Belarus Launches Nuclear Plant Despite Baltic Outcry

Belarus on Tuesday launched its controversial Russia-built nuclear power station despite safety concerns from neighboring Baltic states three decades after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The launch comes as Belarus strongman president Alexander Lukashenko faces historic protests against his claim to victory in August presidential polls that Western leaders and his critics say were fraudulent. Ahead of…

Nagorno-Karabakh Briefing | Nov. 3

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan — now in its sixth week — shows little sign of easing after both sides accused the other of breaking an agreement not to target residential and civilian areas with missile strikes. The United Nations warned Monday evening those attacks “may amount to war crimes.” Nagorno-Karabakh and areas under…

Harrowing Coronavirus Stories Emerge From Russia’s Battered Regions

The second record-breaking wave of coronavirus infections battering Russian regions has been accompanied by distressing stories and images of patients struggling in a strained health system. Cities including St. Petersburg and the western enclave of Kaliningrad have seen their highest caseloads since the spring outbreak, while the Moscow region has doubled Covid-19 hospitalizations over the…

Nagorno-Karabakh Briefing | Nov. 2

Armenia and Azerbaijan failed to strike another ceasefire in talks brokered by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as Baku pledged to “fight to the end” to recapture territory which has been controlled by Armenia-backed separatists since 1994. Meanwhile, Yerevan formally opened consultations with Moscow over when Russia would come to the…

Belarus Rights Abuses Under Fire at UN

Belarus faced harsh criticism at the UN on Monday, with diplomats slamming arbitrary detentions and torture allegations in the response to months of protests against President Alexander Lukashenko. During a review of Belarus’s rights record at the United Nations in Geneva, many diplomats urged Belarus authorities to halt the crackdown on demonstrators, who since August have…

Coronavirus in Russia: The Latest News | Nov. 2

Russia has confirmed 1,655,038 cases of coronavirus and 28,473 deaths. Nov. 2: What you need to know today Russia has confirmed 18,257 new coronavirus cases and 238 additional deaths.  Only 36% of Russians are ready to vaccinate against Covid-19, according to the results of an independent Levada Center poll published by Russia’s Open Media news Monday. The share of Russians unwilling to…

Russia Battles Four-Year Doping Ban

Russia’s attempt to overturn its four-year ban from international sport got underway in Lausanne Monday, the latest chapter of a long-running and controversial saga over state-sanctioned doping. Global anti-doping body WADA in December last year declared the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to be non-compliant after being accused of manipulating testing data. The ban meant the…

Coronavirus in Russia: The Latest News | Nov. 1

Russia has confirmed 1,636,781 cases of coronavirus and 28,235 deaths. Nov. 1: What you need to know today Russia has confirmed 18,665 new cases and 245 new deaths. Over 150 patients were evacuated from a coronavirus hospital on Saturday in the Ural city of Chelyabinsk following an oxygen explosion and fire.  All of Russia’s regions are currently experiencing shortages of doctors to…

Russia Pledges Help to Yerevan if Fighting Reaches Armenia

Russia said Saturday it would provide “necessary” assistance to Yerevan in its conflict with Azerbaijan if fighting reached Armenian territory after its ally requested help. Earlier Saturday Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan formally asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to begin “urgent” consultations on security assistance in its conflict with Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.…

Russians Stock Up on Food, Essentials Amid Fears of Second Virus Lockdown – Survey

At least one-third of Russians are actively preparing for a second coronavirus lockdown despite officials’ continued assurances that there are no plans to enact stricter measures, the RBC news website cited a survey as saying Friday. Russia has seen record-breaking surges in new coronavirus infections over the past two months as the outbreak gradually shifts from…

Lukashenko Warns Belarus Protesters He Will ‘Take No Prisoners’

Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko ordered his security chiefs Friday to crack down on protesters and “take no prisoners” in his grimmest warning yet after months of demonstrations. The ex-Soviet nation has witnessed mass protests since the 66-year-old authoritarian leader claimed a landslide victory in August presidential elections that critics and Western leaders say was rigged.…

Belarus Briefing | Oct. 30

Belarus has seen weekly mass protests against the disputed presidential re-election of Alexander Lukashenko for nearly three months. On Monday, exiled Belarusian opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya called for a national strike after the deadline she set for Lukashenko to resign and free all political prisoners expired the previous day. Here’s more of the latest news…

‘May God Disfigure the Face of This Creature’: Russian MMA Star Nurmagomedov Joins Anti-Macron Chorus

Russian MMA fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov has joined a growing chorus of protests by prominent Muslims against French President Emmanuel Macron’s defense of secular values in the wake of two deadly terrorist attacks with a withering Instagram post. Macron became the target of widespread anger in the Islamic world for defending the display of cartoons of…

Coronavirus in Russia: The Latest News | Oct. 30

Russia has confirmed 1,599,976 cases of coronavirus and 27,656 deaths. Oct. 30: What you need to know today Russia confirmed 18,283 Covid-19 cases Friday, bringing its official number of cases to 1,599,976 and setting a new one-day record for infections. In the past 24 hours, 355 people have died.  All of Russia’s regions are currently experiencing shortages of doctors to…

Nagorno-Karabakh Briefing | Oct. 30

Azerbaijani forces were closing in on the key town of Shusha on Thursday evening — the capture of which could transform the conflict at a time when analysts fear a “war of attrition” could be about to set in as winter approaches the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region. Meanwhile talks in Geneva will attempt to move towards…

Russia ‘Open’ to Return of Armenia-Held Land to Azerbaijan – Putin

Russia is open to Azerbaijan reclaiming seven areas surrounding the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh that Armenia has controlled for 26 years, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday. Azerbaijani forces have been making gains against Armenian separatist fighters since the heaviest fighting since a 1994 ceasefire over the South Caucasus region erupted last month. The Armenia-controlled districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh,…

Nagorno-Karabakh Briefing | Oct. 29

Fighting continued Thursday in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region after the third attempt at a ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan — a U.S. brokered deal — fell apart within minutes of coming into effect earlier in the week. Oct. 29: What you need to know today The leader of Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh said Azerbaijani forces…

Belarus Briefing | Oct. 29

Belarus has seen weekly mass protests against the disputed presidential re-election of Alexander Lukashenko for nearly three months. On Monday, exiled Belarusian opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya called for a national strike after the deadline she set for Lukashenko to resign and free all political prisoners expired the previous day. Here’s more of the latest news…

Disgruntled Russian PR Exec Behind Key Steele Dossier Claims – WSJ

A disgruntled Russian PR executive had provided some of the key unverified allegations for a controversial report at the heart of 2016 U.S. election meddling claims known as the Steele dossier, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. British counterintelligence specialist Christopher Steele’s report that leaked in 2017 alleged, among other things, that Russian security services…