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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Moldovan Talks

The Associated Press

The newly elected president of Moldova, Vladimir Voronin, discussed economic and industrial cooperation with President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

Our country's "economic and social situation really needs certain efforts, integration and restoration of everything that was destroyed over past 10 years in particular," Voronin said after meeting with Putin.

Both presidents discussed cooperation in the financial and industrial sectors, as well as energy supplies. Voronin is expected to focus on transit routes through Moldova to Europe for Russian natural gas during meeting with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov during his two-day official visit that started Monday.

Voronin, whose pro-Moscow Communists won parliamentary elections two months ago, is considering joining a union together with Russia and Belarus and restoring Russian as the official language.

"We share very much of what Moldova sets as priority goals," Putin said.

Syrian Envoy Visits


Syria's foreign minister arrived for talks in Moscow on Monday as Russia expressed its concern over an Israeli air attack on a Syrian radar station in Lebanon, which killed three soldiers and wounded six.

Farouq al-Shara headed straight to the Kremlin for talks with President Vladimir Putin. He was also due to meet Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

The main theme in Shara's talks was expected to be the Israeli strikes.

Budanov Trial

The Associated Press

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Southern Russia — A witness in the closely watched trial of Colonel Yury Budanov, who is accused of murdering an 18-year-old Chechen woman, told the court Monday that she saw soldiers enter the victim's house the night of the killing, and that they left carrying something wrapped in a blanket.

Budanov is charged with abducting Elza Kungayeva from her home and murdering her. Budanov has admitted strangling the young woman, but denies the killing was premeditated.

Birlant Dovtukayeva, a neighbor, said she saw soldiers enter the home and leave with the bundle, but could not say if they took Kungayeva with them.

Budanov said he suspected Kungayeva was a sniper working for rebels fighting Russian troops and killed her in a rage during interrogation.

Shuddi Saltymuradov, Kungayeva's schoolteacher, dismissed the allegation when he testified Monday. "My pupil wasn't a sniper, she was just a kid still growing up, she still played with toys," Saltymuradov said.

Duma Nuclear Talks

The Associated Press

The State Duma defense committee opened closed-door hearings in the General Staff building Monday to discuss the status of the nation's strategic nuclear forces and international nuclear treaties.

The hearings are aimed at assessing the nuclear forces, said General Andrei Nikolayev, the committee head, according Interfax. They will also explore whether planned changes in the sector would be consistent with Russia's need to provide a guaranteed nuclear deterrence while other countries move ahead with plans to develop strategic offensive weapons and missile-defense systems, he said.

Gem Embezzlement

The Associated Press

Lawyers began final arguments Monday in a case against four Russians accused of using a U.S.-based company to steal about $180 million worth of diamonds and gold from the Russian government in the early 1990s, news reports said.

The Golden ADA company, based in San Francisco, was established with the Russian government to polish rough-cut Russian diamonds and return them to Moscow for sale. Few, if any, made it back, according to the Russian government.

Andrei Kozlyonok, a co-founder of Golden ADA, an alleged accomplice and two former government officials are on trial. Kozlyonok was extradited to Russia in 1998 from Greece. Two former prime ministers and other high officials have testified in the closed door hearings, Itar-Tass reported. A verdict is expected by Friday.

Prosecutors on Monday asked judges to convict Kozlyonok and sentence him to six years in prison, Interfax reported.

Blast Kills One

The Associated Press

One man was killed and four others sustained burns Monday in a Moscow explosion blamed on a fire extinguisher, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

The blast occurred when a fire extinguisher exploded in a repair depot at the Pechatniki metro station in southern Moscow, said Viktor Beltsov, a ministry spokesman. The fire extinguisher was being filled with foam when it blew up, Interfax reported.

Dorenko Accident?

The Moscow Times

Former television anchorman Sergei Dorenko was accused Monday of running over a man with his motorcycle and breaking his rib, Interfax reported.

Valery Nikitin, a captain in the navy, complained that he was hit while walking with his daughter in western Moscow, Interfax quoted the police as saying.

Nikitin said he was hit deliberately by Dorenko on his Honda motorcycle after complaining that the journalist had been speeding on a pedestrian zone and just barely missed a woman with a stroller.

Nikitin was hospitalized with a broken rib, possible concussion and scratches and bruises.

Dorenko denied the allegations.

"I did not run over anyone," Dorenko told Interfax.

"I regard what is happening to me as a political provocation in line with the recent political provocations against the media," he said. "I find it a response to the fact that I believe in the freedom of speech in Russia."

Police are investigating the allegations, Interfax said.