. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Turkmen and Taliban?

MOSCOW (AP) -- Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the international affairs committee in the State Duma, on Friday accused the Turkmen leadership of having supported the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

"We have serious, extremely alarming information that the Turkmen … regime had direct links with the Taliban," Rogozin told reporters in remarks broadcast by TVS. "In particular, they supplied fuel to the Taliban just before the [U.S.-led] antiterror operation."

Rogozin also said that other information pointed at the government of Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov allegedly being "involved in drug-trafficking and effectively providing support for international terrorism," Interfax reported. He did not elaborate.

Belgorod Votes

MOSCOW (MT) -- Voters in the central Belgorod region cast their ballots in a gubernatorial election Sunday that could see the incumbent governor win his third term in office.

Governor Yevgeny Savchenko, 43, who has headed the region since 1993, was running against Vasily Altukhov, 62, a Communist deputy who represents the region in the State Duma, and local businessman Anatoly Popkov, 39, Interfax reported.

Moscow Treaty

MOSCOW (AP) -- Key committees in the Federation Council gave their support Friday to a nuclear arms reduction treaty with the United States, signaling the treaty is likely to get quick approval.

Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, said the chamber would try to ratify the Moscow Treaty in time for President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush to exchange ratification documents when they meet in St. Petersburg on June 1. The defense committee also supports the treaty.

Itar-Tass said it would be considered Wednesday.

Italy and Chechnya

MOSCOW (AP) -- The Foreign Ministry on Friday put out a statement criticizing "some Italian political figures" who it accused of trying in recent days to whip up an "anti-Russian campaign on the theme of Chechnya."

The statement did not identify anyone, but said Moscow "hoped that Italian political circles … will refrain from thoughtless steps that are fraught with negative consequences for the fight against terrorism and the atmosphere of Russian-Italian relations."

Zelenograd Probe

MOSCOW (MT) -- Police have detained for questioning two men suspected of masterminding the July 2001 shooting of the first deputy prefect of Moscow's Zelenograd district, Leonid Oblonsky, Kommersant reported Friday.

Mstislav Krasovsky, 41, and Alexander Zaitsev, 37, were detained on Kashirskoye Shosse in southern Moscow on Wednesday, the newspaper said. They have not been charged. Four other suspects in the killing -- all guards at a Zelenograd outdoor market that Oblonsky had planned to move -- have accused Krasovsky and Zaitsev of being the masterminds, Kommersant said.

Vladimir Vasiliyev, 33, who is suspected of shooting Oblonsky, was arrested last year.

Oblonsky, who oversaw Zelenograd's retail businesses, was shot in the head twice as he was getting into his car.