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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

No Migration Cards

MOSCOW (MT) -- Police on Wednesday stopped issuing migration cards to foreigners who entered the country before the cards were available at the border, Interfax reported.

"Migration cards will now be issued only at border checkpoints when the border is crossed," Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Chekalin told Interfax.

Police handed out 8.5 million cards to those who entered Russia before the law came into effect early this year, Chekalin said. A foreigner has to produce the card when leaving the country.

Vremya Novostei reported that many foreigners, including hundreds of thousands of guest workers in Moscow, have been unable to obtain the cards because they have been in short supply throughout the year.

Not having a migration card is punishable by a fine of up to 1,000 rubles and deportation, the newspaper said.

3 Die in Plane Crash

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Southern Russia (AP) -- A small plane broke apart when it missed a runway while landing in high wind in the southern Krasnodar region Wednesday, killing all three people on board, officials said.

The M-12 crash-landed on rough ground near a runway in the village of Novotitarovka, said Sergei Kozhemyaka, a duty officer at the Emergency Situations Ministry's southern Russia branch. The plane broke apart after the rough landing, he said.

Kozhemyaka said strong winds may have caused the accident.

The plane belonged to a local aviation club and the three victims were members of the club, Kozhemyaka said.

Ukrainian Killed

KIEV (AP) -- A Ukrainian peacekeeper was killed in Iraq when the vehicle he was traveling in overturned, becoming the first soldier from the country to die there, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday.

Yury Koydan, commander of a Ukrainian unit patrolling the area around the Kut airbase in southern Iraq, died late Tuesday, the ministry said.

One other passenger received slight injuries, and an unspecified number of others were unhurt, it said.

Preliminary information indicated the driver of the vehicle caused the accident by making a "risky turn," the ministry said. Koydan was not driving.

Ukrainian authorities have opened a criminal investigation into the incident.

Some 1,650 Ukrainian troops are serving in the Polish-led stabilization force patrolling southern Iraq.

British Envoy Ill

LONDON (AP) -- Britain's ambassador to Uzbekistan, a critic of that country's human rights record, has returned home for medical treatment, the Foreign Office said Wednesday.

It did not specify what kind of treatment Craig Murray, 44, would undergo, but emphasized he was not giving up his job.

"He remains our ambassador in Tashkent," a Foreign Office spokeswoman said on condition of anonymity.

Murray has been a vocal critic of Uzbekistan's human rights record, saying last year that progress on human rights had been disappointing and accusing the country of holding as many as 10,000 political and religious prisoners.

A charge d'affaires will serve as acting ambassador until Murray is well enough to return to his post, the spokeswoman said.

Russian Soldier Freed

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) -- A Russian peacekeeper who was abducted in Georgia last week was released Wednesday, officials said.

The soldier, Grigory Derevyannik, was freed through joint efforts by Commonwealth of Independent States peacekeepers and Georgian law enforcement authorities, said Colonel Viktor Kondratenko, deputy commander of a Russian peacekeeping unit serving in Georgia under the auspices of the CIS.

Kondratenko, reached on his cellphone near Georgia's separatist Abkhazia region, declined to give details but said the release was aided by the father of another man who was abducted in the area last week, Levan Changelia, an election coordinator working for a Georgian opposition party. Changelia's father threatened to commit suicide if Derevyannik was not freed.

Kondratenko's comments suggested a link between the two abductions, and Interfax reported Wednesday that an operation to free Changelia was under way.

The headquarters of the Russian peacekeeping unit has said it suspected Georgian fighters or criminals abducted Derevyannik in a bid to force the release of their comrades.

Close to U.S. on Iraq

MOSCOW (AP) -- The Foreign Ministry played up similarities between the positions of Moscow and Washington on postwar Iraq on Wednesday, saying that both favor a swift restoration of sovereignty and that their differences can be bridged during discussion of a new UN Security Council resolution.

The ministry said in a statement that talks on Iraq between U.S. and Russian officials in Washington on Tuesday "confirmed that Russia and the United States agree on the need for the swiftest possible restoration of Iraq's sovereignty and its full reintegration into the regional and international communities."

The statement was the latest indication that Russia is prepared to cooperate closely with the United States on a new resolution that U.S. President George W. Bush hopes will bring more troops and money into Iraq.

Aliyev to Return

SALYAN, Azerbaijan (AP) -- The son of Azerbaijan's ailing president said Wednesday that his father is expected to return home from a U.S. hospital within days, but a second candidate in the Oct. 15 presidential vote withdrew his candidacy and urged supporters to cast their ballots for the president's son, heightening uncertainty about the outcome of the election.

Both President Heidar Aliyev and his son, Ilham Aliyev, are registered as candidates in the election. While Ilham Aliyev has said he is only running to aid his father's candidacy, the 80-year-old incumbent's health has raised questions about his ability to serve another term.

During a campaign visit to the city of Salyan, 125 kilometers south of the capital, Baku, Ilham Aliyev asserted that doctors at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio believe his father's health will be "fully restored in the coming days."