Lavrov Says Offensive in Ukraine ‘Cleansed’ Russian Society

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday that Moscow’s large-scale military intervention against Ukraine had “cleansed” Russian society, after thousands fled the country or were detained since fighting broke out. Since the Kremlin ordered troops into Ukraine in February 2022, officials in Moscow have repeatedly branded as “traitors” Russians who fled the country to escape…

Head of Russia’s Bashkortostan Blames ‘Separatists’ for Unrest

The governor of Russia’s republic of Bashkortostan said Thursday that violence between protesters and police in his region the day before was provoked by separatists living abroad.  Authorities launched criminal cases into what they described as mass riots and violence against law enforcement officials after clashes erupted on Wednesday over the imprisonment of activist Fayil…

In First, Russia Downs Drone Over St. Petersburg

Updated to include Kommersant, Ukrainska Pravda reports. Russian air defense systems intercepted a drone in St. Petersburg overnight, the first such instance in the country’s second-largest city since the invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago, authorities said Thursday. Residents reported hearing loud bangs at around 1:00 a.m. local time over Vasilyevsky Island, not far from the…

2023 Was Russia’s Third-Hottest Year on Record, Says Head of State Weather Service

Russia experienced its third hottest year on record in 2023, the head of Russia’s Hydrometeorological Center said at a press conference on Wednesday. Global temperatures last year smashed records going back to 1850, with the planet measuring 1.35-1.54 Celcius warmer on average compared to pre-industrial levels. While 2023 was just the third hottest ever reliably recorded for…

‘Nearly Naked’ Party Organizers Hit With 2 Multimillion-Dollar Lawsuits

Two lawsuits have been filed against the organizers of a “nearly naked” party that sparked nationwide controversy last month, Russian state media reported Wednesday. Television host and blogger Anastasia Ivleeva, who organized the star-studded private event on Dec. 21, was hit with a one billion-ruble ($11.2 million) class-action lawsuit for allegedly having caused “moral suffering.” The…

Russia Jails Prominent Bashkir Activist 4 Years

A court in Russia’s republic of Bashkortostan sentenced prominent local activist Fayil Alsynov to four years in a penal colony on charges of “inciting interethnic hatred,” the regional news outlet Idel.Realii reported Wednesday.  The case against the activist has mobilized many in the Ural Mountains republic who say that Alsynov is being unfairly targeted over…

Russian Police Detain Allies of Bashkir Activist Awaiting Court Sentence – Reports

Law enforcement agents in central Russia’s republic of Bashkortostan have detained several allies of activist Fayil Alsynov, who stands trial this week on charges of inciting ethnic hatred, according to the local Telegram channel. The detentions come amid unconfirmed reports that the Kremlin may have authorized regional law enforcement agencies to “use force” against protesters.  Thousands gathered…

Chinese State Banks Step Up Compliance on Russian Clients – Bloomberg

Chinese state banks are stepping up compliance on funding to Russian clients amid threats of secondary sanctions from the U.S., Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter. Last month, the United States threatened to cut off access to its financial system for foreign banks that back companies targeted for supporting Russia’s defense industry. According…

Estonia Arrests Russian University Professor Suspected of Spying for Moscow

Estonian police have arrested a Russian university professor who is suspected of spying on behalf of Moscow, media in the Baltic country reported Tuesday, citing law enforcement officials.  Vyacheslav Morozov, who until recently was Professor in International Political Theory at the University of Tartu, was arrested by the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) on Jan. 3…

Drone Strikes Injure Child, Damage Apartment Blocks in Russia’s Voronezh

A young girl was injured and dozens of apartments were damaged during overnight drone strikes in the Russian city of Voronezh, authorities said Tuesday. Russia’s Defense Ministry said it shot down or intercepted eight Ukrainian drones over the Voronezh region overnight. Four other drones were intercepted in the neighboring Belgorod region, it added.  Voronezh region Governor…

Finnish Firms Selling High-Tech Goods to Russian Buyers With Security Service Links – Yle

A number of Finland-based companies are exporting high-tech goods to Russian buyers with known links to Moscow’s defense industry and intelligence services, Finnish broadcaster Yle reported Monday, citing customs data. At least 20 companies owned by “people of Russian origin” are either exporting goods directly to Russia or acting as intermediaries between foreign sellers and…

Russia’s FSB Raids Jehovah’s Witness Office in Occupied Mariupol

Agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) raided a Jehovah’s Witnesses office in the occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol, state media reported Monday. “The FSB and military counterintelligence have uncovered a location in Mariupol that was used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses to promote extremist ideology,” Zvezda, the Russian Defense Ministry’s broadcaster, reported. In 2017, Russia’s…

Blaze Engulfs Russian Online Retailer’s Warehouse

A massive fire spread through online retailer Wildberries’ warehouse in St. Petersburg on Saturday, Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said, without any reported casualties. Fires are relatively common in Russia due to old infrastructure or non-compliance with safety standards. “In total, the fire spread through 70,000 square meters,” Igor Ulubikov, an official at the St. Petersburg branch…

Ukraine’s Spy Chief Promises More Attacks on Crimea

Ukraine’s military spy chief Kyrylo Budanov said in an interview published Friday that Kyiv’s attacks against Russian-annexed Crimea were set to intensify, adding that Moscow’s economy was proving surprisingly resilient despite sanctions. “In 2023, the first Ukrainian incursions took place in temporarily occupied Crimea,” Budanov told the French daily Le Monde, adding: “And this is…