Putin has made it clear that the country will no longer cave to the wishes of the US and its allies.
Pro-Russia troops have used gunfire in seizing a Ukraine military base, while Nato has declared early-warning flights around the east.
The external struggle to dominate Ukraine has put fascists in power and brought the country to the brink of conflict.
The rand was slightly firmer on Monday morning after a mixed US employment report on Friday spurred intense price action.
The price of oil rose above $94 a barrel on Wednesday, fuelled by US demand amid a deep freeze across much of the country.
A Taliban suicide bomber has detonated an explosives-packed vehicle next to a Nato military convoy in Kabul, say officials.
Pakistan says it would raise the issue of US drone strikes inside its territory at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
US President Barack Obama has shaken hands with Cuba's Raul Castro, a rare gesture between the two ideologically opposed nations.
The US Secretary of State urged senators to "calm down" over new sanctions, warning they could scupper talks aimed at slowing Iran's nuclear drive.
Brazil, which hotly denounced US surveillance of its leaders, itself spied on US officials as well as on Russia, Iran and Iraq a decade ago.
What would a default by the US government on its $16-trillion debt mean?
The rand has risen on the back of dollar weakness and quantitative easing has likely been delayed.
The rand price is being affected by South Africa's current account deficit, rather than fears of quantitative easing, say analysts.
The United States and Costa Rica have qualified for the World Cup by getting the results they needed in the Concacaf regional qualifier.
Russia has sent a missile cruiser to the east Mediterranean to take over the navy's operations as the US prepares for possible strike in Syria.
Canada has been convinced Western military action is needed against Syria after reports it used chemical weapons, says Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
United States authorities increase scrutiny of the digital currency.
Treaty likely to be finalised soon.
From male chickens who lose their penises to boost their mating chances to Julius Malema's return to politics, here's this week's headlines.