A burqa-clad Afghan woman walks past the war-damaged Darlaman palace on a cold winter morning in Kabul, in December 2006. Many Afghans struggle to provide adequate food and shelter for their families. Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom/File
An Afghan man walks with his flock of sheep along a snowy road in Kabul, in January 2006. Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom/File
Snow-covered houses are seen from a hill overlooking Kabul on Feb. 8. Shah Marai/AFP/Newscom
Afghan soldiers disembark from a helicopter at the site of an avalanche in Salang Passport in northern Afghanistan's Parwan Province on Feb. 10. Zabi Tamanna/Xinhua/Newscom
Afghan women walk through a snow-covered cemetery in Kabul on Jan. 13, 2009. Though snowfall and cold weather make things more difficult for poor Afghans, people in Afghanistan were pleased by the snowfall as a good omen to end the prolonged drought in Afghanistan. Zuma/Newscom/File
Afghan refugees receive blankets during relief distribution in Herat on Feb. 18, 2008. Reza Shirmohammadi/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom/File
Afghan men hold umbrellas on a snowy day in Kabul, on Dec. 2, 2002. Farzana Wahidy/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom/File
Afghan youths make a snowman in a street of Kabul during a heavy snowfall, in February 2004. Shah Marai/AFP/Newscom/File
In this picture taken on Feb. 2, Afghan Nadjib Sirat and French adventurer Charles Hedrich ski on a mountain in the Paghman district of Kabul province. Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Newscom
Relatives of victims search for survivors at the site of an avalanche in Salang Passport in northern Afghanistan's Parwan Province on Feb. 10. Zabi Tamanna/Xinhua/Newscom
The American 114th Transportation Company, a Minnesota Army National Guard Company headquartered in Duluth, almost disappeared into clouds of wind blown dust on Nov. 20, 2009. Zuma/Newscom/File
Obama phoned Russia's Vladimir Putin Thursday to discuss a US proposal for resolving the Ukraine crisis. Earlier, the US moved to begin a regimen of sanctions against Russia. Will those be enough to prevent Russia's annexation of Crimea?
[Updated 9:30 p.m. ET] President Obama appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday, during a personal phone call, to agree to direct talks with Ukraine aimed at resolving, through diplomacy rather than military confrontation, Russia's concerns about the future direction of the Ukrainian government and of the rights of ethnic Russians living in Ukraine.