on Ukraine’s anti-government protests.

“I’m shocked. When they began opening umbrellas police started detaining them. It was like: ‘If you open an umbrella, proceed to the police bus’,” Yekaterina, a Dozhd supporter, said, giving only her first name.

Dozhd, which faced criticism after asking on its website if Leningrad, now St Petersburg, should have been surrendered to Nazi Germany to save lives during a World War II blockade, was dropped by three TV providers in and around Moscow in late January.

The station said the move amounted to “censorship and pressure”, a sentiment echoed by protesters on Saturday.

Policemen frogmarched protesters to vans after they unfurled umbrellas to show their support for TV Rain.

“Those are just people, the viewers of TV Dozhd (Rain). We did not and do not call on anyone to come to picket lines. But we are grateful to them for that support. If I’m not mistaken, that is the third action that has been held in Moscow. This support gives us strength to go on working in a difficult situation,” said Dozhd producer Yegor Maksimov.

Around 40 people were detained in total, Russian newswire Interfax reported, citing a police spokesman.

Rioting Erupts In Moscow After Killing Blamed On Migrant

Rioters smashed shop windows, stormed a warehouse and clashed with police in a Moscow neighborhood on Sunday in the biggest outbreak of anti-migrant unrest in the Russian capital in three years.

Demonstrators, some chanting racist slogans, vandalized shops and other sites known for employing migrant workers in the southern Biryulyovo area after the killing of a young ethnic Russian widely blamed on a man from the Caucasus.

Several hundred residents had protested peacefully, demanding justice over the killing, until a group of young men began smashing windows in a shopping center and briefly set it on fire. A video posted on Youtube showed them chanting “White Power!” as they forced their way in.

When police in riot gear tried to make arrests, protesters threw glass bottles at them and the police fought back with batons. Video footage from the scene showed overturned cars and smashed fruit stalls.

Some in the crowd, which grew to number several thousand, set off from the shopping center and stormed into a vegetable warehouse employing migrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Moscow police said several officers were wounded in the riots, around 380 people were detained and a criminal case was opened.

Extra police were sent in but sporadic clashes and arrests continued into the night.

Many Muscovites chafe at an influx of migrant laborers to the capital over the past decade.

The Kremlin has watched with alarm at frequent outbreaks of violence in Russian cities between members of the Slavic majority and people with roots in the mostly Muslim North Caucasus, ex-Soviet South Caucasus states and Central Asia.

PERSISTENT TENSION

Some Biryulyovo residents criticized the police for the latest arrests, drawing a contrast with what they said was too much leniency in the treatment of migrants engaged in illegal activity.

“It’s simply impossible to live here. There are fights all the time. The people working in this warehouse are no good – I’m sure there are criminals hiding among them,” said local resident Alexander, 23.

The head of President Vladimir Putin’s human rights council criticized law enforcement bodies for not doing enough to prevent the attacks on businesses employing migrants.

“On the one hand, I completely understand resentment among Muscovites who see people getting killed on our streets and law enforcement officials doing nothing,” Mikhail Fedotov told the broadcaster Dozhd. “But that in no way justifies … this pogrom.”

The latest protest in Biryulyovo began with demands for more police action over the killing of Yegor Shcherbakov, 25, who authorities said was fatally stabbed while walking home with his girlfriend on Thursday night.

Russia’s top investigative agency said it was looking into the killing. Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, a close Putin ally, called for a thorough investigation and said those behind riots must also be held responsible for their actions.

The rioting in Biryulyovo was the worth outbreak of unrest over a racially charged incident in Moscow since December 2010, when several thousand youths rioted just outside the Kremlin.

The youths clashed with police and attacked passersby who they took for non-Russians after the killing of an ethnic Russian soccer fan was blamed on a man from the North Caucasus.

Putin has frequently warned of the dangers of ethnic and religious violence in the diverse nation.

This month he said Russia needed migrant laborers in industries such as construction. But in a nod to anti-migrant sentiment, he suggested their numbers could be restricted in some other sectors including trade.