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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Diplomats Named

Reuters

Russia on Tuesday gave U.S. officials the names of four diplomats to be sent home, and also explained what further steps it would take in retaliation for Washington's decision to send home 50 Russians.

A Foreign Ministry statement said John Ordway, No. 2 at the U.S. Embassy, had been given a note listing the four. The names were not made public.

The diplomats were declared personae non gratae and ordered to leave Russia within 10 days because of activities "incompatible with their diplomatic status," a standard diplomatic phrase for spying.

The note "also stated the other measures being taken by the Russian side to halt the illegal activities of American special services in Russia," the statement said.

RTR state television aired brief, grainy footage Tuesday of what it said was a spy from the U.S. Embassy, secretly filmed attempting to recruit a Russian agent.

The state RIA news agency said the decision to air the pictures was intended as retaliation for Washington's "unfriendly act" last week.




Tymoshenko Freed

Reuters

KIEV — A Kiev court on Tuesday ordered the release from jail of a prominent opponent of Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma awaiting trial on corruption charges.

Yulia Tymoshenko, a former deputy prime minister, was detained in February on charges of bribery, smuggling and forgery from when she was head of the country's largest private gas trading company in the mid-1990s. She denies all the charges, dismissing them as politically motivated.

Judge Mykola Zamkovenko said the court decided to annul the arrest warrant issued by the Prosecutor General's Office and ordered Tymoshenko to be released immediately.




Roads to Close?

The Associated Press

A day after Russia banned imports of meat, dairy products, poultry and fish from Europe, agriculture officials said Tuesday they were considering imposing restrictions on vehicles crossing the border into Russia to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease.

First Deputy Agriculture Minister Sergei Dankvert said officials were considering reducing the number of border crossing points for vehicles, in order to set up facilities for disinfection at those points. But Dankvert said they would not restrict entry into the country for air passengers from Europe. "These passengers don't come from farms, they come from Piccadilly Circus," he said.

Mikhail Kravchuk, Russia's chief veterinarian, said the ban extended to poultry and fish because shipping containers could be contaminated, even though the disease only affects cloven-hoofed animals such as cows, sheep and pigs.

He said, however, that fish would be allowed "from the place it is caught." Kravchuk also said the ban would not affect goods from the United States and other countries that go through Europe as long as they are transported through certain major, well-equipped ports.




Putin on Arabs

The Associated Press

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday used an Arab League summit to make another call for lifting sanctions against Iraq and to reassert Moscow's mediation role in the Middle East peace process.

"Russia has proposed a 'package' solution that would include suspending the sanctions and the subsequent lifting of them in combination with the revival of international monitoring of the non-restoration of Iraq's banned military programs," Putin said in a letter to participants at the summit, which opened Tuesday in Amman, Jordan.

In the letter, released by the Kremlin press service, Putin added that the Russian proposal also calls for "stopping air raids on Iraq and noninterference in its domestic affairs."

Putin also addressed the Middle East conflict. He called for lifting Israeli travel restrictions on the West Bank and Gaza strip as an essential condition for normalizing the situation.




Italy's Amato to Visit

The Associated Press

President Vladimir Putin will hold talks Thursday in Moscow with Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, the Kremlin said Tuesday.

Amato will make a one-day visit to discuss preparations for the Group of Seven summit that will take place in Genoa, Italy, on July 20-22.

During his trip, Amato is also expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov.

The focus of that discussion will center on economic ties between the two countries. Italy is one of Russia's major Western trading partners.




Vremya MN Lives On

The Moscow Times

The Vremya MN daily newspaper will remain on Moscow's newsstands, despite earlier plans to shut it down, its publisher said in a statement carried Tuesday by Prime-Tass.

The paper had been set to close March 24 because its founder, Media-Finans, decided not to renew financing after the expiration of its contract with publisher Moskovskiye Novosti.

However, in its statement, the publisher said this would not automatically lead to the closing of the paper. The new source of funding for Vremya MN was not clear from the report.

Vremya MN was founded in 1998 by Media-Finans, a consortium including Sberbank, Vneshtorgbank, the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange and Central Bank subsidiary Evrofinance. Last year, the paper replaced its entire editorial team after the previous one left to launch the Vremya Novostei daily.




Rocket Scientist Dies

The Associated Press

Boris Raushenbach, a rocket scientist who helped the Soviet space program photograph the dark side of the moon, died Tuesday, news reports said. He was 86.

Raushenbach worked on the Soviet space program during its heyday in the 1950s and '60s, when the country sent the first satellite and first human into space.

He was featured in a 1966 Soviet television program explaining his role in the Soviet unmanned satellite mission to photograph the dark side of the moon, NTV showed.

Later in life, he served on the board of directors for New York financier George Soros' Cultural Initiative Foundation, which distributed grants to Russian scientists and teachers.