Trump Officials Rush to Turkey as Russia Advances to Fill Syria Void From U.S. Retreat

The Trump administration dispatched its top officials to Turkey on Wednesday for emergency talks to try to persuade Ankara to halt an assault on northern Syria, while Russian troops swept into territory abandoned by Washington in a sudden retreat. Robert O’Brien, White House national security adviser since last month, arrived in Turkey aiming to meet Foreign…

Russia Considers Banning Foreign Companies from Renewable Energy Projects

Russia is considering banning foreign companies from taking a lead role in designing and building the country’s green energy infrastructure, Russian daily Vedomosti said on Wednesday. New proposals currently being discussed would block contracts for new wind and solar farms, along with other renewable energy production projects, from being awarded to non-Russian entities. Analysts say…

Russia Mulls Formation of Kremlin-Run ‘Green Party’ – RBC

A growing chorus of voices expressing environmental concerns has prompted the Russian government to consider setting up a “Green Party” controlled by the Kremlin, the RBC news website reported Wednesday. President Vladimir Putin’s administration has been jolted into action by Russia’s nascent climate protest movement and frustration with nationwide waste-collection reforms, which critics warned would…

Russia Doles Out First ‘Fake News’ Fine Over Moscow Protest Interviews

A Moscow court on Tuesday handed down Russia’s first fine for spreading “fake news” against an online media outlet over its interviews about this summer’s Moscow opposition rallies. President Vladimir Putin signed legislation into law this year that fines online media for spreading “fake news.” Observers warned that the “fake news” and “disrespect for authority”…

Chechen Leader’s Inner Circle Being Held, Tortured in Secret Prisons – Novaya Gazeta

Senior officials and their relatives in the North Caucasus republic of Chechnya are being held and tortured in secret prisons in the region, the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported Monday. The crackdown is targeting officials deemed to be showing disrespect and disloyalty toward Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and his family, Novaya Gazeta reported, citing unnamed…

Kremlin Envoy Calls Turkish Military Operation in Syria ‘Unacceptable’

The Kremlin’s envoy for Syria on Tuesday called Turkey’s military offensive in northeast Syria “unacceptable” and denied Ankara’s operation had been cleared by Moscow in advance, Russian news agencies reported. Alexander Lavrentiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s envoy for Syria, was speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi during an official visit there by Putin. He made…

Russia Says ‘Unacceptable’ Turkish Incursion Into Syria Must Be Temporary

Russia called Turkey’s military incursion into northeast Syria “unacceptable” and said on Tuesday the operation had to be limited in time and scale, a rare broadside that suggests Moscow’s patience with Ankara is wearing thin. In Russia‘s strongest criticism since Turkey launched its military operation last week, President Vladimir Putin’s envoy for Syria indicated Moscow…

Moscow Considers More Tax Breaks for Crimea

Crimea could be set for a fresh round of tax breaks and investment incentives to support the annexed peninsula’s tourism industry, according to Russian daily Kommersant. An influential business group founded by the Kremlin has called on the government to give tax breaks on land, real estate and utilities to Crimean businesses, while also offering…

Russian Universities Named the Best in Eastern Europe

Three Russian universities topped a list of the best universities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia compiled by British education marketing company Quacquarelli Symonds.  Lomonosov Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University and Novosibirsk State University took the top three spots, while Tomsk State University, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and the Higher…

Putin’s Dollar Dump Costs Russia $8Bln

The first year of President Vladimir Putin’s experiment in diversifying away from the U.S. dollar cost Russia about $7.7 billion in potential returns. Russia’s central bank added exposure to underperforming currencies such as the euro and yuan just as it missed out on a 6.5% rally in the greenback.  If it had maintained the previous…

New Wave of Police Searches Targets Allies of Opposition Leader Navalny Across Russia

Police searched the homes of opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s supporters in at least 12 Russian cities overnight following mass raids last month, the police-monitoring website OVD-Info reported Tuesday. News of the latest wave of early-morning home searches came from cities including Yekaterinburg, Krasnodar in the south and Arkhangelsk in the north. Police carried out more…

Russia Is Bombing Syrian Hospitals – NYT

Russian jets have repeatedly bombed Syrian hospitals, including at least four in one day this spring, The New York Times reported, citing intercepted Russian Air Force radio recordings, witness accounts and data gathered by plane spotters. Western states have accused Russia and its ally Syria of targeting civilians in northwest Syria, a charge that Moscow…

Putin Says Trump Not to Blame for Lack of Improvement in Russia-U.S. Ties

Moscow is not blaming U.S. President Donald Trump for failing to improve U.S.-Russian relations, a pledge he had made during his election campaign, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Arab broadcasters. “We know that, including during his previous election campaign, he spoke in favor of a normalization (of U.S.-Russia relations), but unfortunately it has…

U.S. Senator Told Russian Prank Callers He’s ‘Sympathetic’ to Turkey in Kurdish Row

A pair of notorious Russian pranksters duped U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham into telling them this summer that he supported Turkey’s stance against Kurdish separatists in marked contrast to his public statements, according to audio of their phone talks published Friday. Turkey launched a military operation Wednesday against Kurdish fighters in Syria as U.S. Republicans condemned President…

What Ukraine’s Zelenskiy Said About Russia During His Marathon Press Conference

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday held a marathon 14-hour press conference with journalists in a Kiev food court.  During the event, which reportedly set a record for the world’s longest press conference, Zelenskiy answered more than 500 questions about topics ranging from the Trump-Zelenskiy phone call to his relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.…

Giuliani Associates Charged With Illegally Funneling Russian Money to Pro-Trump Group

Two foreign-born Florida businessmen who have helped President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani investigate political rival Joe Biden were arrested in a scheme to illegally funnel money to a pro-Trump election committee and other U.S. political candidates, prosecutors said on Thursday. The arrest of Ukraine-born Lev Parnas and Belarus-born Igor Fruman at an airport…

Kremlin Critic Navalny Debates Populism, Greta Thunberg and Russia’s Future at Nemtsov Forum

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny took part in a debate outside Russia for the first time at the annual Boris Nemtsov Forum in Poland on Wednesday. The forum, named after the Russian opposition politician who was murdered in 2015, aims to facilitate discussions between Russia and the West. Curated by Nemtsov’s daughter, journalist Zhanna Nemtsova,…