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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Afghans Held in Baltics

VILNIUS, Lithuania (Reuters) ? Lithuanian border guards said Tuesday they had detained a group of 20 people from Afghanistan trying to enter the country illegally from neighboring Belarus.

"They said they left Afghanistan about three or four months ago because of economic reasons, not because of the American attack," said Rokas Pukinskas, a state border guard spokesman.

He said they were being held temporarily in a border guard station and would later be transported to the country?s holding facility for illegal migrants near Vilnius.

"The Lithuanian migration department will decide whether to let them stay in Lithuania or send them back," Pukinskas said.

Of the 99 people apprehended by border guards for entering Lithuania illegally this year, counting those stopped Tuesday, 53 were from Afghanistan.

Ivanov to Brussels

MOSCOW (Reuters) ? Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov was due to leave for Brussels on Tuesday to discuss Russia-NATO relations with his counterparts in the alliance, his ministry said in a statement.

Talks were expected to focus on ties following the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, the statement said. The attacks have drawn Russia and NATO closer together as both have stated their commitment to back the United States in a declared fight against terrorism.

From Brussels, Ivanov will go to Stockholm where he is to hold talks Friday with the Swedish defense minister.

No to Arms in Space

UNITED NATIONS (AP) ? Russia has called for a moratorium on deploying weapons in outer space as the first step toward a new international agreement it has proposed to ban space-based weapons or threats of force against spacecraft and satellites.

"Russia invites the world community to start working out a comprehensive agreement on the nondeployment of weapons in outer space and on the non-use of force against space objects," Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told the UN General Assembly on Monday.

Ivanov said nations should commit to not placing in the Earth?s orbit any kind of weapons or deploying them on the moon, planets or space stations.

Russia was later joined by China in demanding that the United States not undermine the arms-control treaty that prevents the deployment of weapons in outer space, which they warned would set back global disarmament efforts.

Anzhi Flies to Poland

MOSCOW (Reuters) ? Russia?s Anzhi Makhachkala flew to Poland on Tuesday, two days before its UEFA Cup first-round tie with Rangers, vowing to punish the Scottish side for its refusal to visit the tiny club located close to war-torn Chechnya.

"We expected them to come and still feel upset that they didn?t as thousands of people had planned for this," said Anzhi manager Asaludin Agaragimov, recalling how European soccer?s ruling body changed the tie to a one-off game in Warsaw to assuage Rangers? safety fears.

"We are going to punish Rangers by beating them," Agaragimov said by telephone from Dagestan.

Rangers refused to play the planned first leg in Anzhi?s 18,000-seat stadium last Thursday after their insurance cover was withdrawn and the British Foreign Office advised against travel to the largely lawless region.

Dagestan?s Interior Ministry had pledged to put some 2,500 police and special forces on duty for the game, but Rangers refused to budge.