Russian Officials Mull Seizure of Zelensky’s Crimean Apartment

The Russian authorities in annexed Crimea said Thursday they are considering nationalizing Ukrainian-owned property on the peninsula, including an $800,000 apartment owned by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. A commission is currently compiling a list of properties owned by “unfriendly” foreign individuals and states that could be subject to nationalization, Vladimir Konstantinov, the head of Crimea’s…

Dutch Owner to Sell Russian Telecoms Firm Vimpelcom

The Dutch firm that owns Russian telecoms operator Vimpelcom will sell its Russian operations, the company announced Wednesday, reportedly due to the growing complications of Western sanctions. Vimpelcom, which operates popular Russian phone and internet provider Beeline, has been owned by Netherlands-based multinational Veon, formerly Vimpelcom Ltd., since 2009. Veon is now “conducting a competitive…

‘I Don’t Trust What They Say’: Russian Draft Dodgers Stay in Hiding Even as Putin Announces Mobilization’s End

Nikita moved to his family’s summer cottage outside the Russian capital to lie low after President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial” mobilization for the war in Ukraine.  Although Putin said earlier this week that mobilization was over, Nikita told The Moscow Times that he has no plans yet to return to his normal life in…

Putin Orders Unilateral Visa-Free Travel

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered to allow visa-free travel from countries regardless of their visa policies toward Russian citizens. A Kremlin decree dated Oct. 30 instructs Putin’s cabinet to facilitate visa-free tourism, business, educational, sports and cultural travel even if these countries require visas for Russians to visit. Ukraine, for example, introduced visa requirements…

North Korea, Russia End 2-Year Hiatus in Railway Trade

North Korea and Russia have resumed cross-border railway trade, ending a two-year hiatus caused by Covid-19 border restrictions, media reported Wednesday. Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that the first freight train carrying 30 thoroughbred horses has departed for the country’s only border crossing with North Korea, Khasan-Tumangang. Russian federal customs service data viewed by The…

Putin Demands ‘Real Guarantees’ From Kyiv Before Restoration of Grain Deal

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday that he wanted “real guarantees” from Kyiv before potentially rejoining the grain deal.  In a phone call, Putin told Erdogan that Russia sought “real guarantees from Kyiv about the strict observance of the Istanbul agreement, in particular about not using the humanitarian corridor…

Russian Court Fines Wikipedia Over Ukraine Content

A Russian court on Tuesday fined Wikipedia 2 million roubles ($32,600) over articles related to Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine. A Moscow-based group that supports projects by Wikipedia’s owner Wikimedia said it was fined by Moscow’s Tagansky district court for refusing to remove two articles related to Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine. Vladimir Medeiko, director of…

Kremlin Accuses U.K. of ‘Directing and Coordinating’ Nord Stream Blasts

The Kremlin on Tuesday accused Britain of “directing and coordinating” explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipelines. “Our intelligence services have data indicating that British military specialists were directing and coordinating the attack,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. “There is evidence that Britain is involved in sabotage, in a terrorist attack on vital energy…

Russia Targets Ukrainian Energy Infrastructure in New Strikes

Russia’s military said it successfully hit several Ukrainian energy infrastructure facilities in the latest round of missile strikes fired at the war-torn country Monday.  “The Russian Armed Forces continued to launch strikes with high-precision long-range air and sea-based weapons against Ukrainian military and energy facilities,” the Defense Ministry said in an update on its Telegram…

Bridgestone Seeks Local Buyer for Russian Business

Japanese tiremaker Bridgestone said Monday it was seeking a local buyer for its business in Russia due to “general uncertainty and the ongoing supply issues” in that country. The company suspended manufacturing activities in Russia and exports to the country in March — shortly after Moscow invaded Ukraine — while freezing new investments, it said. Bridgestone said in a…

Finnish Police: Weapons Bound For Ukraine End Up on Europe’s Black Market

Police in Finland have raised the alarm over the smuggling of Western-donated weapons from Ukraine by criminal gangs, Finland’s Yle broadcaster reported Sunday. Weapons originally sent as military aid to Ukraine including assault rifles, pistols, grenades and combat drones, had been found in multiple European countries, Christer Ahlgren, head of organized crime at the Finnish…

Putin Congratulates Brazil’s Lula on Election Win, Says Hopes for ‘Cooperation’

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Monday after the leftist ex-president narrowly won a divisive runoff against far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. “The results of the vote have confirmed your high political authority,” Putin said in a telegram published by the Kremlin after Brazilian electoral officials called the election for…

‘It’s a Meat Grinder’: Fighting Rages in Eastern Ukraine as Russian Forces Eye Bakhmut

The battle for the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut has intensified as Russian troops led by the murky Wagner mercenary group relentlessly exchange artillery fire with Ukrainian forces in their attempt to seize the small but strategically important city.  The fighting, which has grown increasingly deadly in recent days, underscores Russia’s desperation to declare a…