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

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Council of Europe Call

MOSCOW (AP) -- The Foreign Ministry urged Europe's top human rights body on Sunday to stop monitoring Russia, saying the country had already met all requirements for judicial and legislative reform.

The head of the Council of Europe, Secretary-General Terry Davis, was to arrive in Moscow late Sunday for a three-day trip that will include talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

In a statement released before Davis' arrival, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said Moscow had fulfilled a pledge to bring its legislation and judicial practice to European standards since joining the Council of Europe in 1996, and urged the group to stop monitoring its entry obligations.

13 Troops Desert

MOSCOW (AP) -- Thirteen unarmed Interior Ministry troops deserted from their unit in Moscow on Friday.

The city military prosecutor's office said six of the deserters quickly turned themselves in, saying they fled their base in western Moscow to escape hazing. A quick check of the unit revealed evidence of hazing, and several servicemen could face criminal charges, it said.

Russians Expelled

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) -- Moldovan authorities expelled five Russian citizens who were allegedly working for one of the parties running in next month's parliamentary elections, police said Friday. In Moscow, the five told reporters that they were activists from the organization For Human Rights, and that they had been in Moldova consulting with opposition parties ahead of the March 6 elections.

Ingush Gun Battle

ROSTOV-ON-DON (AP) -- Police and military troops on Friday besieged a house for 3 1/2 hours in Nazran, Ingushetia, killing a wanted armed gunmen and at least one security agent, the Ingush Interior Ministry said.

The killed fighter, identified as Mikhail Kurskiyev, 26, was wanted in connection with June's mass attack on Nazran law enforcement posts that killed some 90 people, a spokesman said.

Picking Russia or West

MOSCOW (AP) -- Countries of the former Soviet Union should not be forced to choose between the West and Russia in deciding their foreign policies, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an article published Friday.

"The realities of the modern world, which is a global and endlessly diverse system, rule out any monopoly, whether it is issues of democracy or international relations," Lavrov said a commentary published in the government Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper.

"Attempts to make CIS-member states make a false choice between the West and Russia are unnatural, dangerous and irresponsible," Lavrov wrote.

Skinheads Convicted

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Saratov regional court on Friday convicted four young men of killing a Dagestani man in a racist attack, sentencing them to prison terms of 5 1/2 to 13 years, Interfax reported.

The court found that Mikhail Krasnoshchyokov and Alexander Shevtsov were among a group of skinheads that beat Dzhavad Sheikhov, 39, to death last summer, and handed them 13-year prison sentences. The other two defendants, who were minors at the time of the attack and not identified by Interfax, received sentences of 5 1/2 and six years.

Potatoes, Democracy

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) -- Russia is fed up with being lectured by the West on democracy, but President Vladimir Putin is willing to discuss the issue frankly at a summit with U.S. President George W. Bush on Feb. 24, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Sunday.

"We're ready to discuss any issues with the U.S. side, and not only to give answers but also ask questions," Ivanov said at the Munich Security Conference in Germany. "Democracy is not a potato that you can transplant from one kitchen garden to another. I believe that in recent years democracy in Russia has been developing normally."

'No Chechen Nukes'

MUNICH, Germany (AP) -- Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov on Sunday dismissed the suggestion that Chechen militants hold a nuclear weapon as a "myth."

Boris Berezovsky, the businessman and sharp Kremlin critic, suggested last week that militants may have a nuclear weapon.

Ivanov said Berezovsky's statement was part of an overall smear campaign. "All of these myths are being supported in the pursuit of political goals," he said. "I believe the Berezovsky statement is part and parcel of the same story."

Georgia's 'Terrorists'

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) -- Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Saturday that "terrorists" are entering Chechnya from Georgia and declared that Moscow reserved the right to launch preventive strikes against militants anywhere.

Ivanov's forceful comments at the Munich Security Conference in Germany came in direct response to a question from Georgian Foreign Minister Salome Zurabishvili.

"We have killed so many foreigners in Chechnya carrying passports with a Georgian tourist visa in their pockets. … You can't deny they are penetrating our territory through the territory of Georgia. That's a fact," Ivanov said.

Kyrgyz Base to Double

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia will double the size of its forces currently stationed at an air base in Kyrgyzstan, Air Force commander Vladimir Mikhailov said.

"This year we shall begin to extend the runway so that it should be able to accommodate all types of aircraft, including strategic ones," Mikhailov said, Itar-Tass reported. The base currently has about 500 military personnel, 20 Sukhoi jet fighters and fighter-bombers, transportation aircraft, training fighters and other material, Itar-Tass said.