NEWSWATCH: “Russia hosts World Cup in heat of battle with West” – AFP

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

  “… Russia was a controversial choice when it was handed the rights to the world’s most watched event in a 2010 vote now tainted by bribery charges. … The years since have seen Moscow clash with the West over everything from Syria and Ukraine to the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in England. Russia was even banned […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russians Posed as ISIS Hackers to Threaten U.S. Military Wives; ‘Bloody Valentine’s Day!’ they wrote” – AP

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

“Army wife Angela Ricketts was soaking in a bubble bath in her Colorado home, leafing through a memoir, when a message appeared on her iPhone from hackers threatening to slaughter her family. … the women were targeted not by jihadists but by … [a] Russian hacking group ….”

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West, Russia ‘Share Interest’ In Afghan Stability, Top U.S. Commander Says

File Photo of U.S. NATO Troops Atop Ridge in Afghanistan

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 28, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/afghanistan-west-russia-share-interest-in-stability-top-u-s-commander-says/29197663.html) The West and Russia have a shared interest in Afghanistan’s stability, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has told RFE/RL. “We both share an interest in countering the terrorists who threaten our country and threaten Russia and threaten Central Asia,” General John […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Is Russia Sponsoring Terrorism?” – New York Times/Senator Cory Gardner

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“… The State Department should consider adding [Russia] to its list of state sponsors of terrorism, alongside its close allies Iran and Syria. … Russia has invaded … Georgia and Ukraine … supports the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad and our enemies in Afghanistan … is engaged in active information warfare against Western democracies, including meddling in the 2016 United […]

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NEWSLINK: Doctors ordered at gunpoint to deny Syria chemical attack or else their children will be killed; ‘Unless you give a testimony, doctor, that there wasn’t a gas attack, we’ll be killing your children'” – The Mirror (UK)/Andrew Gregory

Syria Map

“Unless you give a testimony, doctor, that there wasn’t a gas attack, we’ll be killing your children”

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British Media Regulator Probing RT’s Impartiality After Salisbury Poisoning

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 18, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/british-media-regulator-probing-rt-s-impartiality-after-salisbury-poisoning/29174828.html) Britain’s media watchdog has started probing whether Russian news channel RT broke impartiality rules in its programs after a former Russian double agent and his daughter were poisoned in the English city of Salisbury last month. Media regulator Ofcom warned on […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Frantic Parade of Lies” – Washington Post Editorial

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

“Russia longs to be taken seriously in matters of global affairs, but … Putin has demonstrated … disdain for the rules-based post-World War II order. What does Russia want instead? In two recent incidents involving the use of outlawed chemicals[, the assassination attempt on Skripal in Britain and a chemical weapons attack in Syria], Russia’s answer has been a frantic […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Trained ‘Special Units’ on Door Handle Poisonings, U.K. Says” – New York Times/Ellen Barry

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

“Russia has been researching the application of chemical agents to door handles as a way to assassinate its enemies, and has been training personnel ‘from special units’ to carry out such attacks, said Mark Sedwill, Britain’s national security adviser … in a letter to the secretary general of NATO. … Sedwill’s letter, the most detailed account of British intelligence on […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Expelling Russian Diplomats Isn’t Enough” – Atlantic Council/Jakub Janda

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“So far, twenty-eight nations have sent home more than 140 Russian diplomats and spies in a coordinated response to the Russian nerve agent assassination attempt in Salisbury, England. Symbolically, this unprecedented expulsion of Russian officials constitutes an important show of unity, but its practical impact in terms of hindering Russian subversion operations is limited. With the exception of the United […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Vladimir Putin timed Salisbury attack to get election boost, top U.S. intelligence official suggests” – The Daily Telegraph (UK)/Ben Riley-Smith

“… Putin timed the [assassination attempt on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK] to boost his support in the Russian election, one of America’s top intelligence officials has suggested. [Director of National Intelligence] Dan Coats … speaking at a briefing held by the Defence Writers Group, part of George Washington University …. [when a]sked about […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Poisoned Russian Agent Sergei Skripal Is Getting Better Fast, Hospital Says” – Reuters

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal is no longer in critical condition and his health is improving rapidly more than a month since he [and his daugter were] poisoned with a nerve agent …. Britain said they were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent first developed by the Soviet Union. Russia has denied it had anything to do with the first […]

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Interfax: Nebenzya: Skripal posed no threat to Russia

File Photo of UN Building with Flags

NEW YORK (UN). April 6 (Interfax) – Former colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) Sergei Skripal posed no threat to Russia, and Moscow had nothing to do with his poisoning, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya told the UN Security Council. “Clearly, he [Skripal] was no threat to Russia […] We have a number of questions. […]

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U.S. Reported Poised To Impose New Sanctions On Russian Billionaires

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 5, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/us-reported-poised-impose-new-sanctions-russian-billionaires/29146529.html) The United States plans to impose a new round of sanctions on Russia, this time targeting Russian billionaires with ties to President Vladimir Putin, media are reporting. Reuters and The Washington Post, citing U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity, said at […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Porton Down experts unable to identify ‘precise source’ of novichok that poisoned spy; The lab’s boss says a ‘state actor’ made the novichok and also rubbishes claims that it could have come from his facility.” – Sky News (UK)/Paul Kelso

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“… Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down, told Sky News they were not yet able to prove it was made in Russia. … ‘We were able to identify it as novichok, to identify that it was military-grade’ … he confirmed the substance required ‘extremely sophisticated methods to create, something only in […]

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NEWSLINK: “Was nerve agent spy poisoned by his breakfast? Police quiz daughter’s friend who brought £1 bag of cereal from Russia as a gift” – The Daily Mail (UK)

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

“Police quiz daughter’s friend who brought £1 bag of cereal from Russia as a gift; Yulia, 33, was asked by Sergei Skripal to bring home his favourite porridge; She forgot and instead asked a friend who was travelling later to buy it instead; Metropolitan Police have questioned the unnamed woman over buckwheat …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russian Professor Warns of Putin Hit list: ‘It’s Very Cold Warrish'” – Nina Khrushcheva

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

“Russian-American professor Nina Khrushcheva talked about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s retaliatory strategy against state enemies and warned that his hit list and weapons development program is reminiscent of Cold War tensions. …”  

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NEWSWATCH: “Poisoned Door Handle Hints at High-Level Plot to Kill Spy, U.K. Officials Say” – New York Times/Ellen Barry, David E. Sanger

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“British officials investigating the poisoning of Sergei V. Skripal … former Russian double agent, believe it is likely that an assassin smeared a nerve agent on the door handle at his home. … so risky and sensitive that it is unlikely to have been undertaken without approval from the Kremlin …. Skripal … was freed in a spy swap with […]

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RUSSIALINK: Interfax: “UK takes West’s anti-Russian campaign to new level with Skripal case – Zakharova”

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

[Interfax reports that Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, appearing on Russian television, has accused Britain of using the Skripal case to give a new boost to the anti-Russian campaign:] MOSCOW. March 31 (Interfax) – The United Kingdom has used the Skripal case to give a new boost to the anti-Russian campaign in the West; the absence of information and non-disclosure […]

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NEWSWATCH: “We must avoid new Cold War: German government’s Russia expert” – Reuters

EU Map

“Germany wants to keep up a dialogue with Moscow despite joining Western expulsions of Russian diplomats and must avoid a new Cold War, the German government’s coordinator for Russia said …. [EU] member Ireland [and]Moldova … joined the list of countries expelling Russian diplomats over the attack on [Sergei] Skripal, a former double agent. The list includes 22 EU states; […]

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NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “How will the global effort to expel diplomats affect Russia? [with Victoria Nuland and Paul Saunders]” – PBS Newshour

File Photo of Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., Adapted From Image at loc.gov

“Sixty Russian diplomats are being kicked out of the U.S. in a bid to punish the Kremlin for an attack on a former Russian spy in the UK. Is that the right response? Nick Schifrin gets reaction from two former State Department officials, Victoria Nuland of the Center for a New American Security and Paul Saunders of the Center for […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Russian expulsions are a good first step. But only a first step.” – Washington Post Editorial

File Photo of UN Building with Flags

“The United States joined with 19 other countries Monday in what was described as the largest-ever collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers. … the biggest: Sixty officials with diplomatic status … ordered out of the [United States] and the Russian consulate in Seattle was closed. … a needed response to the nerve-agent attack on a former spy and his daughter […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Tough Action on Russia, at Last, but More Is Needed” – New York Times Editorial

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“… expelling scores of Russians from the United States and 21 other countries … Trump and allied leaders have imposed the most significant punishment yet on Russia and … Putin. … Putin’s mischief … runs the gamut from interference in the elections in America and other Western democracies to propelling the wars in Ukraine and Syria. … The expulsion orders retaliate […]

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NEWSLINK: “Factbox: Diplomatic Moves Against Russia After Nerve Gas Attack” – Reuters

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“Following are diplomatic measures announced against #Russia by the United States, Canada, several EU countries and Ukraine in response to the poisoning of a former Russian double agent with military-grade nerve agent in the English town of Salisbury. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Trump Orders Expulsion of 60 Russians Over Poison Attack in Britain” – New York Times/KATIE ROGERS, EILEEN SULLIVAN

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials on Monday, joining a coordinated campaign by two dozen countries to retaliate for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain …. The mass expulsion of Russian personnel stationed in the United States was the largest ever, eclipsing even the darkest days of the global showdown with the Soviet Union. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Why did Russia poison one of its ex-spies in Britain?” – Washington Post.Maria Snegovaya

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

“With Putin returning to office after this election, Moscow appears poised to continue disrupting world politics for years to come.”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Wormed Its Way Into Access at Power Plants, U.S. Says; Cyberattacks Put Russian Fingers on the Switch at Power Plants, U.S. Says” – New York Times

Electrical Yard file photo

“The Trump administration accused Russia … of engineering a series of cyberattacks that targeted American and European nuclear power plants and water and electric systems, and could have sabotaged or shut power plants off at will. United States officials and private security firms saw the attacks as a signal by Moscow that it could disrupt the West’s critical facilities in […]

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RUSSIALINK Interfax: “Russia ready to probe Skripal’s poisoning together with UK – Nebenzya”

File Photo of UN Building with Flags

NEW YORK (UN). March 15 (Interfax) – Russia is not involved in the poisoning of former Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the United Kingdom and stands ready to investigate this situation together with the UK, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said. “Russia has nothing to do with this incident. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Stanford suspends all undergraduate programs in Russia” – The Stanford Daily/Nicholas Midler

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

“Stanford suspended all undergraduate study abroad programs to Russia, including a summer internship at the Carnegie Moscow Center, after the Department of State issued a Level Three travel advisory for the country. … the University prohibits undergraduates from participating in Stanford-sponsored or Stanford-organized trips to regions that have been issued an official travel advisory of Level Three or Level Four, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Spy chiefs ‘suspect Russia targeted ex-double agent with poison so rare military scientists still don’t know what it is'” – The Mirror (UK)

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

“A secret military lab in Porton Down has been unable to ‘definitively’ identify the substance – raising fears it could be the heavy metallic chemical Thallium”

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U.S. Urges Travelers To Reconsider Visiting Russia

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 11, 2018) The U.S. State Department listed Russia as one of the most dangerous countries to visit in a new travel advisory system released Wednesday, together with states including Sudan, Pakistan and Niger. The new four-tier advisory replaces the State Department’s travel warnings and alerts system and is based on seven risk factors including […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Toughens Penalty for Bomb Threats Plaguing Russia” – AP

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“… Putin has signed a law doubling the penalty for false reports of impending explosions or fire to a possible 10 years in prison. … Since September, authorities have received false bomb reports allegedly targeting more than 3000 structures in about 180 Russian cities. The subsequent building evacuations have sometimes caused severe traffic problems. A top Interior Ministry official said […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Declares St. Petersburg Blast Terrorism; Grocery store bombing injured 13; Russian president orders officials to act decisively to stop further attacks” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

St. Petersburg

“A bomb blast at a St. Petersburg grocery store [from a handmade explosive device] … injured 13 …. No one has claimed responsibility. … Until recently, Russia’s predominantly Muslim North Caucasus had seen almost daily violence from Islamic separatists …. Security measures and the departure of fighters to join Islamic State in Syria and Iraq has cut violence …. many […]

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RUSSIALINK: “[Putin] Telephone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump” – KremlinRu

File Photo of CIA Seal on Floor

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the United States Donald Trump. Vladimir Putin thanked Donald Trump for the information passed on by the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that helped detain the terrorists who plotted to set off explosions at Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg and other public places in the city. The information received from […]

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Russian Info War Against U.S., Far Broader than Last Year’s Elections, an Act of Terrorism, Latynina Says

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 12, 2017) Donald Trump’s on-again, off-again acceptance of Vladimir Putin’s claim that Moscow didn’t interfere in the 2016 US presidential elections has the effect, like the focus on Watergate during the Nixon Administration of distracting attention from something much larger and more evil. In the case of what has come to […]

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Putin Calls Ekho Moskvy Journalist’s Attacker a ‘Sick Person’

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 30, 2017) The man who stabbed a radio editor in Moscow last week was a “sick person” without political motives, President Vladimir Putin said Monday. Tatyana Felgenhauer, a deputy editor at the liberal-learning Ekho Moskvy radio station, was stabbed last week by a Russian-Israeli man believed to have mental health issues. Two state television […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia touts essential role in Syria’s advance against IS” – AFP

Syria Map

“… In addition to air strikes and reconnaissance, Russia has also dispatched special forces, de-mining experts, and military police officers across Syria. Pavel Felgenhauer, military observer for Novaya Gazeta newspaper, says more than 2,000 military advisers are also on the ground. ‘Some two million tonnes of military supplies have been shipped to Syria,’ he says, including Russian weapons systems like […]

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VIDEO NEWSWATCH: “The deadly risk of standing up to Putin” – PBS Newshour

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(PBS Newshour – July 13, 2017 – also appeared at pbs.org/newshour/bb/deadly-risk-standing-putin/) “What can happen to you if you oppose the Kremlin? There is a high mortality rate among prominent critics of the Russian government, which some say is emblematic of how President Vladimir Putin runs the country. As part of our week-long series Inside Putin’s Russia, special correspondent Nick Schifrin […]

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Russian investigators say Nemtsov not killed over religion

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – July 13, 2017) The Russian Investigations Committee has ruled out the theory that opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was murdered on religious, rather than financial grounds, its spokeswoman has said. “During the investigation there was an analysis of the testimonies of suspects Zaur Dadayev and Anzor Gubashev on how they committed the murder of Boris Nemtsov on grounds of […]

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VIDEO NEWSWATCH: “Why are so many from this Russian republic fighting for ISIS?” – PBS Newshour

Map of Russia Highlighting Dagestan

(PBS Newshour – July 12, 2017 – also appeared at pbs.org/newshour/bb/many-russian-republic-fighting-isis) “In the republic of Dagestan, a brutal separatist insurgency has long fought against the Russian state. Now, as many as 5,000 Dagestanis have left to fight for the Islamic State. Why have so many answered the call? As part of our week-long series Inside Putin’s Russia, special correspondent Nick […]

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NEWSLINK: “Terrorism and the Perils of ‘Russiagate.’ As Trump and Putin strive for an essential US-Russia alliance against international terrorism, American media frenzy, fueled by anonymous leaks, continues to thwart it.” – The Nation/ Stephen Cohen

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Cohen begins by reiterating his argument that international terrorism—a modern-day phenomenon that controls territory, has aspects of statehood, commands sizable fighting forces, has agents in many countries outside the Middle East, and is in search of radioactive materials that would make their bombings incalculably more lethal—is the No. 1 threat to the world today, including the United States, Europe, and […]

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NEWSLINK: “Afghanistan: No Way Forward” – Valdai Club/ Anatol Lieven

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

‘As the Afghan state becomes increasingly fragile as a result of internal divisions and the resurgence of the Taliban, its future prospects remain bleak. US-Russian cooperation on the issue remains unlikely ….”

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After the bomb: crisis management, Petersburg style; After last month’s metro attack, residents of St Petersburg remain defiant, if unruly.

Russia Map

(opendemocracy.net – Natalia Shkurenko – May 10, 2017) Natalia Shkurenok is a Saint-Petersburg based journalist, writing for The New Times, Snob, Colta, ArtNews Paper and Novaya Gazeta. Dozens of casualties, an unprecedented collapse of the city’s public transport system and arrests of people of “non-Slavic appearance” – these are the obvious consequences of the Petersburg metro attack on 3 April. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Gambles in Afghanistan – Again Moscow’s overtures with the Taliban risk destabilizing the region and antagonizing military superpowers” – Moscow Times/ Artemy Kalinovsky

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“… In recent weeks, senior U.S. military officials have accused the Russian government of providing support to the Taliban, the militant group still waging a bloody insurgency against the government in Afghanistan. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin Critic Navalny Says Russia Stops Him Traveling Abroad” – Reuters

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said … authorities in Russia were stopping him [from] going abroad to seek urgent medical treatment after an attack that left him mostly blind in one eye.  … authorities … unexpectedly issued … an international passport … [giving] the impression he could fly to a foreign clinic to get treatment …. But he said a senior official from the country’s prison […]

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Russian Police Probe Radical Pro-Kremlin Group Over Navalny Attack

Kremlin and River

(RFE/RL– rferl.org – May 5, 2017) The leader of a radical pro-Kremlin group says police plan to question him and his colleagues over an attack on Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny that has impaired his eyesight. Igor Beketov, leader of a group calling itself the South East Radical Block (SERB), told RFE/RL on May 5 that Moscow police contacted him […]

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NEWSWATCH: Re: Attack on Kyiv activist – Jeffrey Burds/ Facebook

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

[Jeffrey Burds reported on Facebook about the stabbing of university student and activist Stas Sergienko in Ukraine. An initial post is embedded below. Further information here: facebook.com/jeffrey.burds?hc_ref=NEWSFEED&fref=nf] “URGENT: I have very sad news to report. This afternoon, 20 April 2017, our friend and outspoken activist in Kyiv, a young university student Stas Sergienko was followed by a ‘Nazi gang’ and stabbed multiple times. Thankfully, Stas survived–after emergency […]

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The Man Who Definitely Didn’t Kill Boris Nemtsov; As the murder trial comes to an end, Vladimir Putin seals his political pact with Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Mikhail Fishman, Daria Litvinova – April 20, 2017) [Videos here themoscowtimes.com/articles/the-man-who-definitely-didnt-kill-boris-nemtsov-57779] There was something off about the latest meeting between Vladimir Putin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. In footage released by the Kremlin on Thursday, neither man seemed at ease, with Kadyrov looking around confusedly, and Putin fidgeting slightly in his seat. Compare this scene […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Did St. Petersburg bombing bring Russia’s Syria intervention back home?” – Christian Science Monitor/ Fred Weir

St. Petersburg

“Though #Russia has been dealing with #terrorism for many years, it has mostly been rooted in domestic conflicts in the Caucasus. But Monday’s deadly bombing of a St. Petersburg metro seems likely linked to Russia’s involvement in Syria’s civil war. … analysts say that the identification of the bomber as Kyrgyz-born Akbarzhon Dzhalilov, from the turbulent central Asian city of […]

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