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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Chemical Controls

MOSCOW (AP) -- The government on Friday announced tighter controls on exports and imports of materials, equipment and technology that could be used in making chemical weapons.

The new rules are aimed at protecting national security interests and complying with the International Convention on Chemical Weapons ratified by Russia in 1997, according to a statement from the government press service.

The regulations introduce stricter customs controls and require new licenses from the Economic Development and Trade Ministry to trade chemical substances or equipment, the statement said.

The regulations do allow exports and imports of potential weapons materials for medical research into protection from chemical warfare. The rules ban trade in such chemicals with states not party to the convention.

Also Friday, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree strengthening controls on export of so-called dual-use technology, the president's press service said.

Putin's War on Drugs

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- President Vladimir Putin, declaring that illegal drug use penetrated every layer of Russian life, said Friday the time had come to use all means to stamp it out.

"Today this illness ? grips the territory of the whole country," he told his Security Council in televised remarks. All methods -- "judicial, administrative and educational" -- should be deployed to fight the threat, he said.

Putin pinpointed Afghanistan as the source of much of the heroin flowing into Russia, adding that the narcotics business was linked to the "fight against terrorism."

He said that in Russia, by official figures alone, there were 269,000 drug addicts, although the real figure was much higher.

Putin said law enforcement bodies, including the border guards, had to step up action against drug smuggling. And health authorities should increase the number of drug rehabilitation centers, especially for addicts from poor backgrounds.

Babi Yar Revisited

KIEV (AP) -- Today's terrorists are followers of Nazi methods and cannot be forgiven, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said Saturday as his country marked the 60th anniversary of the Babi Yar Holocaust massacre.

In an appeal to Ukrainians, Kuchma said mass killing of civilians was the most severe crime against humanity, based on "boundless and ruthless terrorism."

Warning that modern terrorism could prompt worldwide catastrophe, Kuchma said: "We must confront it all together, in a coordinated way that would use every country's potential.

"This is the only way to avoid ? new Babi Yars, of the same cruelty but 100 times more terrible in their scope and consequences."

More than 33,000 Jews were killed over just several days of the Babi Yar horror, which began in late September 1941. Between 100,000 and 200,000 people, including non-Jews, are believed to have been killed at the Babi Yar ravine.

Ukraine Jails 2

LVIV, Ukraine (AP) -- In a high-profile case that has fueled Russian-Ukrainian ethnic tensions, two men were sentenced Friday to long prison terms for beating to death a Ukrainian composer.

The regional court in Lviv, western Ukraine, found Dmitry Voronov and Yury Kalynin guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced them to 15 and 12 years in prison, respectively, court officials said. The two were also ordered to pay 50,000 hryvna ($9,430) in fines to the late composer Igor Bilozir's relatives.

Bilozir died in late May 2000 following an argument that began in a coffee shop. Witnesses said Bilozir and his friends sang Ukrainian songs and protested Russian pop music playing at the cafe. Voronov and Kalynin were found guilty of beating Bilozir after he left the coffee shop. The two young men denied that the attack was premeditated.

The death of Bilozir prompted protests in the city, a stronghold of Ukrainian nationalist movements.

Kursk Lift to Resume

MOSCOW (AP) -- Deep-sea operations to raise the sunken nuclear submarine Kursk, suspended because of bad weather, could resume Monday, a navy official said Sunday.

Work on the hull was suspended Saturday because of stormy weather in the Barents Sea. The international team of divers and experts overseeing the operation intend to resume deep-sea operations to lift the vessel Monday, Northern Fleet spokesman Vladimir Navrotsky told Interfax.

"But they need three or four days of good weather for this," Navrotsky said.

A jumbo barge that is to raise the sunken submarine stayed at the site of the ambitious operation Saturday and Sunday despite rough seas that have pushed back the lifting date. The Giant 4 barge was last week anchored over the submarine in preparation for the lifting of the vessel before weather delayed the operation.

Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, in charge of the government commission on the Kursk, was to fly to Murmansk late Sunday, and later observe the operation to raise the submarine, Itar-Tass reported.

For the Record

The city's heating systems will go through a test phase this week before going into full operation Oct. 8-10, Interfax reported Saturday. Schools, hospitals and other public-sector organizations will be the first to receive heat, followed by residential buildings and industrial sites. (MT)

Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani is due to arrive in Moscow on Monday to discuss an upgrading of military cooperation between Russia and Iran, Interfax reported Sunday. He was set to meet with Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and other officials.(AP)

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the postponement Friday of an official visit to Russia, slated for Oct. 1-4, because of the "complex" international situation since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against the United States. (AP)

Ukraine and the United States have finalized details on the usage of Ukrainian airspace by U.S. military transport planes, officials said Saturday. If needed, U.S. aircraft will fly over Ukraine at an altitude of no less than 9,100 meters and may use three military airfields and several air corridors, according to Interfax.