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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Ivanov on Iran Sales

MOSCOW (AP) -- Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Monday that Russia sells only defensive weapons to Iran and stressed that its weapons sales around the world are motivated by economics and do not violate its nonproliferation obligations.

Speaking during a visit to Madrid following talks in the United States last week, Ivanov also emphasized that Russia acts according to its own interests in arms sales, suggesting it does not bend to U.S. criticism of its cooperation with Iran and other countries Washington distrusts.

"Russia is independent in making decisions of military-technological cooperation, including with such countries as Iran and North Korea," Interfax and Itar-Tass quoted him as saying. But they said he stressed Russia sells Iran only "weapons that cannot have a destabilizing influence on the atmosphere in the region."

"We are talking about deliveries of defensive weaponry -- air-defense systems, armored personnel carriers, anti-tank weapons and small arms," Ivanov said. "We have never received from Tehran requests for deliveries of short-range missiles or offensive weapons systems."

Bushehr Schedule

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia plans to finish construction and launch the controversial Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran by the end of 2003, Nuclear Power Minister Alexander Rumyantsev was quoted by Interfax as saying Monday.

Interfax reported that Rumyantsev said the project would be over by the end of 2003 and that Russia has no other nuclear programs with Iran.

The deal to finish Bushehr, which was started by the Germans and interrupted as a result of the Iranian Revolution, is worth about $800 million to Russia, which has been reluctant to abandon the project both for economic reasons and matters of international prestige.

The Kremlin has floated preliminary plans to help Iran build five more nuclear reactors over the next 10 years, but Interfax quoted Rumyantsev as saying Bushehr is the only actual nuclear program Russia has with Iran.

Rebel Gets 14 Years

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Southern Russia (AP) -- A Stavropol court on Monday sentenced an alleged Chechen rebel to 14 years in prison for his part in a 1995 raid by Chechen rebels on a town that ended with more than 100 people dead, media reported.

Lema Samayev was convicted in a court in the southern town of Stavropol on charges of terrorism, banditry, illegal possession of weapons, hostage-taking and mistreatment of people, Itar-Tass reported.

Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev led the fighters in a raid on the southern town of Budyonnovsk, near the border with Chechnya, in June 1995. They took more than 1,000 people hostage in a hospital, then used some of the hostages as human shields to escape back into Chechnya. More than 100 civilians, police and soldiers were killed during gun battles with federal troops.

Basayev, one of Chechnya's chief warlords, remains at large and is one of Russia's most wanted men.

Norway Trawler Spat

OSLO, Norway (Reuters) -- The captain of a Norwegian fishing trawler accused the Russian navy on Monday of firing a warning shot across his bow off Arctic Russia, forcing him to turn back to Norway.

"It shot with a shining projectile in front of the bow," Captain Lars Endresen told NRK public radio of the incident, which occurred late Friday or early Saturday. No one was hurt.

The Russian navy was conducting a military exercise in the Barents Sea near Murmansk at the time, but Endresen said he had clearance to enter the port to unload a catch of pollack.

Endresen said the Russian vessel passed close to his trawler, the Oyaskjaer, before firing. The Oyaskjaer returned to a Norwegian port after a Russian crew member on the trawler spoke with officials on the navy vessel, he said. "We were told that we had to turn back and go to Norway," Endresen said.

The Russian Defense Ministry said it could not confirm the trawler shooting. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry and the armed forces said they had no independent information about the incident.

Camp Torn Down

KIEV (AP) -- Police in Ukraine's second largest city destroyed a tent camp erected in a central square to dramatize opposition demands for the ouster of President Leonid Kuchma, the Communist Party said Monday.

Police evicted the protesters in a pre-dawn raid Monday in the eastern city of Kharkiv. No one was injured or detained, according to the press service of the Communist Party.

Alla Alexandrovska, a Communist lawmaker in Kharkiv, said authorities had not objected when protesters set up the four tents Saturday in Liberty Square, but a local court later ordered them removed until the legality of the protest was determined, the UNIAN news agency reported.

Kiev Blast Injures 2

KIEV (AP) -- An explosion ripped though the lobby of an apartment building in downtown Kiev on Monday, injuring two people, said police spokesman Oleksandr Naumov.

Investigators were at the scene to determine the cause of the blast.

Unconfirmed reports indicated that a 48-year-old woman was injured while waiting to go to work in an office on the first floor.

Residents suspected the blast was intended for a 38-year-old man who was hurt, a businessman who they said leaves the building at the same time every day, Ukrainian media reported.

Budanov Evaluation

MOSCOW (MT) -- Psychiatrists at Moscow's Serbsky Institute have completed the latest psychological evaluation of Yury Budanov, an army colonel on trial for abducting and killing an 18-year-old Chechen woman, news agencies reported Monday.

The results of the evaluation, Budanov's third, will not be made public for at least another three weeks, Interfax quoted the institute's director, Tatyana Dmitriyeva, as saying. Meanwhile, the appropriate paperwork will be submitted to the court, she said.

In May, psychiatrists determined that Budanov had been temporarily insane at the time of the March 2000 killing, which he has admitted committing, but the court later called for another round of testing. Budanov, who was transferred to Moscow in late July for the test, was sent back to prison after its completion, reported.