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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Slovak Talks



MOSCOW (AP) ? President Vladimir Putin met Monday with his Slovak counterpart to discuss boosting trade relations and the international fight against terrorism.

Slovak President Rudolf Schuster told journalists that he hoped his visit would strengthen his nation?s ties with Russia "in all spheres, economic, political and cultural"

"Though Slovakia?s policy is oriented toward joining the European Union and NATO, this will not hamper the expansion and strengthening of ties with Russia," Schuster said.

Putin said that Russia?s relationship with Slovakia was "developing energetically."




Troops to Withdraw



MOSCOW (AP) ? The top military commander in Chechnya said Monday that most federal troops will be withdrawn from the breakaway republic by next spring, reports said.

General Gennady Troshev said that only units stationed in Chechnya on a permanent basis will remain, Interfax reported. Troshev said that the withdrawal of the federal troops was part of a planned schedule to reduce the military presence in Chechnya.




Putin Warns Army



MOSCOW (Reuters) ? President Vladimir Putin told his military chiefs Monday that terrorists were seeking to obtain weapons of mass destruction and posed a threat to strategic stability.

At an annual meeting with armed forces commanders, Putin said the military had to take the fast-changing global situation into account when drawing up policy priorities.

Putin said it was time to stop talking about military reform and start work on boosting the training and readiness of Russia?s creaking armed forces. He also vowed to find cash to boost army pay and build homes for servicemen whatever the economic situation.




Duma Talks Tough



MOSCOW (MT) ? The State Duma plans to consider a package of bills designed to toughen the fight against the terrorist threat, Interfax reported Monday.

The new law could put restrictions on some civil rights and liberties, Alexander Gurov, head of the Duma?s security committee, told Interfax.

Meanwhile, it was announced that salaries for Duma deputies would increase to 16,200 rubles ($550) per month, Interfax reported.

The salaries of federal workers, Duma deputies, members of the Federation Council, the prime minister and deputy prime ministers would be raised 50 percent, said Vitaly Shuba, chairman of the budget sub-committee.

Shuba said the salary of the prime minister and the deputy prime ministers would be "somewhat higher" than that of the deputies.




Cuban Aid Package



MOSCOW (AP) ? President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Russia will send humanitarian aid to Cuba to help the communist nation cope with the aftermath of a devastating hurricane.

"The Cuban population needs urgent support," Putin said during a meeting with government ministers, Itar-Tass reported.




Murder Trial Reopens



MOSCOW (AP) ? Five former paratroopers went back on trial Monday in connection with the 1994 killing of a journalist investigating corruption in the military, a court official said.

The death of Dmitry Kholodov, a 27-year-old reporter for the outspoken daily Moskovsky Komsomolets, attracted nationwide attention. Media criticized prosecutors for taking so long with the probe, saying it reflected the government?s inability ? or unwillingness ? to solve violent crimes.




Radiation Denial



MOSCOW (MT) ? Kremlin-appointed Chechen leader Akhmad Kadyrov denied earlier reports that two radioactive waste burial sites located in the republic are emitting dangerous levels of radiation, Interfax reported Monday.

He called these reports a provocation aimed at destabilizing the situation in the republic and preventing the return of refugees to Chechnya.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Chechen Emergency Situations Ministry told Interfax on Monday that radiation experts from Krasnodar had neutralized six radiation sources emitting in total more than 15,000 micro roentgens per hour ? more than 500 times safe levels ? near the Chechen town of Chiri-Yurt on Sunday.




Officer?s Fate Unclear



MOSCOW (MT) ? The Defense Ministry has no further information on the fate of an army officer being held by Chechen rebels, the ministry?s spokesman said in a telephone interview Monday.

The rebels threatened to execute Lieutenant Colonel Sergei Boryayev on Sunday if Russian troops did not hand over 25 captured Chechen civilians in exchange for his release.

Search operations for Boryayev are still ongoing, as are negotiations with the rebel leaders to release him, the spokesman said.

Asked whether Russian troops in Chechnya are ready to swap Boryayev for the civilians, the spokesman declined to elaborate.




Anti-Globalists Unite



MOSCOW (MT) ? Russian anti-globalists united into one organization over the weekend and held founding conferences in seven regions across the country.

Called "World Not For Sale," the newly formed group will "fight against negative consequences of globalization for Russia, Russia?s joining the World Trade Organization and against the new Labor Code," Ilya Budraitskis, a member of the movement?s coordination committee, told Interfax on Monday.




Riot Suspect Arrested



MOSCOW (MT) ? Police have arrested a second suspect in the attacks on market vendors near Tsaritsyno metro, Interfax reported.

Seventeen-year-old Valery Rusakov was arrested Monday in connection with the disturbances in southern Moscow, the Moscow prosecutor?s office said.