Moscow-Held Kherson Region to ‘Ask’ for Russian Military Base

The Moscow-appointed leaders of southern Ukraine’s Kherson region will “ask” for a Russian military base, state media reported Tuesday in the latest example of Russia’s creeping grip on captured Ukrainian territories. Russian forces have installed pro-Moscow “military-civilian administrations” and introduced Russian currency, media and internet services in an effort to cement their presence in occupied areas…

Pro-Russia Separatist Leader Threatens ‘International’ Tribunal for Azovstal Defenders

Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered while defending Mariupol’s besieged Azovstal steel plant will face an “international tribunal,” the head of the Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) said Monday. DNR leader Denis Pushilin told Interfax that all 2,439 prisoners from the Azovstal site were currently on the separatist republic’s territory.  “We are planning to organize an international…

Austrian Ex-Minister Who Danced With Putin Quits Rosneft

Austrian ex-foreign minister Karin Kneissl, who once danced with Russian President Vladimir Putin at her wedding, has quit her board position at Russian oil giant Rosneft, the company said Monday. Kneissl has submitted a letter of resignation effective from Friday, Rosneft said in a statement. The 57-year-old made headlines when she invited Putin to her wedding in 2018 and was photographed dancing with him during the event.  She…

Russia Has Deployed 150 Units in All-Out Ukraine Offensive – Reports

Some 150 military units from across all branches of Russia’s Armed Forces have been deployed in the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, investigative outlet Proekt reported Monday. The large-scale nature of the invasion undermines Kremlin claims that Russia is merely conducting a “special operation” in Ukraine aimed at “denazifying and demilitarizing” the country.  Those deployed include…

Russian Neo-Nazis Participate in ‘Denazifying’ Ukraine – Der Spiegel

At least two neo-Nazi groups are fighting for Russian forces in Ukraine, throwing into question Moscow’s claims of “denazifying” its neighbor, German weekly Der Spiegel reported Sunday, citing a confidential intelligence report. The document shared with German ministries by the BND intelligence service does not provide the exact number of far-right fighters, but identifies them as…

For Russia’s Exiled Ethnic Activists, Ukraine War a ‘Window of Opportunity’

As the death toll from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rises, throwing Kremlin imperialism into sharper focus, activists representing the indigenous non-Slavic peoples of Russia are doubling down on efforts to rally supporters behind demands for greater autonomy.   “War is a trigger for greater national consciousness,” Ruslan Gabbasov, the head of the Bashkir National Political Center,…

Ukraine Orders End to Defense of Mariupol

Ukraine on Friday ordered its last troops holed up in Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks to lay down their arms, while Russia said its months-long operation to capture the strategic port city is now complete. Russia’s flattening of Mariupol has drawn multiple accusations of war crimes, including over a deadly attack on a maternity ward, and Ukraine…

Russia Labels Kasparov and Khodorkovsky ‘Foreign Agents’

Russia on Friday added two high-profile Kremlin critics to its list of “foreign agents”: former chess champion Garry Kasparov and ex-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The infamous label, reminiscent of the “enemies of the people” of the Soviet period, is used extensively against opponents, journalists and human rights activists accused of conducting foreign-funded political activities. Such “foreign…

Ukraine Slams Russian Attacks on Donbas ‘Hell’

Incessant bombardment has turned Ukraine’s Donbas region into “hell,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said, as the first post-invasion trial of a Russian soldier for war crimes neared its closely watched climax Friday. Zelensky’s government received a fresh boost as the U.S. Congress approved a $40 billion aid package, including funds to enhance Ukraine’s armored vehicle fleet…

Siberian Pianist Jailed for ‘Nazi Propaganda’ After Playing Ukrainian Anthem

A Siberian entrepreneur who played the Ukrainian national anthem in public has been found guilty of “Nazi propaganda,” a local court said Thursday in the latest example of Russia’s ongoing crackdown on wartime dissent. The Tyumen resident, identified as Vladimir Fofanov by the OVD-Info police-monitoring website, was shown performing the anthem on a piano set up on an…

UN Urges Russia, Ukraine to Resume Peace Talks

The United Nations on Thursday urged Russia and Ukraine to “build on” contacts and coordination that enabled the evacuation operations from Mariupol in order to resume stalled peace talks. The successful operations to evacuate civilians and later fighters from the sprawling Azovstal steelworks in the devastated Ukrainian port points the way back towards broader negotiations…

McDonald’s Agrees Sale of Russian Restaurants to Siberian Oil Magnate

McDonald’s will sell its Russian restaurants to Siberian businessman Alexander Govor, the U.S. fast-food giant announced Thursday. Govor, who co-owns oil firm NefteKhimServis, already operates 25 of the chain’s restaurants in Russia. Once approved by regulators, the deal will see the 62-year-old take over all 850 McDonald’s locations within Russia under a new brand, business…

Investigation Links German Ex-Ballet Director Zelensky with Putin’s Daughter

A new investigation has named the former director of the Bavarian State Ballet as the partner of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s second-eldest daughter.  Igor Zelensky, 52, is reportedly in a serious, long-term relationship with Katerina Tikhonova, 35, widely believed to be Putin’s daughter, Russian news outlet iStories and German news site Der Spiegel reported Thursday.…

Russia to Shutter Moscow Offices of Canada’s CBC Broadcaster

Russia is shutting down the Moscow offices of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in retaliation to Ottawa banning Russia’s state-run RT and RT France networks, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced Wednesday. The Foreign Ministry is also withdrawing the press accreditations and canceling the visas of CBC’s journalists in Russia, Zakharova told reporters. “A decision…

Google Russia Prepares Bankruptcy Procedure

Google’s Russian branch has initiated a bankruptcy procedure over its inability to pay a $100-million fine for keeping up content Moscow deems illegal, media reported Wednesday as Russia continues to intensify its pressure on Big Tech following its invasion of Ukraine. A Moscow court fined Google 7.2 billion rubles ($113.5 million) in December 2021 for…

Google Russia to File for Bankruptcy

Google’s Russian branch has initiated a bankruptcy procedure over its inability to pay a $100-million fine for keeping up content Moscow deems illegal, media reported Wednesday as Russia continues to intensify its pressure on Big Tech following its invasion of Ukraine. Google confirmed the reports the next day. “Google Russia has published a notice of…

Russia Expels 34 French Diplomats: Foreign Ministry

Moscow said Wednesday it was expelling 34 “employees of French diplomatic missions” in a tit-for-tat move following the expulsion of Russian diplomats from France as part of joint European action over Russia’s campaign in Ukraine. “Thirty-four employees of French diplomatic missions in Russia have been declared persona non grata,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a…

Russia Expels Dozens of European Diplomats

Moscow on Wednesday kicked out diplomats from France, Italy and Spain in retaliation for the expulsion of Russian diplomats from European countries as part of a joint action against Russia’s campaign in Ukraine. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement it was expelling 34 “employees of French diplomatic missions” in Russia and gave them two…

Shelling Hits Russian Border Village, Sugar Refinery

A village and a sugar refinery near Russia’s border with Ukraine were shelled late Tuesday, according to officials.   Belgorod region Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said the village of Bezymeno 50 kilometers northwest of Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv was damaged in an attack that wounded at least one person. “There is some damage. A door-to-door assessment…

Explainer: Is Russia Running Low on Missiles?

Precision-guided missiles have been one of the weapons of choice for the Russian Armed Forces since invading Ukraine in late February.  These domestically-produced missiles have been responsible for some of Russia’s most deadly attacks in Ukraine, including  on the Ukrainian port city of Odesa and on a train station in the eastern Ukrainian city of…

Russia Expels 2 Finnish Embassy Staff

Moscow said on Tuesday that two employees of Finland’s embassy in Russia will have to leave the country in response to a similar move by Helsinki. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it summoned Finland’s ambassador to Moscow and expressed its “strong protest” against the expulsion of two Russian diplomats from neighboring Finland…

Russia Says 265 Azovstal Defenders Surrendered

Russia said Tuesday that 265 Ukrainian soldiers holed up in Mariupol’s besieged Azovstal steel plant had “surrendered,” contradicting Kyiv’s account that the evacuated soldiers would be exchanged later. “The surrender of fighters from the Azov nationalist unit and Ukrainian servicemen blocked in the Azovstal plant in Mariupol began yesterday,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a…