Roger Waters to Speak for Russia at UN Security Council on Ukraine, Moscow Claims

British musician Roger Waters of the rock group Pink Floyd will speak on behalf of Russia at the upcoming UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine, Russian diplomats said Wednesday. Dmitry Polyansky, Russia’s first deputy UN representative, said Waters’ attendance has been confirmed for the Russian-requested Security Council session. Waters himself has neither confirmed nor denied his attendance…

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Pro-War Russian Nationalist ‘Executed’ in Eastern Ukraine

A Russian pro-war nationalist mercenary has died from a gunshot wound to the head in eastern Ukraine in what his family called an assassination, state media reported Wednesday. Igor Mangushev, 36, was hospitalized over the weekend after an apparent “execution-style” shooting at close range at a checkpoint in the Russian-occupied Luhansk region.  Citing his friend Akim Apachev, the Russian…

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Russian Maps Featuring Occupied Ukraine Territories Go on Sale in Moscow

Bookstores across Moscow have begun selling maps that show four partially occupied southeast Ukrainian regions as Russian territory, media reported Wednesday, as lawmakers move to outlaw displaying the regions as part of Ukraine. Major chains have this week started accepting maps with the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of eastern and southern Ukraine in the…

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Russia’s Central Bank Under Pressure to Be ‘More Upbeat’ – Bloomberg 

President Vladimir Putin’s government is pressuring Russia’s Central Bank to be “more upbeat” about the country’s economy amid the invasion of Ukraine and international sanctions, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. Russian officials reportedly want the Bank of Russia to send “a clearer hint” that interest rates may come down later this year, Bloomberg said, citing its sources.…

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Russia Claims ‘Successful’ Advances Near Ukraine’s Bakhmut

The Russian army is “successfully” advancing near the eastern Ukrainian towns of Bakhmut and Vuhledar, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday. “Military operations are at the moment progressing with success in the areas around Vuhledar and Artemovsk,” Shoigu told a defense meeting using the previous name for Bakhmut. He listed seven settlements that Russia…

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Russian Budget Deficit Swells on Increased War Spending, Falling Energy Revenues

Russia’s budget deficit surged to 1.76 trillion rubles ($24.8 billion) in January 2023, the Finance Ministry said Monday, as Western sanctions cut into oil and gas revenues and the country raised its wartime spending. The figures mark Russia’s largest first-month budget deficit since at least 1998, according to Bloomberg. Revenues fell 35% to 1.356 trillion…

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First Person Accused of Spreading ‘False Information’ on War Jailed in Absentia for 9 Years

A court in Moscow sentenced the first person to have been charged under Russia’s wartime law against spreading “knowingly false information” to nine years in jail in absentia on Monday, the independent broadcaster Sota reported. Veronika Belotserkovskaya, a Ukrainian-born Russian journalist and the owner of a culinary school in France where she lives, was among the first people…

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Russia Jails Blogger for 9 Years in Absentia for ‘False Information’ on War

A court in Moscow sentenced one of the first people charged under Russia’s wartime law against spreading “knowingly false information” to nine years in jail in absentia on Monday, the independent broadcaster Sota reported. Veronika Belotserkovskaya, a Ukrainian-born Russian journalist and the owner of a culinary school in France where she lives, was among the first people to be…

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Amid Ukraine War, Kremlin Orders Nationwide Bomb Shelter Overhaul

Bomb shelters across Russia are undergoing systematic inspections and repairs following a Kremlin order to upgrade the country’s crumbling Soviet-era infrastructure, according to current and former officials who spoke to The Moscow Times.  Many of Russia’s thousands of bunkers, reinforced cellars and other safe hideouts have been mothballed for decades. But as the war in…

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Russian Patriarch Kirill Spied in Switzerland for KGB in 70s – Media

The Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, a strong supporter of President Vladimir Putin, worked for Soviet intelligence while living in Switzerland in the 1970s, Swiss newspapers reported, citing declassified archives. According to the Sonntagszeitung and Le Matin Dimanche weeklies, the Swiss police file on the man who today serves as the spiritual head of the Russian Orthodox…

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Putin Sends Condolences to Erdogan, Assad After Devastating Earthquake

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed “the most sincere condolences” to his Turkish and Syrian counterparts after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed over 1,400 people early Monday. “We share the sorrow and pain of those who lost their relatives and loved ones,” Putin told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a message published on the Kremlin’s website. He noted the…

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Ukraine to Replace Defense Minister After Corruption Scandals

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov will be replaced by the chief of the military intelligence ahead of an expected Russian offensive and following corruption scandals, a senior lawmaker said Sunday.  “We are preparing decisions and negotiations that should strengthen our soldiers, give Ukraine more international support and more weapons,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening…

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‘I Couldn’t Stay Silent’: Anti-War ‘Flower Protests’ Spread to 60 Cities Across Russia

Russians continue to memorialize the dozens of Ukrainians killed in last month’s Russian missile strike on the city of Dnipro — one of the deadliest single incidents of Moscow’s invasion — in what has evolved into a new nationwide form of anti-war protest.  Makeshift displays of flowers, stuffed toys and handwritten notes have sprung up…

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U.S. Estimates Russian Casualties in Ukraine Nearing 200K – NYT

U.S. and other Western officials estimate that close to 200,000 Russian troops have been killed and wounded in Ukraine nearly one year into Moscow’s invasion of its western neighbor, The New York Times reported Thursday.  “The figures for Ukraine and Russia are estimates based on satellite imagery, communication intercepts, social media and on-the-ground media reports, as…

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Austria Expels 4 Russian Diplomats

Austria is expelling four Russian diplomats for conduct “incompatible” with their status, Vienna announced Thursday. Austria’s foreign ministry identified the “personae non gratae” as two workers with the Russian Embassy and two with the Russian mission to the UN without providing their names. Vienna gave the four diplomats until next Wednesday, Feb. 8, to return…

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Russia ‘Acquiring Features of Dictatorship’ After Ukraine Invasion – Study

Democratic standards worldwide improved slightly in 2022 after the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, but plummeted further in Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said on Thursday. Overall, less than half — 45.3% — of the world’s population is living in a democracy, the London-based analysis group said. “More than a third of…

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Russia Outlaws Lithuania-Based Opposition Forum as ‘Undesirable’

Russia has added the Free Russia Forum, a platform uniting leading figures of Russia’s liberal opposition, to its list of “undesirable” organizations, the Prosecutor General’s Office said Wednesday.  The Prosecutor General’s Office said a review of the Lithuania-based organization’s activities concluded that it “poses a threat to the constitutional order and security of the Russian…

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Russian Opposition Journalist Jailed in Absentia for ‘Fake’ War Coverage

A Russian court sentenced a well-known exiled opposition journalist to prison Wednesday for “fake news” about the Russian military’s deadly attacks on civilians in Ukraine. Alexander Nevzorov, 64, was the first prominent political reporter and commentator to be charged in March 2022 under a newly adopted law banning what authorities deem to be false information about…

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