The exchange of Ukrainian helicopter pilot Nadiya Savchenko for two Russian servicemen appears to be moving ahead. But the deal could also reopen the question of just how involved Russia is with Ukraine's eastern rebellion.
Amid plunging public trust, the Panama Papers revealed this week that the struggling Ukrainian president holds offshore accounts, and the Dutch resoundingly voted against accepting Ukraine into the EU.
In September, Russian voters will be able to directly elect some of their representatives to the national legislature – potentially allowing reformers to gain national office. Authorities are looking to stop that.
Vladimir Putin took questions from reporters and the public, on topics ranging from his love life to foreign policy. But the overarching theme seemed to be an effort to sympathize with and reassure Russians suffering from the recession.
Coming so soon after a damning report on his despotic reign, Ramzan Kadyrov's declaration that he will not run for reelection may look like political retreat. But it is actually a show for his patron, Putin.