Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is serving a six year term as President of Russia since he was elected in 2012. He topped the 2013 Forbes list of most powerful people in the world.
Putin previously served as President from 2000 to 2008. He was Prime Minister of Russia from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012. For 16 years Putin served as an officer in the secret service, KGB, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. . From 1985 to 1990, the KGB stationed Putin in Dresden, East Germany, returning to Russia then and entering politics in his native Saint Petersburg in 1991.
Tensions between Russia and the west are at risk of escalating beyond the crisis in Ukraine and into a wider regional standoff. Amid reports that the United States plans to deliver additional arms to NATO member allies in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin is promising to strengthen his country's nuclear arsenal. Charles Maynes has more from Moscow.
Russian President Putin has said that Moscow will "defend" its interests after Belgium and France froze Russian assets. The move comes after a court awarded claimants a record $50 billion over defunct oil company Yukos.