Russia Discusses Ukraine in String of Calls with Defense Chiefs

Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Sunday held rare calls with NATO counterparts in which they discussed Ukraine, the Russian defence ministry said. “The situation in Ukraine, which has a steady tendency towards further, uncontrolled escalation, was discussed,” by Shoigu and French Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu, the ministry said. Later on Sunday, the ministry said…

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Ukraine Says Russia’s ‘Dirty Bomb’ Claims are ‘Absurd’ and ‘Dangerous’

Ukraine on Sunday denied it was planning to use a “dirty bomb” against Russian forces, as Moscow’s defence minister suggested during telephone calls with NATO counterparts. “Russian lies about Ukraine allegedly planning to use a ‘dirty bomb’ are as absurd as they are dangerous”, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on social media. “Firstly, Ukraine is…

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Russia Discusses Ukraine in Calls with France, Turkey

Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu held phone calls Sunday with his French and Turkish counterparts, during which they discussed Ukraine, the Russian defence ministry said. “The situation in Ukraine, which has a steady tendency towards further, uncontrolled escalation, was discussed,” by Shoigu and France’s Sebastien Lecornu, the ministry said. Later on Sunday, the ministry said…

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Chocolate Potatoes for Dessert

One of the rites of culinary passage for foreigners in Russia is the first time they are introduced to a “chocolate potato,” one of the iconic dishes of Soviet cuisine. It was served in restaurants and student cafeterias, and often made at home. Made of crushed dry cookies or breadcrumbs mixed with butter, condensed milk…

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Pro-Russian Authorities Tell Kherson Residents to Leave ‘Immediately’

Pro-Russian authorities in the Ukrainian region of Kherson, which Russia claims to have annexed, urged those remaining in the north of the province to leave “immediately” in the face of Kyiv’s advancing counteroffensive on Saturday. The recommendation to evacuate came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia launched 36 rockets overnight in a “massive attack”…

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Explainer: What’s Behind the Russian Evacuations in Kherson?

Russian forces have been moving thousands of civilians in the occupied southern Ukrainian region of Kherson over the Dnipro River and deeper into Russian-occupied territory this week.  The evacuations, announced by the region’s Kremlin-installed governor Vladimir Saldo, followed warnings from Moscow that Kyiv’s southern counteroffensive meant the regional capital, Kherson, could be recaptured.  But Kyiv…

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Russian Defense Minister, U.S. Counterpart Discuss Ukraine in Rare Phone Call

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu spoke by phone to U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin about topics including the war in Ukraine, Moscow’s Defense Ministry said on its official Telegram channel Friday. “Current international security matters were discussed, including the situation in Ukraine,” the ministry said, without providing further details. The phone call marks the first confirmed…

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‘Catastrophic Illiteracy’: Moscow Reacts to Truss Resignation

Russia reacted to the resignation of British Prime Minister Liz Truss on Thursday by calling the short-serving British premier a “disgrace.” “Britain has never known such a disgrace of a prime minister,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova wrote on her Telegram channel. “She will be remembered for her catastrophic illiteracy,” Zakharova added. Truss was…

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Wagner Mercenary Chief Says Launching ‘People’s Militia’ Near Ukraine Border

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Kremlin-linked magnate who leads the notorious Wagner mercenary group, said Wednesday that the private military contractor was “forming a people’s militia” in Russia’s Belgorod region on the Ukrainian border. According to Prigozhin, “several сompanies” were producing “required items for fortifications,” while Wagner instructors were training “citizens who will defend the region’s borders.”…

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Vodka Gift: Berlusconi in Fresh Row Over Putin Ties

Italy’s ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi was under fresh scrutiny Wednesday over his friendship with Vladimir Putin after being recorded describing a birthday present of vodka from the Russian leader and expressing concerns about arming Ukraine. His aides insisted he had been misrepresented, but the row risks embarrassing Berlusconi’s coalition allies, led by far-right leader Giorgia Meloni,…

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Ukraine War Pushing Russia Toward Demographic ‘Reckoning’ – Bloomberg

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its “partial” military mobilization are pushing the country’s population decline to a historic precipice, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.  President Vladimir Putin has made reversing Russia’s demographic crisis a key goal and his government aimed to start stabilizing the country’s declining population numbers this year. Mass war casualties, Putin’s “partial” mobilization of 300,000…

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Estonian MPs Declare Russia a ‘Terrorist Regime’

Estonian lawmakers on Tuesday condemned Moscow’s annexation of Ukrainian territory and declared Russia a “terrorist regime.” The statement was adopted by 88 votes in favor in the country’s 101-seat legislature. Ten MPs were absent and three abstained. The parliament “declares Russia a terrorist regime and the Russian Federation a country that supports terrorism,” the statement…

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Russia Makes Latest Arrest for ‘Cooperating With Foreign State’

​​Russia has handed down one of its first criminal cases on secretly working with a foreign government to undermine national security to a Moscow resident, Interfax reported Tuesday.  Lawmakers criminalized “confidential” cooperation with foreign individuals, states or organizations in June, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine plunged the country into isolation and catalyzed a historic crackdown…

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The Paradox of Pelmeni

Pelmeni are a paradoxical dish. Although Siberian pelmeni most likely came from China originally — from famous New Year’s dumplings called jiaozi — their name — pelmeni — is from the group of Finno-Ugric languages. They are considered a “national Russian dish,” although up to the mid-19th century or even later pelmeni were a truly…

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