Ukraine

Ukraine now has a new president, as Volodymyr Zelenskiy was sworn into office on Monday — and the famous comedian immediately said one of his first actions will be to dissolve parliament. Fulfilling a campaign promise, Zelenskiy announced a snap election to choose new lawmakers.

For years he has played a high school history teacher who accidentally became president of Ukraine. On Sunday, Ukraine's voters made that fiction a reality.

With nearly all the ballots counted, the 41-year-old Volodymyr Zelenskiy took 73% of the vote, trouncing incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, who received less than 25%. Zelenskiy's victory is widely seen as a rebuke of the status quo, a response to perceived corruption within the political establishment, and a reflection of malaise over the lackluster economy and ongoing conflict with Russia in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainians are so fed up with their politicians that many are seeking political relief from a TV comic in presidential elections taking place this weekend.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy's only connection to politics is the role he plays in a hit TV series about a man who accidentally becomes Ukraine's president. Now, the real-life Zelenskiy, 41, is the unexpected leader in opinion polls, which consistently show him winning up to 25 percent of the vote.

Updated at 3:16 p.m. ET

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort received a total sentence of about 7 1/2 years in federal prison on Wednesday following the guilty plea in his Washington, D.C., conspiracy case.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson effectively added about 3 1/2 years in prison to the sentence Manafort received last week from a different judge in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko on Friday barred Russian men of military age from entering the country, saying the order was needed to prevent an infiltration in what appeared to be an allusion to Moscow's 2014 takeover of Crimea from Ukraine.

Poroshenko's decree comes days after he assumed martial law powers in Ukraine following a maritime skirmish in the Kerch Strait that joins the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov through Crimea. That encounter saw Russian warships fire on and seize three Ukrainian navy vessels, wounding several of their crew.

Editor's note: On Thursday, President Trump said on Twitter he had canceled a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, citing intensifying Russian aggression toward Ukraine.

Russia is sending new S-400 surface-to-air missile batteries to its installations in Crimea, its defense ministry says. The move comes days after Russian warships seized several Ukrainian naval vessels, adding to tensions with neighboring Ukraine over the land Russia seized in 2014.

Ukraine's parliament has agreed to impose martial law in 10 of its provinces to combat "growing aggression from Russia," after a weekend confrontation in waters off the disputed Crimean Peninsula led Russia to seize three Ukrainian navy vessels.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

Russia's seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels near Crimea is an "outrageous violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory," says U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, calling it "another reckless Russian escalation" in a deadly and years-long conflict.

Updated at 3:36 p.m. E.D.T. on December 4.

President Trump may have been involved with a change to the Republican Party campaign platform last year that watered down support for U.S. assistance to Ukraine, according to new information from someone who was involved.

Diana Denman, a Republican delegate who supported arming U.S. allies in Ukraine, has told people that Trump aide J.D. Gordon said at the Republican Convention in 2016 that Trump directed him to support weakening that position in the official platform.

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