Russian SolarWinds Hackers Target 150 Organizations in New Attack

The state-backed Russian group behind a massive hacking campaign revealed last year has re-emerged with a series of attacks on government agencies, think tanks, consultants and other organizations, according to officials and researchers. A security update from Microsoft late Thursday said the group known as Nobelium has stepped up attacks, notably targeting government agencies involved in foreign policy as…

Russia Says EU’s Belarus Flight Ban ‘Endangers’ Passengers

Russia said Friday that Western countries were being irresponsible and endangering passengers by banning flights over Belarus in response to President Alexander Lukashenko’s forced grounding of a Ryanair flight. “What the West has done by introducing a ban on flights through Belarusian airspace for political reasons is completely irresponsible and endangers the safety of passengers,”…

Ukraine Soldier Killed by Separatist Sniper

A Ukrainian soldier was killed by a separatist sniper in the country’s war-ravaged east, the military said Thursday, following an escalation of tensions between Kiev and Moscow. He was shot and fatally wounded near the village of Novotoshkivske in the separatist-controlled Lugansk region that borders Russia, the military said in a statement.  Kiev has been battling…

Austria Slams Russia Over Cancelled Vienna-Moscow Flight

Austria on Thursday slammed Russia after it refused to allow an Austrian Airlines flight to be rerouted to avoid Belarusian airspace, resulting in the Vienna-Moscow service being cancelled. Austria’s Foreign Ministry said Russia’s refusal to allow the route change was “absolutely incomprehensible,” urging it “not to artificially impede free air traffic between Russia and Europe.”…

‘Undesirable’ Open Russia Opposition Group Disbands Ahead of Elections

Open Russia, an opposition movement established by exiled Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, announced its closure Thursday to avoid jail for supporters ahead of parliamentary elections. Executive director Andrei Pivovarov linked the decision to bills advancing through Russian parliament tightening criminal punishment for Russians who support and work for “undesirable” organizations. Open Russia was labeled “undesirable”…

Facebook Accuses Russia of Spreading Disinformation

Facebook said Russia and Iran are the internet’s leading spreaders of disinformation aimed at manipulating public opinion in a report published Thursday.  Facebook researchers linked most of Russian operations to the Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg-based troll factory that was also blamed by the U.S. intelligence community for 2016 election interference.  “Facebook’s broader security…

Putin Rules Out Mandatory Vaccinations

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that mandating coronavirus vaccinations would be “impractical and impossible” amid an ongoing debate on how to ramp up the country’s slow Covid-19 vaccine take-up. Ex-Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev kicked off the debate last week by publicly supporting compulsory vaccinations, only to reiterate their voluntary nature later. At least one…

Belarus plane diversion raises legal questions

Governments were quick to denounce the diversion of a Ryanair plane by Belarus as an act of “terrorism” and “state-sponsored piracy” — but will the country face legal consequences? It’s not a simple question. “Civil aviation rules were not written with the expectation that a state would behave like a terrorist,” said Nathalie Younan, an…

Explainer: Events Surrounding Belarus Flight ‘Hijacking’

Belarus’ interception of a commercial flight Sunday in order to arrest Roman Protasevich, a 26-year-old Lithuania-based dissident blogger has triggered global outrage and condemnation.  Protasevich faces charges of inciting mass rallies in Belarus following last summer’s disputed presidential election which triggered an unprecedented wave of protest across the country. The EU has already hit Belarus…

Putin-Biden Summit Set for June 16 in Geneva

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden will hold their first summit in Geneva on June 16, the Kremlin and the White House said Tuesday.  The Kremlin said in a statement that Putin and Biden will discuss “the current state and prospects for further development of Russian-American relations, issues of strategic stability”…

Russia Wants to Exempt State Media From ‘Foreign Agent’ Scrutiny

The Russian government wants to exempt state media from financial scrutiny to avoid being labeled  “foreign agents” because they are not prone to foreign influence. The proposal comes after Russia labeled the independent news sites Meduza and VTimes “foreign agents,” jeopardizing their futures by discouraging advertisers and levying steep fines for auditing violations. Russia’s Ministry…

EU Cuts Air Links With Belarus Over Forced Plane Landing

EU leaders cut Europe’s air links with Belarus on Monday, as strongman Alexander Lukashenko’s regime paraded a dissident journalist arrested after his flight was forced to land in Minsk. Lukashenko sparked international outrage by dispatching a fighter jet Sunday to intercept a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius carrying wanted reporter Roman Protasevich, 26, and his girlfriend Sofia…

EU Cuts Air Transport Links With Belarus

EU leaders have agreed to ban Belarus’ airlines from the bloc’s airspace and urged EU-based carriers not to fly over its airspace after Minsk forced a jet to land to arrest a dissident. The leaders of the 27-nation bloc also called for the “immediate release” of journalist Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega from…

Russia Defends Belarus Over Plane Diversion

Russian officials have defended Belarus’ use of a military jet to divert a passenger plane carrying a dissident, an act Western leaders have called “state terrorism” and that may spark tougher sanctions against Minsk. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists that Belarus had treated the incident with an “absolutely reasonable approach.” “A representative of…

EU Outrage as Belarus Diverts Flight, Arrests Opposition Activist

Belarus forced an Athens-to-Vilnius Ryanair flight carrying a wanted opposition activist to divert and land in Belarus on Sunday, provoking a furious outcry from European leaders. Belarusian state television reported that Roman Protasevich, a 26-year-old opposition blogger exiled in Poland, had been detained in Minsk after flight FR4978 was diverted from EU airspace — ostensibly over a security…

Russian Police Break Up Opposition Meeting

Police on Saturday broke up a meeting of independent, elected Russian opposition figures, saying they had failed to observe coronavirus health restrictions, participants said. The May 22-23 forum brought together representatives from 30 regions to coordinate their campaign for the September legislative elections. Ahead of the vote, the authorities have cranked up pressure on the…