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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Army Debt Deal

The Associated Press

KIEV — Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev has agreed with Ukrainian authorities to pay millions of dollars of utility debts of its Black Sea Fleet in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol, news reports said.

"[The payments] are planned to be made according to an established plan in the coming days," Sergeyev said Friday during a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko, according to Interfax.

Sergeyev didn’t specify the size of the debt, but said Russia already paid 150 million rubles ($5.28 million) in energy debts for the fleet in December.

Also, the ministers Thursday agreed to create a first joint Russian-Ukrainian military unit since the two former countries divided up the old fleet in 1997.

2 Killed on MKAD

The Moscow Times

Two pedestrians were killed early Sunday morning when they attempted to cross the Moscow Ring Road, or MKAD, Interfax reported, citing the Moscow police force.

The accident involving three cars took place near an intersection with Mozhaisky Shosse at 2:15 a.m., the police said. The pedestrians were instantly killed. All three drivers suffered injuries and were taken to the hospital.

Mir Launch Date Set


A Progress cargo vessel will blast off for the doomed Mir space station Wednesday to nudge the craft out of orbit and into a crash-landing in the Pacific Ocean, space officials said.

"The date of the cargo vessel’s launch has been set for Jan. 24," said a spokesman for flight control.

The launch, delayed by almost a week, is part of final preparations to end Mir’s 15-year odyssey around Earth.

The craft will blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan almost a week later than planned, after problems with the accident-prone space station’s navigation system forced the operation to be postponed Thursday.

Documents Returned

The Associated Press

BERLIN — Berlin’s mayor will travel to Moscow on Friday to hand over precious imperial-era documents that were stolen from a St. Petersburg archive and later turned up in the German capital, a city government spokesman said.

Eberhard Diepgen is to return 248 documents and books to Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov at a ceremony Friday, spokesman Michael-Andreas Butz said late last week.

The documents, which date from 1723 to 1914 and include decrees issued by the tsars, are of "extraordinary historical value" and worth millions of dollars, Butz said.

A Berlin antique dealer alerted city police and the St. Petersburg state archive in 1995 after the documents were delivered for auction.

20 Held After Fight

The Moscow Times

More than 20 people were arrested after fights between fans at a hockey match, Interfax reported.

Police said the fights occurred Saturday at Sokolniki ice hockey stadium during and after the match between Spartak and HK CSKA. The clubs have a long-standing rivalry.

Eight people and a police officer were injured in the fight with the police officer suffering a broken nose and concussion.

Ministry Aid Appeal

The Associated Press

The Foreign Ministry has complained that Western countries are not offering enough aid to help the country dismantle the world’s largest chemical weapons stockpile.

"It is obvious that, despite the political assurances we received before the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the assistance from the international community is not adequate to the scale of the difficult task Russia is resolving in complex economic conditions," the ministry said in a statement.

The Foreign Ministry said promised aid from the United States and several European nations covers just 7 percent of the necessary funds. Russia has said it will cost $5 billion to $6 billion.

Kok Offers Kursk Aid

The Associated Press

Visiting Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok said that his nation was ready to help Russia raise its sunken Kursk nuclear submarine, an ambitious venture expected to start in April and cost $70 million.

"The Netherlands is ready to provide any help to Russia to lift the Kursk," Kok said after meeting with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. He did not say whether the aid would be financial or name any possible sum.

Also, presidential adviser Sergei Prikhodko said Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will come to Russia in June for a visit during which an agreement on bilateral relations will be signed.

Robertson to Visit


BRUSSELS, Belgium — NATO Secretary-General George Robertson said he would visit Moscow next month in a sign of improving ties between Russia and the Western alliance.

"I hope to visit Moscow during the week beginning Feb. 19," Robertson told reporters Friday, adding that the trip would cap a steady thaw in ties after the strains of the 1999 Kosovo crisis.

NATO officials said the exact dates of Robertson’s trip had to be finalized. It was not clear whether a NATO information office in Moscow would be ready for opening in time for his visit.

Lipponen to Moscow

The Associated Press

Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen is to come to Moscow on Tuesday for a two-day visit that will include a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, the Foreign Ministry said.

Lipponen also will hold talks with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and a meeting is likely with Gennady Seleznyov, speaker of the State Duma, the ministry said Saturday in a statement.

The talks are expected to focus on joint Russia-Finland efforts, including trade and economic matters, the statement said.