Two weeks after a cease-fire that appears to have held in eastern Ukraine, Germany's foreign minister says the warring sides are "very close" to a broader agreement to remove heavy weapons from the front lines.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who met in Berlin with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and their Ukrainian counterpart, Pavlo Klimkin, said the brief cease-fire had paved the way for moving toward a resolution of the crisis, set in motion by Russia's annexation of Crimea last year and its ongoing support for Ukrainian separatists.

Straight from Russian President Vladimir Putin's mouth: "I would like to say — there's no need to be afraid of Russia."

Putin's comments to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera follow months of fighting in Ukraine between Kiev's forces and Russian-backed separatists that have reminded many of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union seemed perpetually on the verge of invading Western Europe and the forces of NATO were the only thing standing in the way.

People always ask me, "What's your favorite Tiny Desk Concert?" Well, right now it's the one recently performed by DakhaBrakha. The creative quartet from Kiev, Ukraine make music that sounds like nothing I've ever heard, with strands of everything I've ever heard. There are rhythms that sound West African and drone that feels as if it could have emanated from India or Australia. At times, DakhaBrakha is simply a rock band whose crazy homeland harmonies are filled with joy.

A senior Ukrainian journalist known for his pro-Russia stance has been shot dead in Kiev, one day after a former pro-Russia lawmaker was found dead in the Ukrainian capital.

Oles Buzyna, 45, had recently resigned as editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper Sevodnya. Ukraine's interior ministry said in a statement that he was killed Thursday afternoon by two masked gunmen shooting from a passing car, according to The Associated Press.

Valentina Lisitsa is a pianist whose worldwide reputation was built on social media. She is now experiencing a major backlash due to what she's been writing on Twitter.

It came to a head with the cancellation of Lisitsa's scheduled performances Wednesday night and Thursday night with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, which announced earlier this week that she would not be appearing to play Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the ensemble and Finnish conductor Juka-Pekka Saraste. Both TSO management and Lisitsa have said she will still receive her full fee.