. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Ivanov Eases on ABM

MOSCOW (AP) ? Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Monday that Russia might consider changes to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty but still opposes the planned deployment of a national missile defense by the United States.

In an interview with Interfax, Ivanov said that "theoretically, I do not exclude the possibility" of modifying the ABM treaty. However, he said that the treaty?s ban on establishing a nationwide missile defense must still stand.

"When I say ?theoretically,? I mean we must clearly understand what missile defense is being conceived ? and what technical possibilities in air, sea, ground and space fields are envisaged," Ivanov was quoted as saying.

"Those are exactly the questions for which we still cannot receive answers from the American side."

Customs Official Slain

MOSCOW (MT) ? A Sheremetyevo Airport customs official was murdered Friday in what police believe was a contract hit, investigators said Monday.

Vladimir Borodin, 38, deputy head of a department at the airport?s customs service, died after being shot three times late Friday, Moscow regional police spokesman Gennady Melnik said.

Borodin was shot twice in the chest and once in the head in Khimki, where Sheremetyevo is located, and died in the hospital the same day. No arrests have been made. Police declined to comment on suspects and weapons.

"It looks like a contract murder, but ? not a skillful one, maybe because it was dark," Melnik said.

Air Force Exercises

MOSCOW (AP) ? In a show of military might, several dozen Russian strategic bombers are to buzz the Arctic and the Pacific oceans during a five-day military exercise that began Monday, the air force chief said.

In the exercise, Tu-22 M3 bombers are to fire air-to-surface missiles at practice targets in the Pacific, air force chief General Anatoly Kornukov said in remarks broadcast by Russian television.

The U.S. Air Force said it will send fighter aircraft to Alaska and Northern Canada to monitor the exercise.

"Although it is highly unlikely that Russian aircraft would purposely violate Canadian or American airspace, our mission of vigilance must be sustained," said Lieutenant General Ken Pennie, the North American Aerospace Defense Command?s deputy commander.

Crewman Detained

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (AP) ? Police have detained a Russian man in connection with the disappearance of a fellow crew member on a Greek cargo ship, authorities said Sunday.

Andrei Sobolev, 41, of Ukraine, has been missing from the Greek freighter Condor for at least a week. He was on board when the ship left Venezuela on Aug. 30, but was missing by the time it reached the Dutch island of St. Eustatius on Tuesday. The Russian was detained Tuesday for suspicion of murder and transferred to authorities Friday.

For the Record

Senior Japanese diplomats opened talks Monday at Russia?s Foreign Ministry expected to focus on fishing rights around disputed islands off Japan?s northern coast and related issues. Other meetings are planned over the next few days. (Reuters)

France and Russia are in broad agreement on the need for some sort of foreign military presence in Macedonia once NATO troops leave the Balkan state, French President Jacques Chirac?s office said Monday.