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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Dagestani Minister Killed

MAKHACHKALA -- A bomb exploded in an apartment building in Makhachkala on Friday, killing a local government minister and his bodyguard, law enforcement authorities said.

Zagir Arukhov, Dagestan's minister for ethnic policy, information and external relations, was killed by a blast that ripped though the entranceway to the building where he lived, Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Musayev said.

NTV television reported that about 10 people suffered injuries.

Arukhov, 45, became minister for ethnic policy after his predecessor was killed in August 2003 by unknown assailants who blew up his car. (AP)

India's Leader on 4-Day Visit

Indian President Abdul Kalam arrived Sunday on a four-day state visit expected to focus on growing bilateral trade and strong Indian demand for military hardware.

Kalam will meet with Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, parliamentary leaders and President Vladimir Putin, Itar-Tass said. Kalam, a prominent rocket scientist, was also expected to speak before the Russian Academy of Sciences. (AP)

Vote on China Border Treaty

The State Duma voted 307-80, with two abstentions, on Friday to ratify a border agreement with China that has sparked opposition accusations that Moscow created a dangerous territorial precedent and sold out to a key strategic partner in Asia.

The Foreign Ministry denied opposition allegations that Russia had made territorial concessions to China. "The agreement closes a 40-year period of negotiating on border issues. For the first time in more than 300 years of Russian-Chinese demarcation, we are getting a fully legal, demarcated border," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. (AP)

Iran Offers Compromise

VIENNA -- Iran has proposed a compromise it hopes could resolve its nuclear dispute with the European Union by having Russia carry out the sensitive final enrichment of uranium after Iran has processed it, European diplomats said.

The offer was intended to find a way for Iran to resume sensitive atomic activities it froze last year to avoid being reported to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions. (Reuters)

Finland Complains of Jets

HELSINKI -- Finland's Foreign Ministry said Russian warplanes had repeatedly entered Finnish airspace in recent months, and that it would seek talks with Moscow after requests for infringements to end were ignored.

The ministry said late Thursday that the planes were either on their way to Russia's Baltic outpost of Kaliningrad or returning to Russia.

The Russian Defense Ministry denied the allegations. (Reuters)

Chechens Protest Acquittal

GROZNY -- About 1,000 people rallied in Grozny on Friday to protest the acquittal of four members of an elite military intelligence unit charged with killing six civilians.

The protesters, mainly students, held up placards saying: "Who will defend us from terror?"

Captain Eduard Ulman and three subordinates were acquitted of murder charges on Thursday by a jury in Rostov-on-Don, in a retrial following their initial acquittal. (AP)

Hundreds Rally Over Beslan

VLADIKAVKAZ -- Hundreds of protesters, including women who lost children in the Beslan school siege, demanded on Friday that officials be prosecuted for failing to prevent the bloodshed in which 330 people died.

The protest in Vladikavkaz coincided with the trial of the only suspected hostage-taker still alive. (Reuters)

14 Militants Killed

Security officers have killed more than a dozen suspected Chechen militants, including influential rebel leader Alash Daudov, over the past several days, officials said Friday.

Ruslan Atsayev, spokesman for the Interior Ministry branch in Chechnya, said 14 suspected rebels had been killed over the past four days. Among them was Alash Daudov, a prominent militant. Authorities have also detained five suspected rebels and 12 people wanted for various crimes, Atsayev said. (AP)

Russia Bristles at Criticism

The Foreign Ministry on Friday slammed a resolution passed by European lawmakers that criticized the treatment of an ethnic minority.

The Foreign Ministry denied that the Mari, who speak a Finno-Ugric language and account for just under half of the population in the autonomous republic of Marii-El, suffer discrimination. (AP)

Trial Moved to Stavropol

A judge on Friday ordered that the case of 16 suspects charged in the slaying of seven people last year be tried outside Karachayevo-Cherkessia, where the killings prompted furious protests against the local leadership.

On the first day of trial Friday, the region's Supreme Court granted prosecutors' request to move to the case to the neighboring Stavropol region. Prosecutors said it was impossible to ensure the security of participants in the trial. (AP)

Probe Into Student's Death

Prosecutors have opened a criminal case into the death of a 16-year-old student whose health failed during a school military drill, prosecutors said Friday.

The criminal case on negligence charges was opened after the student in Yelets, 350 kilometers southeast of Moscow, collapsed and died after being forced to run more than three kilometers as part of a military exercise, said Yelena Namokonova, spokeswoman for the regional prosecutor's office. Last year, an army officer was found responsible for the death of a high school student in Siberia during a similar drill. (AP)

Kiev's Transdnestr Plan

Ukraine proposed a six-month plan Friday aimed at settling the longstanding dispute between neighboring Moldova and its breakaway Transdnestr region.

The plan grants autonomy to Transdnestr but keeps it within Moldova's borders and under its legal system. (AP)

For the Record

Belarus on Friday extradited to Russia a Chechen suspected of involvement in various terrorist attacks, including the 2002 seizure of Moscow's Dubrovka theater, Belarussian prosecutors said. Nur-Magomed Khatuyev was detained in Minsk in February. (AP)

Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski on Friday called for wider international efforts in pushing for democratic changes in Belarus. (AP)

An Su-25 fighter crashed Saturday about 25 kilometers from Dushanbe but the pilot ejected safely, the Russian Air Force said. (AP)

A Yak-52 aerobatic plane crashed during a practice flight in Krasnoyarsk on Saturday, killing the pilot after she apparently lost consciousness. (AP)