Russian Army Says Killed ‘Up to 200 Militants’ in Syria Bombing

Russia’s Defense Ministry said Monday it had killed “up to 200 fighters” in Syria during airstrikes on a “terrorist” base northeast of Palmyra, where fighters were planning attacks ahead of presidential polls next month. “After confirming data through multiple channels on the location of terrorist facilities, Russian Aerospace Forces aircraft carried out airstrikes,” the ministry…

Billionaire Deripaska Walks Back Criticism of Russia’s Poverty Figures

Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska on Monday softened his criticism of federal poverty statistics to instead praise President Vladimir Putin’s government for supporting workers and small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. In his initial Telegram post, Deripaska accused state statistics service Rosstat of under-reporting the number of Russians living in poverty. “They are trying to convince us…

EU Warns 150K Russian Troops Massed Around Ukraine

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Monday that Russia has massed over 150,000 troops along the Ukrainian border and in the annexed Crimea peninsula. “It is the highest Russian military deployment at Ukrainian borders ever,” Borrell told journalists after talks involving Ukraine’s foreign minister, refusing to disclose the source of the figure. “The risk of further…

Putin Will Address International Climate Summit Via Video Link – Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin will on April 22 address an international climate summit hosted by the United States, the Kremlin said Monday, despite a sharp deterioration in ties between Moscow and Western capitals. “Vladimir Putin will outline Russia’s approaches within the context of establishing broad-ranging international cooperation aimed at overcoming the negative consequences of global climate…

U.S. Urges Airlines to Exercise ‘Extreme Caution’ Near Russia-Ukraine Border

The United States’ aviation authority has warned airlines to exercise “extreme caution” when flying over areas near the Russia-Ukraine border as tensions surge over Russia’s military buildup and renewed clashes in eastern Ukraine. Tensions between Moscow and Kiev have escalated in recent weeks following an uptick in fighting between Ukraine’s army and pro-Russia separatists in…

Russia Says Expulsion of Diplomats from Prague ‘Provocative’

The Kremlin on Monday denounced the “provocative and unfriendly” expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats from the Czech Republic who were accused by authorities in Prague of spying. “We categorically do not agree with these conclusions,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, describing the Czech move as “provocative and unfriendly.” Czech authorities on Saturday said they…

2 Coronavirus Mutations Forming in Russia – Official

Russian epidemiologists have detected two mutated strains of the coronavirus within the country but said they aren’t necessarily deadlier or more contagious, the head of state consumer protection watchdog Rospotrebnadzor announced Monday.  “We are seeing the formation of a Siberian version and the formation of a northwestern version” of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes coronavirus…

Moscow Summons Czech Envoy After ‘Unprecedented’ Expulsions

Russia on Sunday said it would retaliate against the Czech government’s “unprecedented” decision to expel 18 Russian diplomats identified as secret agents and summoned the Czech ambassador. “We will take retaliatory measures that will force the authors of this provocation to understand their full responsibility for destroying the basis of normal relations between our countries,”…

U.S. Warns of ‘Consequences’ if Putin Critic Navalny Dies

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan warned Sunday that Russia will face “consequences” if hunger-striking Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny dies. Jailed opposition leader Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent opponent, was arrested in January upon returning to Russia after recovering from a near-fatal poisoning attack he says was orchestrated by Moscow. “In terms of the…

Russia, Ukraine Expel Diplomats as Tensions Soar

Russia on Saturday said it would expel a Ukrainian diplomat, prompting an immediate pledge of retaliation from Kiev, further escalating tensions over Moscow’s troop build-up on Ukraine’s eastern flank. The detention of a Ukrainian consul in the second city St. Petersburg comes at a time of global concern of a repeat of Moscow’s 2014 aggression, when Russia annexed…

Russian Prosecutors Seek to Label Navalny Groups as ‘Extremist’

Russian prosecutors on Friday asked a Moscow court to designate the network of regional offices of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) as “extremist organizations.” “Under the disguise of liberal slogans, these organizations are engaged in creating conditions for the destabilization of the social and socio-political situation,” the Moscow prosecutor’s office…

Russian Markets Shrug Off New Sanctions

Russian financial markets have shrugged off the latest round of sanctions announced by the U.S. on Thursday, with the Russian ruble and stock markets bouncing back strongly in Friday trading. The ruble — which saw trading volumes five times higher than usual ahead of the sanctions announcement — recovered two days of losses to stand…

U.S. Intel Has ‘Low to Moderate’ Confidence in Reports of Russia-Taliban Bounties

The U.S. intelligence community cannot conclusively say that Russian spies offered Taliban militants bounties to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, the White House said Thursday. Spokesperson Jen Psaki spoke of “low to moderate confidence” in the 2020 reports of the cash incentives based on anonymous sources as Washington widened sanctions on Russia for election interference…

Prominent Academics, Media Figures Show Support for Raided Russian Journalists

Nearly 300 international academics and a popular Russian YouTuber have expressed solidarity with Russian journalists recently subjected to police raids amid widening pressure on independent media. The letters of support and calls for donations came after four editors of independent student news site DOXA were charged with criminal incitement of youth and investigative journalist Roman Anin…

Ukraine Slams Russia’s ‘Open’ Threats Ahead of France, Germany Meeting

Kiev on Thursday accused Russia of flagrantly threatening Ukraine with destruction ahead of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s meeting with the leaders of Germany and France. The concern is mounting that the long-simmering conflict in east Ukraine could spiral back into wider fighting after reports of major Russian troop movements and intensification of clashes with Moscow-backed separatists.…

Russians Form Long Queues at Turkish Airlines’ Moscow Office as Flight Restrictions Begin

Long lines of would-be tourists have formed outside Turkish Airlines’ Moscow office on Thursday as people seek refunds for canceled bookings, local media reported.  Russia suspended most flights with Turkey from April 15-June 1 earlier this week, shutting over 500,000 Russian tourists out of the popular holiday destination.  Videos posted to social media showed dozens…

Russia Summons U.S. Envoy for ‘Harsh Talks’ on New Sanctions

Russia has summoned U.S. Ambassador to Moscow John Sullivan for “harsh talks” after Washington widened economic sanctions and ordered diplomatic expulsions in retaliation to what it calls Moscow’s malign behavior, Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced Thursday. Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the ministry would like to speak with Sullivan less than an hour after President Joe Biden…

Argentina Says Russia’s Covid-19 Vaccine More Effective Than Chinese, Indian Competitors

Argentina’s health ministry has said Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is more effective at preventing coronavirus infections than its Chinese and Indian competitors, the South American country’s media reported Wednesday. Argentina has so far distributed the first doses of Sputnik V among 2.6 million recipients, China’s Sinopharm among 1.2 million and India’s Covishield among more than…

Navalny Ally Sobol Sentenced for Visiting Alleged FSB Poisoner’s Apartment

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s close associate Lyubov Sobol was sentenced to a year of community service Thursday for visiting the apartment of an alleged security agent implicated in his poisoning. Sobol was detained in December when she appeared outside the home of alleged Federal Security Service (FSB) chemical weapons expert Konstantin Kudryavtsev. Navalny and the…

U.S.-Funded RFE/RL to Move Staff Out of Russia Over Crippling ‘Foreign Agent’ Fines – BBC

The U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) news outlet has offered some of its staff the opportunity to leave Russia as it faces crippling “foreign agent” fines, BBC Russia reported Wednesday. The move comes after Russia fined RFE/RL nearly $1 million for violating tagging requirements related to its “foreign agent” designation. Russia’s newly tightened “foreign…