Since India, Thailand and Mexico shut down their commercial surrogacy industries, Ukraine has become the go-to spot for couples in the US and elsewhere. Some couples question agency practices there while lawyers, activists and feminists argue that surrogacy there exploits women.
Ukraine's former president Victor Yanukovych spent more that $30 million on his personal estate before he fled for Russia. Think private zoo, crocodile skin-lined planters and a copy of John and Yoko's white piano.
She remembers the Donetsk airport when it was a sad Soviet-era fixture. And when it was transformed, reimagined, for a 2012 European soccer tourney. Now it is rubble in fighting in eastern Ukraine, and she realizes " how little time it takes to destroy something which has been so painstakingly built."
Russia is eagerly watching the Scotland referendum on independence. Russia media portray it as a validation of the March vote in Crimea for self-determination. But Moscow-based reporter Charles Maynes tells Marco Werman that Russia's government is less eager to embrace self-determination inside its own borders.
Vladimir Putin's Russia took a hard line against protesters on Monday, just days after protesters brought down the president of neighboring Ukraine. A Russian judge sentenced anti-Putin demonstrators to as many as four years in prison, while special police arrested scores of protesters outside the courtroom.
Frequent contributor Alina Simone was born in a Russian-speaking part of Ukraine. Sometimes when she's feeling nostalgic, she goes to a Russian pirate-themed restaurant in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn -- a bastion of Russian-speaking immigrants.
Masked Russian troops have moved into Crimea, with unmarked uniforms and heavy arms. Some of the residents cheer them, while others fear them. And they may be the undoing of the delicate ethnic balance in Crimea.
Russia paid dearly to stage a world-class Olympics — $50 billion — and remake its image as a modern, efficient and friendly nation. But its Olympic success is quickly being forgotten and tarnished by Russia's moves in Ukraine.
Russia is the world's largest exporter of natural gas, and it has used that power before as a geopolitical weapon. But the US recently became the biggest producer of natural gas due to new fracking technology. And the US is working to use its new might to undercut Russia's sway over Europe.
Kharkov's Zoo in eastern Ukraine has been in the news over a shortage of funding and food. But when Kharkov-born writer Alina Simone saw the news, it hit even closer to home. Her dad worked as a night watchman at the zoo.
Dmitry Firtash, one of Ukraine's richest men, was arrested last week in Austria on an FBI warrant. The natural gas oligarch has ties to the ousted government of Ukraine, Russia's leaders and perhaps even Britain's Conservative Party. And he has information that might help with sanctions against Russia.