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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Putin Will Visit Armenia



YEREVAN, Armenia -- President Vladimir Putin is to make a two-day visit to Armenia starting Thursday.

Putin will hold talks with his Armenian counterpart, Robert Kocharian, and participate in a gala ceremony marking the start of the "Year of Russia" in Armenia, presidential spokesman Viktor Sogomonian said. (AP)

3 Held in U.S. Arms Plot



YEREVAN, Armenia -- Armenian authorities have arrested three men in connection with an alleged plot uncovered by U.S. authorities to smuggle Russian military weapons into the United States, a senior security official said.

The three suspects allegedly worked with Artur Solomonyan, an Armenian who was among 18 people charged by U.S. authorities earlier this month in an alleged scheme to smuggle grenade launchers, shoulder-fired missiles and other weapons into the United States, said Grach Arutyunian, a National Security Service official.

He said no weapons have been smuggled out of Armenia and that the three suspects had helped take digital pictures of weapons at Solomonyan's request at an Armenian military base. (AP)

Putin Signs Airport Bill



President Vladimir Putin said Monday that he had signed off on new legislation aimed at strengthening aviation security following recent terror attacks.

Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev reported to Putin on Monday that the new law would allow putting police officers on board planes and give police a stronger role in airport security.

Police also will be able to accompany suspect flights, withhold luggage and cargo, and demand information and documentation from air companies and airport administration. (AP)

Probe Into Soldiers' Illness



Military prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into why 22 soldiers have been stricken with pneumonia at the Sosnovy Bor base in northwestern Russia, Rossiskaya Gazeta reported Tuesday.

Twenty of the 22 needed emergency care and three were in danger of dying, the newspaper said.

The case has renewed concerns about the ill-treatment of rank-and-file soldiers. (AP)

Kiev Asked to Stay in Iraq



KIEV -- Ukrainian troops have been asked to remain in Iraq beyond their target withdrawal date to help oversee parliamentary elections in December, Ukrainian Security Council head Petro Poroshenko said Tuesday.

Ukraine last week brought home 137 servicemen in the first stage of the withdrawal of its 1,600-man force there. The pullout was to have been completed by Oct. 15.

Poroshenko also said Kiev was preparing tough measures to ensure there would be no repetition of illegal exports of sensitive weaponry. He made the pledge in response to disclosures last week that missiles had been smuggled out of the country to Iran. (Reuters)

Peacekeepers Seal Village



TBILISI, Georgia -- A detachment of Russian peacekeepers on Tuesday briefly sealed off a Georgian village in a buffer zone near the breakaway province of Abkhazia in a move that Georgian military officials denounced as intimidation.

The head of the Georgian military observer mission near Abkhazia, Valery Dzhaparidze, said about 10 Russian armored vehicles and 50 troops sealed off the village of Gamukhuri and encircled the headquarters of a Georgian police unit for about 1 1/2 hours.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Nikolai Baranov defended the peacekeepers, saying that they had visited the village to warn the Georgians that they were not allowed to deploy armed units in the buffer zone. (AP)

Dudayev Traffic Circle



WARSAW -- The Foreign Ministry responded with "indignation" to a plan by Warsaw officials to name a city traffic circle after Dzhokhar Dudayev, an assassinated leader of Chechnya's independence movement. Warsaw city board members voted last week to honor Dudayev, who was killed in a 1996 Russian missile strike, by giving his name to a traffic circle on the outskirts of the Polish capital.

While Moscow views Dudayev as a terrorist, Warsaw city officials said they wanted to honor him as a symbol of independence and human rights in Chechnya. (AP)

Poland Remembers Katyn



WARSAW -- Polish lawmakers on Tuesday commemorated the 65th anniversary of a massacre of 22,000 Poles by Soviet forces, renewing calls for Moscow to classify the killings as genocide and bring the remaining perpetrators to justice.

Lawmakers stood in silence to honor the victims of the 1940 Katyn massacre -- the killing of Polish military officers, intellectuals and priests taken prisoner after the Red Army invaded Poland. (AP)

Newspaper Editor Dies



PORT ANGELES, Washington -- Ann H. Kellett Brewer, a former newspaper editor in Australia, Russia and and the United States, died Sunday of complications from cancer. She was 55.

In 1991-92, Brewer was founding editor of The New York Times News in Review, the first foreign-language edition of The New York Times, a biweekly Russian-language publication and joint venture with the Moskovskiye Novosti for readers in the former Soviet Union. (AP)

Skinhead Notebook Blasted



A prominent Jewish group is protesting the publication of school notebooks with a picture of skinheads on the cover and urging authorities to investigate.

The Federation of Jewish Communities said the notebooks, which were being sold in Moscow stores, were "a blow to the unity of the multiethnic Russian people and can be regarded as an attempt to broadly promote the anti-human youth subculture of skinheads, which entails the revival of Nazi ideology," Itar-Tass reported. The Moscow prosecutor's office has started a check into the notebooks, it said. (AP)

For the Record



President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill ratifying an international agreement on liability for nuclear damage, obliging the government to compensate victims of future nuclear accidents, the Kremlin said Tuesday. (AP)

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak on Monday dismissed U.S. concerns that its sale of assault rifles and helicopters to Venezuela was intended to encourage a regional arms race. (AP)