Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

$7M From Italy

MOSCOW (AP) ? Italy will allocate $7 million to help Russia build a facility for destroying its chemical weapons, presidential envoy Sergei Kiriyenko said Monday after talks aimed at demonstrating Moscow?s commitment to the long-delayed destruction.

Italian Defense Minister Antonio Martino said after meeting Kiriyenko in Rome that Italy?s government would contribute 15 million lira for the project, according to a statement from Kiriyenko?s office.

Martino said the contract for the facility would be signed "in the near future," the statement said. Kiriyenko?s office had no other details.

Kiriyenko is President Vladimir Putin?s overseer of the Volga River region, where five of Russia?s seven chemical weapons storage sites are located. He also heads a new committee charged with leading the political effort to destroy Russia?s 40,000 metric tons of chemical weapons ? the world?s largest arsenal.

U.S. Slams Election

WASHINGTON (AP) ? A spokesman for U.S. President George W. Bush called Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko "Europe?s last dictator" and accused him of stealing his country?s Sept. 9 election.

In a statement released Monday, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said Bush regrets the "severely flawed" election and believes it cannot be internationally recognized because it was not free or fair. "Not only did Alexander Lukashenko, Europe?s last dictator, steal the elections from the Belarussian people, for the moment, he also stole their opportunity to return to a path toward democracy and free-market economy," Fleischer said.

Fugitive Arrested

ATHENS, Greece (AP) ? A man facing charges of armed robbery and fraud in Russia was arrested Monday, authorities said.

Igor Rigin, a 31-year-old Russian who was living in Greece under a false identity, was arrested in Athens. Police said the man is believed to be part of an organized crime group active in St. Petersburg.

Police sources said they expected procedures for Rigin?s extradition to Russia to be swift.

Crime rings from Russia and other former Eastern Bloc countries are believed to operate throughout Greece, peddling drugs, counterfeit money, smuggled goods and running prostitution rings.

Ukrainian Extradited

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (AP) ? A Ukrainian arrested in the disappearance of a fellow freight ship crew member from Ukraine is to be extradited to Greek authorities this week, St. Maarten?s chief prosecutor said.

Leonides Picen was arrested Sept. 5 on suspicion of murder for the disappearance of another crew member on the Greek ship Condor. Prosecutor Cor Merx said Greek authorities have requested Picen?s detention be extended and that he be extradited.

"We?ll work on sending him out this week," Merx said Monday.

Picen was arrested on the Dutch island of St. Eustatius after the captain and fellow crew reported Andrei Sobolev, 41, another crew member missing. Picen, who local authorities had originally identified as Russian, was moved to the Dutch St. Maarten in the Caribbean shortly after his arrest.

The ship had set sail from Venezuela the previous week and just before it reached St. Eustatius, Sobolev was reported missing. Crew members alleged that Picen was the last to be seen with Sobolev and also claimed the two men had a heated argument. The case is to be handled in Greece because any crime would have been committed on a Greek ship in international waters, Merx said.

Kursk Work

MOSCOW (AP) ? Divers on Tuesday crawled along the hull of the sunken Kursk nuclear submarine, making meticulous and time-consuming preparations for raising it to the surface around Sept. 25.

The divers, who already have pierced 26 holes in the Kursk?s hull, were clearing them of debris and installing metal supports intended to fix cables that would hoist the submarine to the surface, said navy spokesman Captain Igor Dygalo.

The cables will be linked to hydraulic jacks anchored to a huge barge, which is being loaded with supplies and is expected to sail toward the Kursk later this week. The operation is run by the Dutch Mammoet-Smit International consortium, which is working to raise the Kursk on a $65 million contract with the Russian government.

Sub Fires Missiles

MOSCOW (AP) ? A Russian nuclear submarine on Tuesday successfully test-fired a ballistic missile from under the waters off the Pacific Coast, the navy said.

The missile, launched by the Podolsk submarine of the Pacific Fleet from the Sea of Okhotsk, hit the designated target at the navy?s Chizha range on the Barents Sea coast of northern Russia, navy spokesman Captain Igor Dygalo said in a statement carried by Interfax and Itar-Tass.

The successful launch has confirmed the "efficiency of the combat control system and reliability of the navy?s strategic nuclear forces," the statement said.

Bulls Will Live

MOSCOW (MT) ? The 12 bulls and 20 cows brought to Russia in August to prepare for Portuguese corrida shows have escaped the slaughterhouse and are expected to live long under the care and protection of a pro-Kremlin youth group.

"An agreement transferring the cattle [from the show?s organizers] to us was signed today, and tomorrow we will officially take the bulls under our care," said Denis Zaitsev, a spokesman for the Idushchiye Vmeste, or Moving Together, youth group said Tuesday.

The fate of the animals remained in limbo after Portuguese corrida shows planned for Sept. 8 and 9 were cancelled by Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov as unnecessary and cruel to the animals. The show organizer ? the Russian Academy of Entertainment ? said recently that the cows and bulls would be slaughtered unless someone takes care of them.

The call was answered by Moving Together, one of the most vocal protesters against holding corridas in Moscow.

"We don?t know what we will do with the bulls, but I can assure you that they will live," Zaitsev said.