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March 05, 2014 AT 11:06 AM
Facing off in Europe's capitals, Russia and the West began trying to build the elements of a diplomatic solution to Europe's gravest crisis since the Cold War — even as the West appeared increasingly resigned to an entrenched Russian presence in Crimea. NATO hit back by putting Russia on suspension, and the European Union extended $15 billion in aid to Ukraine, matching the amount the country's fugitive president accepted from Moscow to turn his back on an EU trade accord. As peace efforts progressed in Paris and Brussels, volatility reigned on the ground in Ukraine: A special U.N. envoy visiting Crimea came under threat by armed men who forced him to leave the region.