Russia Vows to Defend ‘Traditional Values’ Against ‘Gay Propaganda’

Russia on Wednesday vowed to defend its “traditional” values against threats from the United States and so-called “gay propaganda” in a document signed by President Vladimir Putin. The presidential decree, setting out official policy and entering force immediately, stresses the importance of “traditional values as the basis of Russian society.” It warns that Moscow must…

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Deputy Head of Russian-Occupied Kherson Region Dies in Car Crash

Updates with reaction and details.  Kirill Stremousov, the vocal deputy head of the Moscow-installed administration in the occupied Kherson region of Ukraine was killed Wednesday in an apparent car accident, according to local officials.   Stremousov, known for his strongly anti-Ukrainian rhetoric, died near the town of Henichesk, Russian pro-war blogger Semyon Pegov wrote on Telegram.…

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‘Propaganda Show’: Russia Struggles to Integrate Annexed Ukrainian Regions

Russia has made little progress in absorbing four partially occupied areas of eastern and southern Ukraine that it annexed with great fanfare in September, analysts told The Moscow Times, as intensifying military activity and political challenges hinder integration. Aligning economies and political administrations has been stymied by local resistance, including assassination attempts on Russian-appointed officials. …

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Uzbek Officials Press EU to Lift Sanctions on Putin Ally Usmanov – FT

Uzbek officials have been using meetings with the European Union to lobby for the lifting of sanctions on Russian-Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov and his sister Gulbakhor Ismailova, the Financial Times reported Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the talks.  The Central Asian country has also signaled readiness to assist the tycoon in his legal action against the…

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Russian Audiences Held ‘Hostage’ By Mock Ukrainian Soldiers in Pro-War Play

Theatergoers south of Moscow were held “hostage” and shot at by actors playing Ukrainian soldiers during an immersive play that glorifies Russia’s invasion of its neighbor, local media reported Tuesday. Opening scenes from the production titled “Polite People” showed actors dressed in Ukrainian military uniforms violently capturing audience members and shooting them with what appeared to…

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Wagner Mercenary Group Hosts Pro-War Lectures for Schoolchildren

The Russian mercenary organization Wagner Group hosted a series of pro-war lectures for schoolchildren in its newly opened headquarters in St. Petersburg, Telegram news channel SOTA reported on Tuesday.  A SOTA video of the event shows a group of bored-looking school children listening to various speeches justifying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including some delivered via…

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German Authorities Seize $5M Art Collection From Oligarch’s Superyacht

German police have confiscated 30 paintings owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported Monday.  The collection, whose value is estimated at 5 million euros ($4.9 million), includes works by renowned artists including Marc Chagall. The works had been displayed on Usmanov’s $600 million superyacht, Dilbar, until 2021, when they were…

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Kremlin Proxies Say Electricity Restored in Ukraine’s Kherson

Kremlin-installed authorities in Ukraine’s southern region of Kherson said Tuesday that power had been fully restored to its main city, after blaming Kyiv for attacks that disrupted water and electricity supplies. Kherson city was the first urban hub to be captured by Russia after Moscow announced its “special military operation” in February and it has suffered outages…

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Russian Army Endorses Return of Soviet-Era School Military Training – Reports

Russia’s Defense Ministry supports reinstating Soviet-era basic military training in high schools, pro-Kremlin media reported Tuesday, citing correspondence between lawmakers and army officers. Russia retired the so-called “initial military training” program — which taught teens to respond to a nuclear or chemical attack, provide first aid and handle firearms — in 1993. Several attempts to revive…

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Russia, U.S. Eye Nuclear Arms Reduction Talks in Coming Weeks – Kommersant

Russia and the United States are discussing resuming nuclear arms reduction negotiations in the coming weeks in the first face-to-face contact since Russian forces invaded Ukraine, the Kommersant business daily reported Tuesday, citing three unnamed sources. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) talks could take place in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, instead of their traditional…

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North Korea Dismisses as ‘Groundless’ U.S. Claims of Arms Supplies to Russia: State Media

North Korea said Tuesday that claims by the United States that Pyongyang is supplying artillery ammunition to Moscow for its war in Ukraine were groundless, state media KCNA reported.  The rebuke comes amid heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula after a spate of North Korean weapons tests last week — including an intercontinental ballistic missile…

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Putin-Linked Businessman Admits U.S. Elections ‘Interference’ in Statement

Influential Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is linked to President Vladimir Putin and sanctioned by Washington and European countries, admitted on Monday to interfering in U.S. elections. “Gentlemen, we interfered, we are interfering and we will interfere,” Prigozhin, who has been accused of running a “troll factory” to influence the outcome of votes in several…

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Elite Russian Marine Unit Slams Military Leaders for ‘Baffling’ Battle Losses

An elite Russian naval infantry unit has blasted its superiors’ decision-making after suffering massive losses in what its members called a “baffling” assault on an eastern Ukrainian village, pro-war reporters said Sunday. Russian forces launched an offensive on the Ukrainian garrison in Pavlivka southwest of Donetsk on Nov. 2 to seize control of a key…

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No Electricity, Water in Kherson after Kyiv Strike: Moscow-Installed Authorities

Ukraine’s Moscow-occupied southern city of Kherson was cut off from electricity and water supplies after a Kyiv strike on nearby power lines, Russian-installed authorities said Sunday. “In Kherson and a number of other areas in the region, there is temporarily no electricity or water supply,” the city’s Moscow-installed administration said on Telegram.  It said it…

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Iran Admits Sending Russia Drones

Iran admitted for the first time on Saturday that it has sent drones to Russia, but insisted they were supplied to its ally before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “We supplied Russia with a limited number of drones months before the war in Ukraine,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said, quoted by the official news agency…

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Russian Strikes Leave 4.5 Million Without Power in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of “energy terrorism” on Thursday night, after renewed strikes on the country’s energy infrastructure left some 4.5 million people without power. “Tonight, about 4.5 million consumers have been temporarily disconnected from energy consumption,” Zelensky said in his daily evening address. “The very fact that Russia is resorting to energy…

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UN Reports ‘Progress’ on Talks to Allow Russian Fertilizer Exports

Negotiations underway to unblock exports of fertilizer from Russia have made “important steps forward,” one of the main United Nations negotiators said on Thursday, while acknowledging that there was still a way to go. Russian grain and fertilizer exports continue to face issues over sanctions imposed after the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, despite two agreements…

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Russian Flag Disappears from Kherson Administration in First Signal of Potential Retreat

The Russian flag hanging in front of the regional administration in Ukraine’s occupied Kherson region has been taken down, pro-Russian Telegram channels said Thursday. “I drove up to the building of the former government of the Kherson region; I confirm that there is no [Russian] flag over it,” pro-Kremlin war correspondent Alexander Kots said on…

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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…

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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…

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Russian Military Discussed Nuclear Weapons Use in Ukraine – NYT

Russian military officials recently met to talk about the potential use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing U.S. intelligence. Washington learned last month of the conversations, which did not include Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the newspaper.  U.S. officials did not disclose the possible scenarios in which…

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