Russia denying U.S. diplomats access to detained investor: embassy

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The United States said on Thursday that Russia had failed to grant its diplomats access to detained U.S. national Michael Calvey a week after the founder of Baring Vostok private equity group was detained in Moscow. The U.S. embassy said in a statement it had asked multiple times to visit Calvey in custody but had not received […]

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Putin, faced with ratings slump, offers Russians financial sweeteners

MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin offered a raft of financial sweeteners on Wednesday to hard-pressed Russians after opinion polls showed trust in him has fallen to a 13-year low and almost half the population believe the country is on the wrong track. In his annual speech to the Russian political elite, Putin set out how he planned to raise […]

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Russian Sukhoi fighter jet shot down in Syria's Idlib

The downing of the aircraft has been claimed by Tahrir al-Sham, a group spearheaded by the former al-Nusra Front. Syrian rebels have shot down a Russian warplane in north-western Idlib province on Saturday, the Russian defence ministry has confirmed. The pilot of the aircraft, a Sukhoi 25, reportedly used his ejection seat after his plane was hit by a man-carried […]

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Russia warns United States against intervention in Venezuela

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against any interference, including military, into Venezuela’s internal affairs, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement following a phone call between the two. Lavrov said that Russia was ready for consultations about Venezuela in line with the United Nations charter. Lavrov also criticized plans […]

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Bulgaria examines possible link between Skripal, Sofia poisonings

SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria is investigating a possible link between a nerve-agent attack on a former Russian spy in England in 2018 and the poisoning of an arms dealer in Sofia in 2015. Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov said on Monday that Sergei Fedotov, a suspect in the attempted killing of ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, visited Bulgaria three times […]

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For Putin, economic and political reality dampen appetite for arms race

MOSCOW (Reuters) – With his ratings down and state funds needed to hedge against new Western sanctions and raise living standards, Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot afford to get sucked into a costly nuclear arms race with the United States. Alleging Russian violations, Washington said this month it was suspending its obligations under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and […]

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Russia jails Jehovah's Witness for six years in extremism case

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian court on Wednesday found a Jehovah’s Witness guilty of extremism and jailed him for six years, a spokesman for the Christian denomination said. The United States and the European Union see the case of Dennis Christensen, a Danish national, as a litmus test for religious freedom and the latest twist in a worsening East-West standoff. […]

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Russia will exit INF nuclear pact in six months: Ifax

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia will exit the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in six months as part of a symmetrical response to the United States’ pullout, the Interfax news agency cited Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Wednesday. President Vladimir Putin said at the weekend that Russia had suspended the Cold War-era pact after Washington announced it would withdraw […]

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