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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Peacekeeper Killed

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (AP) -- A Russian peacekeeper was found dead early Thursday, shot in the back and the back of the head. A United Nations official suggested the killing was linked to the victim's attachment to a local woman.

The soldier's body was found in the village of Redinci, near the town of Kamenica, about 30 kilometers east of the provincial capital Pristina, said the spokesman, squadron leader Daz Slaven.

In Moscow, Vyacheslav Sedov of the Russian Defense Ministry press service said the body was found near the command base of the Russian contingent.

Quoting military sources, Itar-Tass on Thursday reported without details that Moscow's troops in Kosovo were being reduced from 3,600 to 2,000, along with an upcoming change of command of the Russian contingent. Major General Nikolai Krivenstov is to replace Major General Vladimir Kazantsev, who returns to Russia on Oct. 31, said Itar-Tass.

Berlusconi Visits

MOSCOW (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin on Thursday thanked visiting Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for his work to improve bilateral relations, and the two leaders discussed cooperation in the international anti-terrorist campaign.

Berlusconi arrived in Moscow late Wednesday for a hastily arranged, one-day working visit.

Putin expressed hope that Berlusconi's brief visit, which was necessitated "by the tense international situation," would not supplant the prime minister's full-fledged visit planned for next year.

In addition to terrorism, the two leaders were expected to discuss relations between Russia and the European Union and Russia and NATO, the conflicts in the Middle East and the Balkans, and the future of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, from which the United States wants to withdraw, Russian news agencies reported.

Nuke Waste Protest

YEKATERINBURG, Ural Mountains (AP) -- Environmentalists in seven cities along the Trans-Siberian Railroad on Wednesday protested plans to transport spent nuclear fuel along the route.

In Yekaterinburg, about 15 activists gathered at a railroad station in the center of the city and held signs reading "No Passage for Nuclear Waste!"

Many said they were ready to lie down on the tracks if the shipments were sent through the city of 1.5 million.

In July, President Vladimir Putin signed into law a controversial plan to allow the import of spent nuclear fuel for storage and reprocessing.

"Considering the lack of organization and the poor coordination of the responsible [government] services and the badly equipped security personnel, trains carrying spent nuclear fuel could be called 'mobile Chernobyls,'" said Vladimir Slivyak, co-chairman of the Eco-Defense group, at Wednesday's protests.

Leaders Talk by Phone

MOSCOW (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Tony Blair discussed the international anti-terrorism campaign in a telephone conversation Wednesday, the Kremlin said.

The two leaders spoke for a half-hour and discussed developments in the U.S.-led military operation in Afghanistan and their nations' role in the operation, the Kremlin press service said in a statement.