Events in Russia


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Russian Military Approves Technical Specifications for Il-276 Transport Plane

The Russian Defense Ministry has approved the tactical and technical requirements for the Il-276 prospective medium-lift military transport plane, aircraft manufacturer Ilyushin Aviation Complex told Sputnik.

“The tactical and technical requirements for a medium-lift military transport aircraft have been approved,” the company said in response to a relevant question.

"We are certain that the Il-276 will become one of the main assets of Russia's military transport aviation for several decades to come," the company stressed.

The IL-276 is a prospective two-engine medium-lift military transport aircraft, providing transportation of cargoes weighing up to 20 metric tons at a speed of up to 800 kilometres (about 500 miles) per hour.

The work on Il-276 draft design is currently underway. The plane is expected to make its maiden flight in 2023, while first deliveries to the Russian armed forces are planned for 2026.

Hypersonic Target Missile for Advanced Weapons Testing Being Created in Russia

A hypersonic target missile designed for testing of advanced weapons is being developed in Russia, director general of Russian scientific and production enterprise NPO Molniya, Olga Sokolova, told Sputnik.

"We are currently carrying out research and development work on this missile, which should be completed in 2019 with further putting into service and supply to the Defense Ministry under new contracts. This is a hypersonic target missile that is designed to test new weapons," Sokolova said.

In addition, she added that, starting from the next year, a small parachute target will be developed, and within two years after the start, this work should be commissioned.

"It is designed to train fighter and assault pilots, as well as for anti-aircraft artillery. It is launched from the ground, simulates a torch from the nozzles of an aircraft, and its cost is relatively small," Sokolova said.

She also said a supercomputer for designing advanced domestic weapons was being developed in Russia.

Russian naval ships return from long voyage across the Atlantic

A group of the Baltic Fleet ships - the corvettes Stoiky and Soobrazitelny - have ended a long voyage to the Atlantic Ocean, having covered more than 3,000 nautical miles and returned to a base in Baltiysk on Tuesday, the fleet’s press service reported.

"The ships’ crews spent more than 20 days at sea <...> The ships returned from the voyage in good repair and ready to fulfil the designated tasks after replenishment," the report says. The main task of the voyage was the provision of naval presence and the demonstration of St. Andrew’s flag in different areas of the Atlantic Ocean.

During the voyage the crews worked out tasks of the naval drills, repelled an air strike of the "enemy" and trained counter-sabotage actions while anchored at the roadstead. The crews carried out the electronic launches of anti-submarine guided missiles. Ka-27 shipborne helicopters carried out several flights, trained to rescue people in distress at sea and searched for the "enemy’s" submarine in cooperation with the ships.

The troops of sea soldiers onboard the ships worked out different tasks of anti-terrorism protection and conducted live firing on sea targets.

Epic VIDEO of Dancing Siberian Policemen Goes Viral in Russia, Receives Encores

The video was a hastily made advertisement for a local concert devoted to the Day of Russian Law Enforcement, but suddenly gained popularity among both local residents and across the country.

Police officers from Yakutia, Russia, have received requests to repeat the choreographed dance performance that they showed off in a recent filmed ad live on stage after the clip went viral. In the ad, uniformed officers performed a lively dance and in the end urged everyone to attend a music show devoted to law enforcement personnel.

The video with the dancing police officers ensured that 100% of the tickets were sold and the clips was later published on the official Twitter account of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, were it has accumulated over 45.000 views.

A local police department official said that following the unexpected popularity of the video, a nearby center for culture and entertainment had invited the officers who performed in it to repeat their success live on stage. According to the official, the department never expected the video to go viral.


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Any new US sanctions against Russia will harm ties, says Kremlin

The Kremlin won’t predict what new sanctions the US plans to slap on Russia, but is sure that any restrictions will harm bilateral relations, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with Dozhd TV channel on Wednesday.

"It’s difficult to say about the nature of these sanctions," Peskov said commenting on the expectations from the new wave of anti-Russian sanctions, which Washington may impose in November. "Will they further complicate the situation with Russian-US relations? The answer is unequivocal: certainly, they will."

Hardly anyone will make a forecast on the new wave of US sanctions now given that "our US vis-a-vis are unpredictable," he noted.

"The fact that America has recently become unpredictable is not a secret for anyone, everyone is talking about this absolutely openly because this unpredictability of such a major country and a powerful global economy is certainly an issue for deep concerns of everyone," he noted.

Kremlin: Putin, Erdogan to discuss pertinent global issues in Istanbul on November 19

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on November 19 to discuss the development of bilateral relations and topical regional and international issues, the Kremlin press office reported on Wednesday.

"Putin and Erdogan will hold a meeting to discuss the issues of further development of the Russian-Turkish relations and topical regional and international problems," the press office said in a statement.

On this day, the Russian and Turkish leaders will also take part in the ceremony of completing the construction of the offshore section of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline via a video conference.

Russian, Cuban defense ministries to develop practical cooperation

Russia and Cuba intend to develop practical cooperation between the defense ministries of the two countries, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on Wednesday.

Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergei Shoigu held negotiations with Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba Corps General Leopoldo Frias in Moscow on November 14.

"The mutual intention to develop dialogue and practical cooperation between the defense ministries of the two countries was confirmed," the Defense Ministry said.

According to the Defense Ministry, the sides discussed current issues on the bilateral agenda in the military and military-technical spheres.

"The ministers’ meeting was held for the development of agreements after negotiations held between the Russian and Cuban leaders in early November," the ministry stressed.

Kremlin keeps close watch on situation with oil market prices

The Kremlin keeps a close watch on the situation with the oil market prices, but for now refrains from any assessment, Russian Presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Wednesday.

"We are closely observing how the situation is developing on the energy markets" said Peskov, while commenting on the position of the US President Donald Trump, who called on Saudi Arabia and OPEC not to restrict oil production. "There is a certain volatility present, but the market is what it is. No other comments are possible right now."

On November 12, US President Donald Trump expressed the hope that Saudi Arabia, as well as other OPEC will not cut oil production. In his opinion, oil prices should be much lower, based on supply.

However, Saudi Arabia Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said at the ADIPEC conference on November 12 that it is reasonable for OPEC+ agreement participants to cut daily production of oil by 1 mln barrels from the last-month level.

"If all things remain equal, and they almost certainly will not, technical analysis from OPEC and JTC [Joint Technical Committee - TASS] tells us there will need to be a reduction in supply from October levels close to 1 million barrels per day. We’re going to be flexible, there is a consensus we need to do whatever it takes to balance market," the minister said.

Saudi Arabia expects that OPEC+ countries will reach a consensus on action in 2019 at the meeting in December, Al-Falih said. A certain decision will be made definitely, he added.

Russian companies eye supplying LNG to Thailand

Russian companies are interested in supplying liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the Thai market, Russian Energy Ministry’s press service reported with reference to Minister Alexander Novak on Wednesday.

"The operations of the group (Russian-Thai bilateral working group - TASS) make it possible to coordinate the work on joint projects in all areas of the fuel and energy sector. Russian energy resources - oil, petroleum products and coal - are delivered stably to Thailand. Considering the great importance of natural gas for Thailand’s power generation, as well as considering the growth of gas consumption, Russian companies are interested in organizing the supplies of liquefied natural gas to Thailand’s market," Novak was quoted as saying.

The minister also considers the construction of power generation facilities in Thailand a promising cooperation area for Russian companies.

The two countries boast a long track record of energy cooperation, the ministry added.

Russia to start trials of large amphibious assault ship next year

The large amphibious assault ship Pyotr Morgunov under construction at the Yantar Shipyard in Kaliningrad on order from Russia’s Defense Ministry will start trials no later than March 2019, Shipyard CEO Eduard Yefimov said on Wednesday.

"The Pyotr Morgunov is in a high degree of its readiness. The ship is expected to accommodate the crew in January, enter trials no later than February-March and begin shipbuilders’ sea trials in June," the chief executive was quoted by the Shipyard’s newspaper Vperyod as saying.

The large amphibious assault ship Pyotr Morgunov was floated out at the Yantar Shipyard on the Baltic coast on May 25.

The Pyotr Morgunov is the first serial-produced Project 11711 warship designed by the Nevskoye Design Bureau. The contract on the warship’s construction was concluded with Russia’s Defense Ministry in September 2014 and the warship was laid down in June 2015.

The Pyotr Morgunov is the largest in its class and displaces 5,000 tonnes. The warship is expected to be accepted for service in the Russian Navy after all of its trials are over.

The Pyotr Morgunov will be able to take on its board 13 main battle tanks, or 36 armored personnel carriers or infantry fighting vehicles. An option is envisaged for taking a marine infantry battalion on its board.

The amphibious assault ship can also transport a reinforced marine infantry company with organic military hardware and land it with the use of pontoons.

The amphibious assault ship is armed with 30mm six-barrel artillery guns and two Kamov Ka-29 transport/attack helicopters in its deck hangars.

The Project’s lead ship Ivan Gren was floated out in Kaliningrad in May 2012. It was accepted for service in the Russian navy on June 20, 2018. It arrived at the Northern Fleet’s man naval base of Severomorsk in late October.

Moscow graveyard brawler sentenced to 11 years behind bars

The Moscow City Court has sentenced the former director of a Moscow funeral home, Yuri Chabuyev, to 11 years in prison for organizing riots at the Khovanskoye Cemetery in southwestern Moscow, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom.

"The court hereby finds Chabuyev guilty and … sentences him to 11 years in a maximum-security prison," the verdict reads.

The 16 defendants in the case are charged with felonies under Section 212 of Russia’s Criminal Code ("Organization of mass riots and participation in them"), Section 111 ("Causing serious harm to health, resulting in the death of two or more people") and Section 286 ("Abuse of power"). During the trial, the prosecutors demanded that Chabuyev get a 13-year sentence in a maximum-security facility and prison terms for the other defendants varying from 4 to 12 years.

The defendants in the case will appeal the verdict, Mikhail Karapetyan, the defense attorney of one of those convicted, informed TASS. "The verdict is illegal and unfounded. We will be sure to appeal it," he vowed.

A mass brawl and shootout involving more than 200 people broke out at the Khovanskoye Cemetery on May 14, 2016. Three people were killed and more than 30 others were hospitalized. According to investigators, the altercation broke out because the management and labor migrants failed to come to terms on how to share the cemetery’s grounds.

Eight women sue Russian top brass over ban from serving in elite force

Eight Russian women have filed a lawsuit against the Russian National Guard and the Defense Ministry over being barred from contract service in a special ops unit, Acting Head of Rosgvardia’s Main Organization and Mobilization Department Dmitry Virukhin said.

Under the regulation, women can be recruited only for positions replaceable by men such as cooks, communications operators, telegraphists and technologists, he explained. "We have a list of positions, which are replaceable. These women came and wrote reports that they want to serve as snipers. This is not a replaceable position, this is not a position for women."

In addition, women can neither drive a tank nor work as mechanics of an armored vehicle.

More than 20,000 women are currently on contract service in the country and the number of those willing to join the Russian army has been on the rise, the official said.


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Putin expects to meet with Chinese leader at G20 summit in Argentina

Russian President Vladimir Putin expects to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Argentina in late November, the Russian leader said at a meeting with Premier of the Chinese State Council Li Keqiang on Thursday.

"I hope that soon on the sidelines of the G20 meeting we will manage to meet with President Xi Jinping and talk about strategic stability and the issues related to the development of bilateral relations," Putin said.

The Russian leader noted that it was vital to meet with Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Singapore and that he maintains a permanent contact with Xi Jinping.

Putin asked to convey his best regards to the Chinese leader. "Thanks to the efforts of our governments, trade and economic ties are developing at a noticeable and impressing rate, creating a good basis for our special strategic partnership," Putin noted.

Li Keqiang noted that China was ready to implement the earlier reached agreements jointly with its Russian partners to ensure that trade and economic cooperation between the two countries produces the expected results.

Putin plans to discuss New START, INF Treaty with Trump

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said among the key issues on the agenda of a possible Russian-US summit will be the fate of the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and also regional issues.

"One of key issues, certainly, is strategic stability," Putin told reporters speaking about possible topics at his meeting with US President Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Argentina in late November. "We should understand what will be with the New START and the INF Treaty, and how events will develop here," Putin explained.

"There are other issues related to how our bilateral economic ties will develop," Putin noted. "There are promising areas, and both the US and we are interested in fostering them."

"And finally, the hot spots - Syria, the North Korean nuclear program and relations with Iran in the framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Both the US and Russia are involved in these issues and no doubt, we need dialogue at the highest and an expert level," the president said.

The Russian leader said at the recent events in Paris marking the 100th anniversary of the World War I Armistice the leaders held an intense discussion during a working breakfast on the issues of global security and economy. Putin and Trump took part in it.

Preparations for meeting

Russia continues preparing for a meeting with the US president, Putin said. Meanwhile, he admitted that any unfriendly steps such as the widely expected new wave of anti-Russian sanctions slapped by the US could make adjustments to the effort. "Any unfriendly steps somehow impact the schedule of work and the schedule of meetings," he said.

Putin noted that he has agreed with Trump to hold a meeting during the G20 summit. "In case this works out, we are ready," he confirmed. At the meeting ahead of the press conference US Vice President Michael Pence said that the US side had been also preparing for the meeting, Putin noted. "Let’s see what comes out of this." "We are ready to restore full-fledged work as long as the US partners are ready."

US President Donald Trump said on October 20 that his country would quit the INF Treaty because Russia was allegedly in breach of that agreement. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov described this as a dangerous move. Washington was also criticized in Berlin and Beijing. In the meantime, London came out in support of the United States and NATO placed the responsibility for Trump’s decision on Russia, because in its opinion Moscow had apparently violated the treaty.

The INF Treaty was signed on December 8, 1987 and took effect on June 1, 1988. It outlawed deployed and non-deployed intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers) ground-based missiles. In recent years Washington has repeatedly alleged Russia was in breach of the agreement. Moscow emphatically dismissed the charges and countered them with its own claims over the United States’ non-compliance.

The New START Treaty, which was signed on April 8, 2010, and entered into force in 2011, stipulates that seven years after its entry into effect, each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed missile launchers.

The document is set to remain in effect until February 5, 2021, unless it is replaced with another agreement on nuclear arms reduction. It can also be extended for no more than five years with the consent of the parties.

Lavrov to visit Italy on November 22-23

Russian top diplomat Sergey Lavrov will visit Italy on November 22-23, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Thursday.

"On November 22-23, the Russian foreign minister will make a working visit to Italy. His agenda includes talks with his Italian counterpart Enzo Moavero Milanesi and a brief meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte," she said. "Lavrov is also expected to address an international conference dubbed Rome MED - Mediterranean Dialogues and hold a number of bilateral meetings on the event’s sidelines," Zakharova added.

According to her, the Russian and Italian foreign ministers will "hold a thorough exchange of views on a wide range of bilateral issues, taking into consideration the outcome of the Italian prime minister’s visit to Moscow on October 23-24."

"Much attention is expected to be paid to global issues, including European security, crises in Libya and Syria, the implementation of the Minsk Agreements and the situation surrounding Iran’s nuclear program," Zakharova said. "There are plans to touch upon the agenda of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Ways to boost cultural and humanitarian cooperation will also be discussed," the Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman noted.

She pointed out that "Italy is one of Russia’s most important political and economic partners in western Europe." "Despite unfavorable external developments, Russian-Italian ties remain stable, intensive high-level political dialogue goes on, cooperation continues between lawmakers, judicial authorities and universities, as well as between the two countries’ regions," Zakharova noted.

Lavrov to visit Portugal on November 24, says spokeswoman

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit Portugal’s capital city Lisbon on November 24 to meet with the president and the Portuguese counterpart, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday.

"Talks will focus on the whole range of bilateral relations, as well as cooperation on the global arena over most pressing issues of world politics," the spokeswoman said.

"The visit of the Russian foreign minister to Lisbon will take place on November 24, at the invitation of the Portuguese side," she said, adding that Lavrov was scheduled for talks with counterpart Augusto Santos Silva and separate talks with President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

"The sides also intend to sign a memorandum between the foreign ministries on mutual understanding on conducting political consultations," the diplomat said.

"The ministers also plan to discuss ways to give a boost to economic cooperation which has been growing of late. Thus, in 2017 bilateral trade amounted to about $1.5 billion, and growth has continued this year," Zakharova stressed. She said a next session of the Russian-Portuguese inter-governmental commission for economic and technical cooperation was scheduled for December 6-7.

"Relations in the cultural-humanitarian sector will also be a top focus," she added. The diplomat said the sides also planed to discuss future cooperation in supporting each other’s candidates at elections to international organizations.

Bilateral relations of Russia and Portugal are traditionally based on partnership on principles of mutual respect and constructive cooperation.

"A regular political dialogue at the top and summit levels is maintained. Let me remind you that this past July, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a conversation with the Portuguese president who visited our country within the framework of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Portuguese foreign minister has visited Moscow twice in the past two years," the diplomat added.

Security chief praises Russian-Chinese partnership

Russian-Chinese strategic partnership that is at an unprecedentedly high level now may be considered as an example of international relations of new type which are based on principles of equality and mutual respect. Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said about it at a meeting with member of China’s Central Politburo and Secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China Guo Shengkun.

Patrushev and Guo Shengkun are holding Russian-Chinese consultations on public security, justice and public order in Moscow on Thursday.

"Russian-Chinese strategic partnership is at an unprecedentedly high level. It may be called a bright example of international relations of new type based on equality, confidence, mutual respect and regard for each other’s interests," Patrushev said, starting off the meeting.

According to the Russian Security Council secretary, Russia and China are united by overlapping or at least similar approaches to major global and regional problems, common evaluations of the modern situation in the world and prospects for building a polycentric world.

Working and personal relations between the Russian and Chinese leaders were established, Patrushev added. He reiterated that Russian President Vladimir Putin made a successful official visit to China this year, and Chinese President Xi Jinping took part in the Eastern Economic Forum.

Guo Shengkun noted, for his part, the successful development of cooperation between China and Russia under the Belt and Road Initiative, in economy, finance, energy and other spheres. The partnership between China and Russia in certain regions is also developing, he said. "I am confident that all these contacts will consolidate and will contribute to the development of our countries and serve as a peace and security guarantor in the (Asia-Pacific) region and the world," Guo Shengkun said.

He also stressed the importance of implementing the decisions that were taken at the previous Russian-Chinese consultations. "We should strive to reach specific results in the consolidation of security and public order," Guo Shengkun stressed.

Caspian Flotilla to be reinforced with aircraft, ships and marines

The Caspian Flotilla will receive new ships, aircraft and a naval infantry regiment in a new naval base in Dagestan, said commander of the Caspian Flotilla Rear Admiral Sergei Pinchuk.

"The Caspian Flotilla’s base in Dagestan will be reinforced with a naval infantry regiment, as well as new aircraft equipment and ships, including two missile boats and two small air-cushioned landing ships," the press service of the Southern Military District quoted Pinchuk as saying.

The rear admiral reiterated that the construction of the flotilla’s main naval base in the military town of Kaspiysk and the reconstruction of the naval base for a brigade of surface ships in Makhachkala are planned to be carried out in two stages, starting from July 2018. The end of all works is planned in the first half of 2020.

Construction to develop the infrastructure of the 71st town is underway, and a barracks and a cultural center are ready for operation. A military hospital started operating in the flotilla’s new naval base, the personnel of which is already receiving patients.

New naval bases make it possible to station additional naval infantry units, aircraft units, combat and logistic support units, as well as build up communication systems, Pinchuk said.

The Caspian Flotilla personnel celebrates the 296th anniversary on November 15.

Northern Fleet to get first Arctic air defense systems Tor on November 22 — source

The first Artic air defense systems Tor will be delivered to the Northern Fleet next week, a source in the military-industrial complex told TASS.

"The first battalion of Arctic air defense systems Tor-M2DT will be handed over to the Northern Fleet on November 22," the source said.

Earlier, the chief of the Russian Armed Forces’ field air defense system, Lieutenant-General Alexander Leonov, said that the Tor systems were to be handed over to the Northern Fleet in a ceremony on the premises of the 726th air defense training center in Yeisk, the Krasnodar Region, in November.

Tor-M2DT is the Arctic configuration of Tor-M2, installed on the tracked articulated chassis DT-30M, boasting unique cross-country parameters and the ability to negotiate ditches and water obstacles and stay operational at air temperatures as low as 50 degrees below freezing. They hit the target within seconds after identification.

Kalashnikov gunmaker developing hypersonic target missile for testing air defense systems

The Molniya Research and Production Association (part of the Kalashnikov Group) is developing a new hypersonic target missile dubbed Gvozdika (Carnation) designed for testing advanced air defense systems, Molniya CEO Olga Sokolova said in an interview with Kalashnikov Media on Thursday.

"Now we are working on a new target missile Gvozdika, which we are developing on order from the Defense Ministry. We immersed ourselves deeply in this area when we worked on the Strizh and the Armavir [target missiles]," Sokolova said.

According to the chief executive, an idea emerged to develop a new project that would meet modern realities.

"A target missile is actually a simulated enemy missile and an enemy does not sit idle and continues constantly developing," Sokolova said.

The Molniya chief executive disclosed some characteristics of the new practice target.

"This is a hypersonic missile that will fly at an altitude of 10,000 meters with an option of its maneuvering," Sokolova said.

As the Molniya chief executive said, the new target missile will be able to fly at a low altitude, following the terrain.

"This is quite a universal vehicle that will simulate the latest achievements of our potential adversaries," Sokolova said.

The Molniya Research and Production Association expects to start the production of the new target missile in 2021, the chief executive said.

Russian Guard for raising minimum age for gun possession by three years to 21

The Russian Guard has come out with a proposal for raising to 21 from today’s 18 the minimum age for gun possession.

"We insist on and support the idea of increasing the minimum age of those allowed to purchase firearms to 21 years from 18 and we are asking the legislators to use that as a basis," the Russian Guard’s deputy chief, Sergey Lebedev, told the media on Thursday. He was speaking at a meeting of the first group of the State Duma’s committee on security and resistance to corruption. The group was created for analysis and perfection of legislation related to the activity of private security firms and control of firearms in the wake of the Kerch college shooting disaster.

The Russian Guard’s spokesman Valery Gribakin explained that this legislative initiative would not apply to athletes, fishermen and rangers.

"In all, about 15,000 owners of civilian firearms are within the age category of 18 to 21 years. More than four million Russians possess civilian firearms. The age qualification rise will not apply to athletes, hunters and rangers," he said.

An 18-year-old student of the Kerch Polytechnic College on September 17 staged an explosion and opened fire inside one of the college buildings, killing 20 and injuring some 50 others. The attacker shot himself.

Crimea’s head Sergey Aksyonov said the student had obtained the permission to purchase a shotgun in a legal way. Earlier, a former adviser to the Russian Guard’s director, State Duma member Alexander Khinshtein, said the young man had obtained permission to purchase a gun in September 2018. For that he was to undergo a course of training and present medical certificates.


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November 15, 2018 - Russia's Putin says everyone should be free to attend Davos Forum
Russia's Putin says everyone should be free to attend Davos forum | Reuters

Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Singapore November 15, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that everyone should be free to decide whether or not to attend the Davos World Economic Forum, commenting on a report that three Russian businessmen had been barred from the event over sanctions.

Putin was speaking to reporters at a regional summit in Singapore in response to a question about whether a Russian delegation would take part in the forum after restrictions on the Russian businessmen were reported by the Financial Times.

(Putin has the same stern-serious-look when he meets Pence, as he did - when meeting up with Obama?)
November 15, 2018 - Russia's Putin discusses Nuclear Pact with US's Pence
Russia's Putin discusses nuclear pact with U.S.'s Pence | Reuters

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) speaks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during a meeting on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Singapore November 15, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he discussed Washington's plans to exit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) arms treaty with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence when they met in Singapore on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters at a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Putin said he and Pence had also discussed relations with Iran.

November 15, 2018 - Putin talks to Pence, Bolton before East Asia Summit
Putin talks to Pence, Bolton before East Asia Summit


Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken briefly with US Vice President Mike Pence and White House National Security Adviser John Bolton before the beginning of the plenary session of the East Asia Summit in Singapore.

Before taking part in the joint photo op session, Putin talked to Pence, who leads the US delegation, for a couple of minutes "on the go" in the presence of an interpreter. Bolton took part in the conversation as well.

Prior to that, Putin also spoke briefly with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The meeting was attended by Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov.

The East Asia Summit is an authoritative platform for cooperation between countries in the Asia Pacific on a wide range of political and economic issues. Traditional agenda includes ensuring peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, improving regional security architecture, cooperation in the spheres of energy, ecology, healthcare, education, financial issues, food security and others.

This annual international forum has been held since 2005 in connection with summits of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The forum brings together 18 countries - ASEAN member countries (Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines) and dialogue partners (Russia, US, Japan, South Korea, India, China, Australia, New Zealand).

This year, Russia is represented at the event at the top level for the first time. In 2005, Putin attended the first East Asia Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as a guest of honor.

November 14, 2018 - Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny flies out of Russia after exit ban lifted
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny flies out of Russia after exit ban lifted | Reuters

FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny walks out following his release, after 20 days in jail where he was held on charges of staging an illegal protest last month, in Moscow, Russia October 14, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was allowed to fly out of Russia on Wednesday to attend the finale of a case he filed at Europe's top human rights court, a day after border guards stopped him leaving the country.

Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition figure, wants to be in Strasbourg on Thursday when the European Court of Human Rights is due to rule on whether his numerous detentions by police in Russia have been politically-motivated or not.

He was prevented from flying out of Moscow on Tuesday over an unpaid court fine, which he said had been suddenly and illegally enforced as a pretext to stop him traveling abroad.

The Federal Bailiffs Service, which blocked his exit, did not respond to a request for comment regarding Navalny’s allegations that its actions were illegal.

However, it told the TASS news agency on Tuesday evening that it had rescinded the travel ban after Navalny had paid the fine.

The 42-year-old lawyer posted a photograph on social media of himself passing through passport control at a Moscow airport on Wednesday and said he had encountered no problems leaving the country this time.

November 15, 2018 - Kremlin critic Navalny was a political prisoner, rules European Court
Kremlin critic Navalny was a political prisoner, rules European court | Reuters

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny reacts with his lawyers after the judgment regarding his case against Russia at the European court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, November 15, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday that Russia's repeated arrests and detention of opposition leader Alexei Navalny were politically-motivated and breached his human rights, a decision Moscow called questionable.

The court, based in Strasbourg, said Navalny had been subject to seven such arrests in 2012 and in 2014 and that at least two of those arrests had been designed to suppress political pluralism.

“The Court found that there was ‘converging contextual evidence’ that the authorities were becoming increasingly severe towards Mr Navalny and that his allegation of being a particular target appeared coherent in the context of a general move to bring the opposition under control,” it said in a statement.

It ordered Russia to pay around 64,000 euros ($72,000) in damages and costs to Navalny, saying his right to liberty, a fair trial and freedom of assembly had been violated.

In a rebuke that Russia is likely to regard as interference in its internal affairs, the court also recommended that Moscow act to ensure the right to peaceful assembly is upheld.

Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, was barred from running against Vladimir Putin in a presidential election earlier this year and has been repeatedly jailed for organizing what the authorities say are illegal protests.

Putin, who makes a point of never pronouncing Navalny’s name in public, has suggested that he is backed by the United States, something the 42-year old lawyer and blogger denies.

Navalny has tried to mobilize supporters with a series of investigations exposing official corruption which have been watched online by millions of Russians.

Navalny, who was in Strasbourg for the ruling, welcomed the court’s decision. He said he was delighted it had ruled his treatment had been politically-motivated, something it has not done in a case concerning Russia for many years.

“Despite pressure from Russia, it has become clear ... that European justice does not intend to ignore obvious facts,” he told reporters.

Russia’s justice ministry questioned what it portrayed as the flawed and inconsistent logic of the ruling, but said it would pay the court-ordered damages and costs, the Interfax news agency reported.

Navalny had difficulties getting to Strasbourg for the ruling when he was initially prevented from flying out of Moscow on Tuesday over an unpaid court fine. He said the fine been suddenly and illegally enforced as a pretext to stop him traveling abroad.

He flew out of Moscow on Wednesday after the Federal Bailiffs service rescinded the travel ban, saying Navalny had paid the fine.

Navalny’s legal team said Moscow could not appeal what is a final and binding ruling which is likely to strain already poor relations between Russia and the Strasbourg-based court.

Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the Russian parliament’s international affairs committee, said the ruling raised questions about the court’s objectivity.

“The ECHR is increasingly becoming a tool to pressure our country,” Slutsky wrote on social media.

November 15, 2018 - Chechen Leader's Instagram Account briefly unblocked
Chechen leader's Instagram account briefly unblocked | Reuters

FILE PHOTO: Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov (front) walks before a ceremony inaugurating Vladimir Putin as President of Russia at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia May 7, 2018. Sputnik/Sergei Savostyanov/Pool via REUTERS

The Instagram account of Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed head of Russia's Chechnya region and an avid social media user until he was banned last year, was unblocked briefly and then blocked again after he used it to post an ode to his pistol.

Kadyrov, a former anti-Russian rebel turned pro-Russian politician, was suspended from Facebook and Instagram in December last year, soon after he was placed on a U.S. sanctions list for alleged rights abuses.

He has long used both social media platforms, especially Instagram where he has amassed more than 3 million followers with regular photos of his life and posts of his views.

Screenshots shared widely on social media showed that his Instagram account was back up on Wednesday and remained live for at least eight hours. After his first new post - a photo of himself holding a gun and wearing protective glasses - it was blocked once again.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook Inc, did not reply to a request for comment.

“On Wednesday my @kadyrov_95 Instagram page was unblocked. Justice has prevailed. It took about 11 months to achieve,” Kadyrov wrote on his public feed of another app, Telegram, where he has 40,000 subscribers.

“All that time, millions of my subscribers were denied the opportunity to receive information first hand,” Kadyrov wrote on Telegram, before his Instagram feed was blocked again.

During his brief foray back on Instagram, he included an ode to his pistol alongside the photo.

“GUN. How much I need to say about you, my friend. As if in this silence there is only you and I,” Kadyrov posted.

U.S. authorities accuse Kadyrov, who has been in charge of the majority-Muslim region of southern Russia since 2007, of overseeing “an administration involved in disappearances and extrajudicial killings”.

Rights groups and Western governments allege that authorities in Chechnya repress their political opponents, discriminate against women and persecute gays, all allegations that Chechnya’s leaders deny.

Chechnya was brought to heel by Russia after two wars against pro-independence rebels there in the 1990s which killed tens of thousands of people and reduced the region’s towns and cities to rubble. The capital Grozny has since been lavishly rebuilt.


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FOTCM Member
Three Missing in Freighter Sinking off Kamchatka Peninsula
By MarEx 2018-11-14 17:08:00
Russian authorities are investigating the sinking of the coastal freighter Anatoly Krasheninnikov, which went down Friday off Kambalny Bay, near the southern tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula. Five crewmembers and five passengers were rescued by a fish processing vessel, but three others have not been found.

The Kamchatka division of Russian emergency management agency EMERCOM dispatched an Mi-8 helicopter to conduct a search on November 10, and covered an area of about 800 square miles. Surface and shoreline search efforts for the missing continue, but SAR aircraft operations have been hampered by poor weather. A heavy winter storm brought winds of 50 knots and blizzard snow conditions to the peninsula's eastern shores on November 12.

The Krasheninnikov was a 1,000 dwt coastal freighter dating to the Soviet era. She was transporting 300 tons of cargo to Palana, a town on the peninsula's northeast coast, at the time of the accident.

Prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into whether the sinking was the result of a violation of federal rules on the safe operation of marine transportation. Deputy transport prosecutor Ivan Netsvet told TASS on Wednesday that there were signs that the Krasheninnikov had been out of compliance on the accident voyage. "The ship's crew list had 10 names, but, in fact, the crew consisted of only eight members," he said. "In addition, it was also established that five passengers were not authorized to be on board."

The prosecutors' inquiry will look into two other potential causes - the possibility of a technical malfunction on board and the effects of severe weather.

The families of the missing seafarers will receive about $4,500 each in government compensation, and a memorial service has been scheduled for November 17.

In the shadows of a long-silent East German nuclear reactor on the edge of the Baltic Sea, engineers are drilling, dredging, and digging in a forest clearing. As one set of workers shifts contaminated concrete and other radioactive materials from the Soviet-designed Greifswald plant, half a kilometer away contractors for Gazprom PJSC are building the latest monument to Europe’s growing dependence on Russia for energy: the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Germany could receive more gas pumped directly from Siberian fields as soon as late next year.

The $11 billion pipeline is one of three giant projects helping the world’s biggest gas producer strengthen its grip on Europe and Asia. Thousands of miles to the east, the Power of Siberia pipeline will connect with China, and a project under the Black Sea will deliver fuel to Turkey and southeast Europe.

Russia has sold gas to Europe since World War II, meeting more than a third of the Continent’s demand last year. That share could rise to 40 percent by 2025 if increased demand from China and its Asian neighbors, and higher prices, continue to tempt liquefied natural gas tankers eastward, says Jonathan Stern, a distinguished research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. “Expensive energy is back, mainly driven by China,” says Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency. “We’re seeing record gas imports from Russia.” The decline of Groningen, the giant Dutch gas field, has also increased Europe’s import demand.

President Donald Trump, keen to sell natural gas to Europe and capitalize on the U.S. shale boom, has described Germany as “captive” to Moscow. Last year he signed legislation giving him the right to sanction companies involved in Nord Stream 2, including five European partners that are helping fund it. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Oct. 3 that the pipeline, whose older sibling runs roughly along the same route and began delivering fuel in 2011, would be built even if the other companies pulled out.

Nord Stream 2 also has detractors closer to home. Poland, which has a fractured relationship with its former Soviet ally, nixed the formation of a joint venture of European energy companies that would work with Gazprom on the pipeline. The country still buys Russian gas but plans to replace it with fuel from Norway and other countries when its contract expires by the end of 2022.

The German government and its biggest utilities point to a commercial relationship with Russia that’s survived the Cold War as well as increasing tensions over Ukraine. “They’ve been a reliable supplier for the last 50 to 60 years,” says Thomas Bareiss, Germany’s state secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. “And Russia needs to talk to the European Union. It keeps us talking.”

Russian natural gas exports to Europe are having another banner year, after the country shipped a record 6.8 trillion cubic feet in 2017. But Andree Stracke, chief commercial officer at the trading unit of German utility RWE AG, isn’t worried by Gazprom’s increasing hold on the market. “At some point, politicians need to say if they are concerned, but for us it is business,” he says. “It is a free accessible market. Whoever wants to sell is welcome to sell their volumes.”

Gazprom has also had to adjust to how the European market has evolved. Since gas is now its own traded commodity, its price is less closely linked to the cost of crude oil and more informed by local natural gas prices.

Demand for gas could soar after Germany shuts down its last nuclear reactor by 2022 and retires more coal plants, according to Ralf Bickel, a senior energy adviser at Nord Stream 2. “Having additional supply from Russia puts Europe in a much more comfortable situation,” he says. —With Anna Shiryaevskaya, Reed Landberg, Dina Khrennikova, and Elena Mazneva

This week, multiple media reports alleged that the Israeli military was training to destroy Russian-made air defence systems, including the S-300s recently delivered to Syria. The reports followed an expression of hope by the US that Russia would allow Tel Aviv to resume its airstrikes against so-called "Iranian targets" in the Arab Republic.

Moscow's warnings against renewed Israeli attacks in Syria, as well as an increased Russian interest in events in Lebanon, are worrying developments and there' a "real danger" of closing the Israel Defence Forces' "operational window of opportunity" in these countries, Haaretz defence contributor Amos Harel wrote.

In recent years, the observer noted, Tel Aviv "exploited the upheaval in the Arab world to expand its offensive activity," engaging in "hundreds of airstrikes and special operations" in Syria and Lebanon said to be focused on "preventing Iran from smuggling advanced weaponry to Hezbollah," and "preventing Iran's military entrenchment in Syria."

Iran, for the record, has denied that it has a major military presence in Syria, saying that its operations are limited to military advisors assisting Syrian forces in their fight against Islamist extremism.

In any case, following the accidental destruction of a Russian reconnaissance plane by Syrian air defences responding to an Israeli air raid on September 17, which the Russian military blamed on Israeli recklessness, Israeli attacks stopped.

"Whether Russia is truly still angry over the downing of [the Il-20]…during an Israeli airstrike two months ago or is just exploiting it to dictate new strategic rules in the north, the result is the same," Harel argued, pointing to Russian President Vladimir Putin's comments Thursday that he had no further plans to meet with his Israeli counterpart anytime soon.
"Russia has made it clear to Israel in many ways that the status quo ante is gone," Harel noted, hinting that Moscow would no longer allow Tel Aviv to disrupt Russia's "main project" in Syria: the restoration of Syrian government control over the country and the signing of contracts President Assad "that will protect Moscow's security and economic interests in the country."

As evidence, the observer cited the Russian military's "confrontational attitude" toward Israeli forces in Syria, and a "more aggressive tone" on the emergency hotline between the Russian base at Hmeymim and Israeli Air Force HQ.

After the loss of the Russian aircraft in September, Moscow began the delivery of three battalion sets of S-300 air defence systems to Syria. In addition, the Russian defence ministry promised to provide Syria with its friend/foe target identification system, along with assistance in the radio-electronic suppression of the satellite navigation, airborne radars and combat communications systems of aircraft attempting to hit non-terrorist targets in Syria. Russian air defence troops are presently embedded with their Syrian counterparts, engaged in a training operation that will last until at least December.

According to Harel, Russia may challenge Israeli military options in Lebanon, too, with the analyst pointing to what he said was Putin's "increased interest in events" in that country recently. "In the worst-case scenario, the defensive umbrella – both real and symbolic –that Russia has spread over northwest Syria would be expanded to Lebanon, further complicating Israel's calculus," the observer wrote.

Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed Lebanon during their talks in October, and again at their meeting on Sunday, with Netanyahu describing the latter discussions as a "short talk" without elaborating.

Ultimately, Harel suggested that "trying to figure out what Putin wants, in Syria and perhaps also in Lebanon," is infinitely more challenging than "playing chess" with the Hezbollah movement. "Netanyahu was presumably hinting at this problem, among others, when he spoke about security considerations that he can't share with the public, at the memorial for Ben-Gurion earlier this week," the observer speculated.

Netanyahu's cabinet saw a major shakeup this week after defence minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned, accusing the prime minister of "surrendering to Hamas terror" after Tel Aviv reached a ceasefire with the Palestinians in Gaza on Tuesday. Lieberman's departure was followed by the resignation of immigration minister Sofa Landver.

During remarks about the Gaza ceasefire at the Ben-Gurion memorial Wednesday, Netanyahu said that "in times of crisis, at a time of fateful decisions regarding security, the public at times cannot be a partner to decisive considerations that must be hidden from the enemy." The prime minister's remarks led to speculation in the Israeli media about what exactly Netanyahu meant.


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Russian bombers destroy ‘enemy’ convoy during drills near Volga River

The crews of tactical bombers Su-24M have destroyed an "enemy" military convoy near the Volga River during tactical flight training, head of the Southern Military District Vadim Astafyev said on Friday.

"Ten crews of the Su-24 bombers of the aviation regiment stationed in the Volgograd Region have successfully performed training tasks and destroyed a group of ground targets that imitated enemy armored vehicles," Astafyev said.

Besides, the crews trained to maneuver skirting "enemy" fighters at an altitude of 200 to 1,000 meters.

The crews carried out 20 missions and about 100 launches of unguided airborne missiles and bombs during the exercise. All flight and engineer-technical personnel of the aviation regiment took part in the exercise, along with support and communication personnel.

Russia’s FSB carries out massive operation against Jehovah’s Witnesses in Crimea

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has carried out dozens of searches against members of the religious organization Jehovah's Witnesses, which is outlawed in Russia, in Crimea’s city of Dzankoy, the TV channel Rossiya-24 reported on Friday.

The sect’s leader, Sergei Filatov, was detained overnight into November 16. Extremist literature and booklets describing ways to recruit people were found in his flat. A criminal case was launched against him under Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code ("Extremism"), the TV channel reported.

Jehovah’s Witnesses members in Dzhankoy are also suspected of collusion with Ukrainian intelligence services. According to the report, this sect was managed from Kharkov.

Mayor extols Moscow’s ‘best destination for business and event tourism’ rating

Moscow has been rated the best destination for business and event tourism, Sergei Sobyanin, Mayor of the Russian capital, wrote on Twitter following the Business Traveller Russia and CIS Awards ceremony.

"Moscow has been rated as the best world destination for business and event tourism. The annual international Business Traveller Russia and CIS Awards ceremony took place yesterday," the tweet reads.

Sobyanin pointed out that the 2018 FIFA World Cup had boosted tourist interest in Moscow.

"The 2018 World Cup, which FIFA praised as the best in history, played a role. By the way, during the awards ceremony, Moscow received a special prize from football fans and FIFA for ensuring security during the tournament and brilliantly organizing the event," the mayor emphasized.

Polar prospects: Russia to research Antarctica’s mineral resource potential

Polar Marine Geosurvey Expedition, a St. Petersburg-based subsidiary of Russia’s state-owned Rosgeologiya, has started a geological and geophysical study along with an assessment of the mineral resource potential of the Antarctica and its peripheral seas as part of the 64th Russian Antarctic Expedition, Rosgeologiya said in a statement.

The project is implemented under a government contract with Russia’s I.S. Gramberg Scientific Research Institute for Geology and Mineral Resources of the World Ocean.

The study will be conducted in the Pacific zone of the Antarctica between the Amundsen and the Ross Seas, Queen Mary Land near Bunger Oasis, according to the statement.

The team is expected to carry out the geological study covering the Antarctic mainland, as well as aerovisual and onshore magnetometer observations, airborne landings, in addition to collecting samples for geochronology purposes. Moreover, expedition members will conduct a geophysical airborne survey, and also conservation and geo-ecological efforts.

The research vessel the Academician Alexander Karpinsky is set to leave the port of St. Petersburg on December 20, 2018, to perform the offshore research. The survey season is schedule for completion in April 2019, with the final report to the customer expected at the end of 2019.

Rosgeologiya is Russia’s multi-industry geological holding company, which offers a full range of geological exploration services from regional surveys to stratigraphic drilling and subsoil monitoring.

Agreement to ease visa regime between Russia and Cuba to come into effect on December 21

The Russian-Cuban agreement on the easing of visa restrictions will come into force on December 21, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Friday.

"In accordance with the agreement, the term of the visa-free regime for trips will be increased from 30 to 90 days during each period of 180 days, starting from the date of the first entry, for citizens of the Russian Federation who are owners of valid passports, including diplomatic and service passports, and citizens of the Republic of Cuba who are owners of valid passports, including diplomatic, service and official passports," the ministry noted.

The ministry added that citizens who plan to stay on the territory of the other state for more than 90 days should get a corresponding visa in the consulate of the country they are going to enter. The current agreement will abolish the treaty on the terms of mutual trips for citizens of both states as of December 3, 1993.

Putin hails Russia’s growing pharmaceutical industry

Russian President Vladimir Putin is satisfied with the development of domestic technologies that facilitate the production of effective medicines to treat serious diseases, as he himself said during a visit to the Geropharm company in St. Petersburg.

"I am very pleased to find out that the company was established from scratch. It is very impressive that its founders succeeded in recruiting experts, taking the first steps, launching an industrial production division and eventually acquiring a significant position on the market," Putin said, welcoming the company’s plans to expand production and reach foreign markets.

The president pointed out that the visit to the insulin producer was dedicated to World Diabetes Day marked on November 15. He noted that about 4.5 mln people in Russia suffered from diabetes. "Plans are that the plant will produce enough insulin to meet our country’s demand," Putin said.

"Improving the people’s quality of life and increasing life expectancy is one of the country’s top priorities, as everything must be based on people’s needs, including our national projects," the Russian president stressed. "People nowadays can combat diseases, even the most dangerous ones, thanks to cutting-edge technologies and new generations of drugs, as science - and biotechnology in particular - has been rapidly advancing," he noted.

The president also said that advanced technologies made it possible to greatly increase the number of people saved from serious diseases. In this regard, he pointed to the growth of Russia’s pharmaceutical industry. "In the past six years, nearly 3,000 Russian medicines have been registered, which fully meet quality and safety criteria," Putin said.

Russian frigates hold anti-submarine warfare drills in Mediterranean

The crews of the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s frigates Admiral Makarov and Admiral Essen held drills jointly with deck-based rotorcraft in the Mediterranean Sea to practice searching for a notional enemy’s submarines, the Fleet’s press office reported on Friday.

The crews of the Russian frigates are accomplishing their assignments as part of the Russian Navy’s permanent Mediterranean task force.

"Drills were held to practice searching for and tracking a submarine, searching for, rescuing and providing medical assistance to persons in distress at sea," the press office said in a statement.

The drills involved Kamov Ka-27PL and Ka-27PS helicopters that made about 30 takeoffs and landings onto the decks of the frigates.

The Admiral Makarov and the Admiral Essen are warships of a new series of Project 11356R/M (11357) frigates. These are multipurpose blue-water frigates (guard ships) designated to destroy surface combatants, submarines and enemy ground facilities, carry out patrols and protect sea communications.

The frigates are armed with eight launchers of Kalibr-NK cruise missiles that are capable of striking surface, coastal and underwater targets at a distance of up to 2,600 km. The warships of this Project are also armed with Shtil-1, Palash and AK-630M air defense missile and artillery systems, A-190 100mm universal artillery guns, torpedo tubes and RBU-6000 rocket launchers. The frigates also have a take-off and landing strip and a hangar for an anti-submarine warfare helicopter (Ka-27 or Ka-31).

Winter Universiade 2019 flame arrives in Yekaterinburg

The Winter Universiade 2019 flame has arrived at the Ural Federal University in Yekaterinburg, a TASS correspondent said.

"I feel very proud and grateful for the honor to carry this sacred flame. It proves that Yekaterinburg is one of the world’s recognized capitals of student sports, and the Ural Federal University is the center for training athletes. It is no coincidence that the Olympic champions, including Sergei Chepikov, Anton Shipulin, Pavel Datsyuk, and many others, graduated from here. It is an honor for us to receive the flame," University Rector Victor Koksharov told the audience attending the ceremony.

The torch relay will be held on Saturday. Those participating will start near Ural Federal University and will run along the city’s main thoroughfare over a distance of 5,000 meters. The flame will be carried by 25 torchbearers, and among them are two-time Olympic biathlon champion Sergei Chepikov, cross-country skiing bronze medalist Ivan Alypov, Regional Sports Minister Leonid Rapoport, UFU Rector Victor Koksharov, and Head of The TASS Ural Regional Information Center (RIC) Maria Kartuz .

After Yekaterinburg, the Winter Universiade 2019 flame will head towards Vladivostok, which will host the next stage of the torch relay on November 24, according to the information policy department of the Sverdlovsk Region.

The Winter Universiade torch relay started in Turin on September 20. As part of the international stage, torchbearers ran through the streets of Almaty and Harbin. As for Russia, the flame has already been carried through Moscow, Kaliningrad, Simferopol, Rostov-on-don, Stavropol, Grozny, St. Petersburg, Arkhangelsk, and Kazan. The relay will wrap up its final destination in Krasnoyarsk on March 1.

The Winter Universiade will be held in Krasnoyarsk on March 2-12, 2019. Athletes will compete for 76 sets of medals. There will be eight mandatory sports, namely skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, hockey, short track, snowboarding, figure skating, and curling. Athletes will also compete in three freestyle, orienteering and ball hockey.

Russia Spotted 16 Foreign Spy Aircraft Near Border Over Past Week

Sixteen foreign aircraft have been detected while carrying out reconnaissance activities near the Russian border over the past week, an infographic published by the Russian Armed Forces' official newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda showed on Friday.

Russian jets have been scrambled three times to prevent the foreign planes from entering the Russian airspace, the data showed.
There were no trespasses, according to the newspaper.

Last month, sixteen foreign aircraft have been spotted while carrying out reconnaissance activities near the Russian border.

Previously, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that NATO has significantly boosted its reconnaissance activities in the Baltics and the Black Sea.

Over the past years, the NATO members have been increasing their military build-up in Eastern Europe and the Baltic countries, citing the need for protection from alleged Russian aggression. Moscow has repeatedly stated it would never attack any NATO ally.


On November 15, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova commented on the recent NATO drills near the Russian borders: Trident Juncture 2018 and Anakonda. She stated that these drills have an obvious offensive message – the sides involved are preparing for offensive actions. The diplomat emphasized that some NATO member states are actively increasing their military presence near the Balitc Sea and the Black Sea. She slammed these actions saying that they are contributing to the militarization on the region.

On the same day, the Russian Foreign Ministry released a full list of military facilities established or used by the US and NATO member states in the regions located close to the Russian borders (SOURCE):


  • Riga (forward NATO command and control unit); the settlement of Adazhi (NATO multinational battalion, 1,293 people; division of the rotational armored brigade of the US Armed Forces); the air base (AB) in Lielvarde (a division of the rotational brigade of the United States Army Aviation).
  • The military base in the village of Luznava, polygons in the town of Skrunda as well as Aluksne and Daugavpils Territories are being reconstructed.

  • Vilnius (forward NATO command and control unit); Rukla (NATO multinational battalion, 1,100; division of the rotational armored brigade of the US Armed Forces);
  • AB Zoknyay, Shaulyai (aircraft in the framework of the NATO mission to patrol airspace in the Baltic region – 4 fighters of the Belgian Air Force);
  • Mumaychayay village (a warehouse of weapons and military equipment (WMT) of the US);
  • polygons in Pabrada, Kairiai, Kazlu Rudei Rokai.

  • Tallinn (forward NATO command and control unit);
  • village Thapa (NATO multinational battalion, 987 people; a unit of the rotational armored brigade of the US Armed Forces);
  • AB “Emari” (aircraft in the framework of the NATO mission to patrol the airspace in the Baltic region – 4 fighters of the German Air Force).

  • Szczecin (headquarters of the multinational Northeast Army Rapid Reaction Corps);
  • the city of Elblong (multinational headquarters of the divisional level “Northeast”);
  • the town of Bydgoszcz (an forward command and control unit and joint NATO Combat Training Center);
  • Poznan (advanced divisional command of the US Ground Forces in Europe);
  • Lublin (headquarters of the command of the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian brigade LITPOLUKRBRIG);
  • Zhagan, Dravsko-Pomorskie, Torun, Sventoshuv, Skvezhina, Boleslawiec (headquarters and units of the rotational armored brigade of the US Armed Forces);
  • Ozhesh and Bemovo-Piske (NATO multinational battalion, 1,093 people);
  • Povidz (a logistic “hub” of the US Armed Forces in Europe is being formed, a division of the rotational brigade of the US Army Aviation);
  • Redzikovo (anti-missile defense (missile defense) complex of the US / NATO Aegis Ashore, under construction);
  • training grounds in the villages of Bedrusko, Grzycko, Venjin.
  • ABs are being modernized in Lask, Malbork, Minsk-Mazowiecki, Miroslawiec, Swidwin, Poznan (Kschesiny).
  • Engineering works are carried out at the naval bases of “Gdynia” and “Svinousce” in the port of Gdansk.
The number of US troops – approx. 3 thousand people (including units in the NATO multinational battalion).


  • Novo Selo training ground (Sliven, subunit of the rotational armored brigade, US military warehouses);
  • The Koren training ground (Haskovo), Graf Ignatievo AB (periodically deployed aviation to patrol Bulgarian airspace) and Krumovo, Bezmer airfield, Aytos military base (US military warehouses) are being modernized.
  • In the interests of the naval forces (Navy) of the NATO countries, the infrastructure of the naval base “Varna” and the home station of the Bulgarian Navy “Burgas” are expanding.

  • Sokeshfehervar (forward command and control unit of NATO);
  • AB “Papa” (NATO air transport wing, the creation of a logistics “hub”) and “Kecskemet”;
  • “Varpalota” range (a division of the rotational armored brigade of the US Armed Forces);
  • reconstructed the center of combat training in the “Bakony”.

  • Bucharest (multinational headquarters divisional level “South-East”);
  • AB “Mikhail Kogalnichanu” (rotational units of the armored brigade, army aviation brigade, marine corps, passenger transit center of the Armed Forces, US Army military warehouses;
  • periodic deployment of aviation under patrolling the airspace of Romania – 5 fighters of the Canadian Air Force);
  • Craiova (multinational “framework” (training) NATO brigade, formation continues, about 2.5 thousand people);
  • AB Deveselu (Karakal, US / NATO Ajis Eshore missile defense complex);
  • AB “Fetesht”, “Campia-Turzii”, an airfield in the city of Otopeni;
  • Port of Constanta, the village of Medzhidiya (the military equipment warehouse), Babadag, Melina (Smyrdan) and Chinku ranges are being modernized.

  • Bratislava (forward command and control unit of NATO);
  • in the interests of the NATO states, the ABs “Sliach”, “Kuchinya”, “Malacky” and the range in the city of Leste are being modernized.
Czech Republic:

  • ABs in the cities of Časlav and Náměšt nad Oslavoy, an airfield in the town of Pardubice.

  • AB “Sola”, village Stavanger, military bases “Vernes” in Trondheim (rotational unit of the US Marines) and in the settlement Bardufoss (preparation for the deployment of US Marines);
  • Trondheim (WMT warehouses of the Marine Corps).

  • Izmir (command of the NATO Ground Forces);
  • AB “Incirlik”;
  • Kahramanmarash and Adana provinces (NATO’s Active Barrier mission to shield Turkey from missile threats from Syria).
Serbia (Kosovo):

  • Camp Bondsteel;
  • multinational contingent within the framework of the NATO Forces for Kosovo mission (3.9 thousand people).
The number of US troops – approx. 670 people (as part of the Kosovo Force).


  • village Krtsanisi (NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Assessment Center);
  • village Sachkhere (training center “School of mountain training”).

  • the town of Yavoriv (international center for peacemaking and security).
The number of US troops – approx. 300 people


  • Chisinau (training center of the Military Academy named after Alexandru cel Bun).

  • Stuttgart-Fayhingen (headquarters of the commands of the armed forces and special operations forces of the USA in Europe and Africa);
  • the city of Wiesbaden (headquarters of the US Army Command in Europe and the 7th US Army);
  • ABs Ramstein, Ramstein-Miesenbach (headquarters of the commands of the combined NATO air forces, the US air forces in Europe, the 3rd Air Forces of the USA, and the command and control center for anti-missile defense forces of the United States armed forces in Europe);
  • Ulm (joint NATO logistics and support command in Europe, is being created);
  • Udem (NATO Joint Air Operations Center);
  • Filzec (2nd Cavalry Regiment of the US Ground Forces);
  • Grafenver (units of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, a training center and an advance storage center for military equipment of the US Army);
  • Hohenfels (United Multinational Training Center);
  • Kaiserslautern (US Patriot division);
  • the city of Illesheim (headquarters and units of the rotational aviation brigade of the US Army);
  • Beblingen (US Marine Forces headquarters in Europe and Africa);
  • Dülmen, Mannheim, Mizau (forward storage facilities for weapons and military equipment of the US Army); AB in Geilenkirchen (aircraft of the radio detection and guidance complex (AWACS) of NATO) and Spangdahlem;
  • the headquarters of the garrison command in the cities of Ansbach, Wiesbaden, Kaiserslautern, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Stuttgart-Fayhingen.
The number of US troops – approx. 38 thousand people


  • Naples (NATO Joint Command Naples, NATO Hub for the South Information and Analytical Center, headquarters of the US Navy Command in Europe and Africa, and the 6th US Navy Operational Fleet);
  • the city of Vicenza (US Army headquarters in Africa; 173rd Airborne Brigade of the US Armed Forces);
  • Ab Sigonella, Sicily (United States Marines Special Forces), Aviano; Livorno (WMT warehouse).
The number of US troops – approx. 12 thousand people.


  • Bruunsum (Allied Command Bryunsum);
  • AB “Leeuwarden”;
  • Eygelshofen (WMT inventory warehouse).

  • Mons (strategic operations command of the United Armed Forces, command of special operations forces; center of NATO cyber operations, is being created);
  • Brussels (command of the Benelux US Army garrison);
  • AB “Chevre”;
  • Zutendal (WMT armored warehouses).
The United Kingdom:

  • ABs in Lakeenhit, Mildenhall, Alconbury, Fairford (including the periodic deployment of US Air Force strategic bombers), Croton, Menvit Hill, Feltwell, Molsworth, Welford, Waddington (NATO AWACS aircraft).

  • AB”Keflavik” (periodic deployment of military aircraft of NATO countries).

  • AB “Moron” (rotational special forces of the US Marines), naval base “Rota” (permanent basing of ships with guided missile weapons (URO) of the US Navy);
  • Torrehon (NATO Joint Air Operations Center).

  • AB “Lajesh”, Azores.

  • “Souda Bay” (Navy, AVB, military equipment warehouses); AVB in Heraklion;
  • military base “Makri”.

  • sovereign military bases of the Armed Forces of the UK “Akrotiri” (AB “Akrotiri” and Episkopi military garrison) and “Dekelia”.
The number of British troops – approx. 3500 people


  • Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat, Kandahar, Laghman (NATO “Strong Support” advise and training mission, 16.3 thousand);
  • Operation of the US Armed Forces “Guardian of Freedom” (8 thousand.).
In the Baltic and in the Atlantic, under the command of NATO headquarters structures, the 1st permanent naval (PFMG) and the 1st permanent mine action group (FPMG) operate, in the Mediterranean – the 2nd PFGG and the 2nd PFMG (5-8 ships each) Alliance Navy countries each). Allied Forces conduct a maritime security operation in the Mediterranean, and also take action in the Aegean Sea to observe and collect information on irregular migration.


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Translated from Russian by Microsoft
What paint turns #Т50 into a invisible, the difference between the fifth generation engine and the usual and how many enemies see a combat locator #ПАКФА-this program will #ВоеннаяПриемка @zvezdanews tell this Sunday #ТВ #Телепередачи #Су57 #ТКЗвезда

Meter-high flames & huge plumes of smoke: Moscow oil refinery catches fire (PHOTO, VIDEO)
VK Tweets, Video's refinery in Kapotnya
Fire has engulfed an oil refinery plant in Moscow. Social media images show fire burning in at least two locations, with thick black smoke covering the air.

People took to social media on Saturday morning complaining about the smell as the facility, located in the southeast of Moscow, was seen burning. Emergency services told RIA Novosti that flames more than 10 meters high are raging in at least two spots at the refinery, one of which is an incinerator.

No one was injured in the blaze, which was extinguished around four hours after it broke out. It took more than 100 firefighters and emergency services staff to bring the inferno under control. It was initially feared it would spread and engulf the whole plant.

“The morning was good until I saw puffs of smoke and a huge fire behind buildings as I was taking my kid to school. I was terrified as we came closer. What are breathing in?” a woman said on social media network Vkontakte, posting apocalyptic pictures.

Some social media users claim there was a loud bang at the refinery at 7:46am. It is not yet clear what caused the fire

As the incident sparked health concerns among locals, the emergency services said that hazardous substances did not exceed permissible concentrations.

It is not the first time an inferno has hit the facility, located near a busy traffic artery and populated district. In 2016, a blast rocked the refinery injuring three people, and in 2015, a fire broke out. The facility is owned by Gazprom Neft and has been repeatedly criticized for its alleged emissions of pollutants and hazardous substances. People frequently complain about the smell and excessive concentrations of hydrogen sulfide are frequently reported in the area.

Cargo train derails in Russia but keeps going WITHOUT tracks (VIDEO)
16 Nov, 2018 12:48
Do trains always need tracks? Apparently not in Russia, where a heavy cargo train continued its journey despite being derailed. The stunning moment was caught on camera.

A cargo train was derailed at a railway crossing outside the Russian city of Yaroslavl but did not flip over, which is what usually happens in these circumstances. Instead, it continued moving off the tracks, crushing everything in its way, including the barrier and the fencing.
The astonishing moment was caught on a CCTV camera.

Another video shows the derailed train right after the incident. The locomotive, which had driven over a dozen meters off the tracks, bears no sign of damage.

Local authorities said no one was hurt in the incident and railway services resumed shortly afterwards. The derailment blocked traffic in the area, prompting Russian Railways to deploy a rescue train to deal with the aftermath.


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Putin may deliver his address to Federal Assembly in 2019

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not rule out that President Vladimir Putin would deliver his address to the Federal Assembly (the Russian parliament) in 2019.

"So far there aren’t any fixed dates for delivering the address, they will be defined soon. There is no standard procedure (obliging us) to hold it before the New Year, it may take place later," the Kremlin spokesman told reporters.

"I would say that it is likely to take place next year," he added.

According to the Kremlin spokesman, the Russian president will hold his annual news conference in December.

"The news conference will be traditionally held in December. This traditional format will be preserved," he said answering a question from a TASS correspondent.

This year, Putin delivered his address to the Federal Assembly on March 1. Its first part was dedicated to the country’s socio-economic development, while the second part focused on the issues of Russia’s defense capability and international security. The president’s address also contained an appeal to sit down at the negotiating table to "think together about a renewed, promising system of international security and sustainable development of human civilization."

Russia presses charges against Browder for creating a criminal network

Russian investigators have opened a criminal investigation against American-born British financier William Browder, the founder of Hermitage Capital Management, over setting up a criminal network, Spokesman for Russia’s Prosecutor-General’s Office Nikolai Atmonyev said on Monday.

"On November 16, an order was issued on launching a criminal case against Browder over the signs of establishing a criminal network and being its leader, this means the signs of a crime under Part 1 of Article 210 of the Russian Criminal Code," Atmonyev said.

The Russian Investigative Committee is also investigating the murder of partners of Hermitage Capital Management founder - Gasanov, Korobeinikov and Kurochkin.

According to Mikhail Alexandrov, a spokesman for the Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office, repeated studies have shown that, when chemicals containing aluminum are introduced into a living organism, the heart is damaged and myocardial dystrophy develops.

"Gasanov, Kurochkin and Magnitsky had precisely these symptoms in their final moments before death. Traces of toxic aluminum compounds were also found in Korobeinikov’s liver. In light of that, the Investigative Committee is investigating the murder of Gasanov, Kurochkin and Korobeinikov, that is under Part 2 of Section 105 of Russia’s Criminal Code," he told reporters at a press briefing on Monday.

Russia to put Browder on international wanted list

US-born British financier William Browder, the founder of Hermitage Capital Management, will be placed on an international wanted list and his property will be confiscated under new criminal charges of setting up a criminal network, Adviser to Russia’s Prosecutor-General’s Office Nikolai Atmonyev said on Monday.

"Browder will be put on an international wanted list with the aim of detaining and extraditing him," Atmonyev said, noting that his assets would be frozen, including those formally owned by his authorized representatives and the firms controlled by him.

"A whole network of companies and credit institutions has been uncovered in Cyprus, Latvia and Switzerland, which were used to funnel money and cash large sums valued at amounts ranging from tens to hundreds of millions of dollars," he noted.

The Browder case

Browder has been twice sentenced in Russia in absentia. On July 11, 2013, Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court found Browder guilty in absentia of massive tax evasion (estimated at 522 mln rubles, or $8 mln) and sentenced him to nine years in prison. He was also stripped of his right to do business for two years.

In July 2014, Russia put Browder on a worldwide wanted list. The Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office has repeatedly requested Interpol to arrest Browder. The latest news on such a request came in December 2017.

On December 29, 2018 Moscow’s Tverskoy Court sentenced Browder in absentia to nine years in prison, finding him guilty of tax evasion to the tune of more than 3 billion rubles ($45.5 mln) and bankruptcy fraud. Ivan Cherkasov, Browder’s business partner, was given a similar sentence. The court ruled to satisfy a civil suit against the defendants and ordered them to pay 4.2 billion rubles ($64 mln), while barring them from doing business in Russia for three years.

Russian telecom watchdog promises new messenger user ID rules won’t affect privacy

New rules on user identification for messengers will preserve users’ privacy, Head of Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media Alexander Zharov told TASS.

"The new rules will respect users’ right to privacy, it will only be data required for identification that will be requested," he stated.

Under the directive, the user ID rules will be mandatory, the head of the watchdog stressed, pointing out that messengers offer users fictitious anonymity.

"I call it fictitious because the term ‘anonymity’ is just a marketing gimmick," Zharov noted. "Today, messengers request access to your contacts. By giving it to the app, you allow it to identify who on your contact list uses it. Hence, if you are just among contacts on somebody’s smartphone, you are already identified by the messenger’s administrators whether you want to be or not, while the owner of the messenger basically doesn’t bear any responsibility for the security of your personal data and transmitted content."

The head of Russia’s telecom watchdog noted that the ID rules would be a step towards changing the legal relationship between several parties, namely communication operators, owners of messaging devices, and the government. This would be "a step towards the creation of a trustworthy and safe environment for everyone," he emphasized.

About the new guideline

According to the document, messengers should verify registration data through mobile operators, who are obliged to provide subscriber information within 20 minutes upon receiving a request from a messenger. If the mobile operator fails to provide user information within the specified timeframe or cites a lack of such information, the identification will be considered invalid.

Mobile operators will be obliged to include information about the apps their subscribers use into their databases, as well as users’ unique identification codes. Additionally, mobile operators will also have to inform messengers’ administration within 24 hours in case a contract with a user is terminated. After that, the user will have to be re-identified in the messaging service.

"By obeying the identification rules, this would mean the owners of online services are ready to work in accordance with Russian legislation, cooperate with communication operators, whose infrastructure they use to render services, and interact with the government to ensure safety," Zharov stressed.

Russia develops spacecraft capable of delivering 3.5 tonnes of cargo into orbit

Russian specialists have developed a spacecraft with the increased lifting capacity capable of delivering 3.5 tonnes of cargo into orbit, Chief Designer, First Deputy CEO of Energia Space Rocket Corporation Yevgeny Mikrin said on Monday.

"This spacecraft will have a lifting capacity of 3.5 tonnes," the chief designer said at a press conference devoted to the 20th anniversary of the International Space Station (ISS).

A Soyuz-2.1 carrier rocket is planned to be used to deliver such a spacecraft into orbit, he said.

The scientific and practical conference, "Cosmonautics: the Open Space of International Cooperation and Development," devoted to the 20th anniversary of the International Space Station runs on Monday at the Cosmonautics and Aviation Center of the All-Russian Exhibition of Economic Achievements (VDNKh) in Moscow.

The conference was opened by Chief of Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin. The conference has brought together representatives of Roscosmos, foreign space agencies, cosmonauts and astronauts, designers and rocket builders.

Russia to complete building its orbital outpost segment in 2022

The Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) will be fully built in 2022 when the last of the three modules scheduled for their launch in 2019-2022 joins the station, Chief Designer and First Deputy CEO of Energia Space Rocket Corporation Yevgeny Mikrin said on Monday.

"The construction of the ISS is planned to be completed by 2022 by putting three new modules into operation. These are the multifunctional laboratory module due to be launched in 2019, the nodal module with its launch in 2020 and the research and energy module planned to be launched in 2022," Mikrin said at a conference devoted to the 20th anniversary of the world’s sole orbiter.

Russia’s manned space flight program pursues two tasks. The first of them is to expand the range of scientific experiments on the ISS, which has not yet used up its resource, he said. "The operation of the ISS can be extended to 2028-2030 because its resources have not been used up."

The second task relates to deep space flights. But in this area, I would confine myself to the lunar program," he said.

The scientific and practical conference, "Cosmonautics: the Open Space of International Cooperation and Development," devoted to the 20th anniversary of the International Space Station runs on Monday at the Cosmonautics and Aviation Center of the All-Russian Exhibition of Economic Achievements (VDNKh) in Moscow.

The conference was opened by Chief of Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin. The conference has brought together representatives of Roscosmos, foreign space agencies, cosmonauts and astronauts, designers and rocket builders.

Russian foreign ministry condemn US’ further sanctions against Cuba

Russia’s foreign ministry has condemned the United States’ further sanctions against Cuban organizations as hampering the country’s development.

"We resolutely condemn the latest measure. Once again we have to state that such actions that are geared to toughen pressure on Havana create extra problems for Cuba’s socio-economic development in the context of ongoing changes in that country," the ministry said on Monday.

"Making such steps, Washington only averts the overwhelming majority of representatives of the world community who understand the harmfulness and futility of the policy towards economic stiffening of Cuba. A consolidated answer to such policy of the unilateral sanctions that run counter to international law was given on November 1 when yet another United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for termination of the economic, trade and financial blockade of Cuba imposed by the United States was passed practically unanimously (with only the United States and Israel being against)," the ministry said.

In mid-November, the US Department of State supplemented its sanction list with 26 more Cuban organizations prohibiting its citizens to have any direct financial transactions with these entities. The list includes hotels in Havana and in Cuban resorts, real estate companies, etc.


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Russia presses charges against Browder for creating a criminal network

Russian investigators have opened a criminal investigation against American-born British financier William Browder, the founder of Hermitage Capital Management, over setting up a criminal network, Spokesman for Russia’s Prosecutor-General’s Office Nikolai Atmonyev said on Monday.
Russia to put Browder on international wanted list

US-born British financier William Browder, the founder of Hermitage Capital Management, will be placed on an international wanted list and his property will be confiscated under new criminal charges of setting up a criminal network, Adviser to Russia’s Prosecutor-General’s Office Nikolai Atmonyev said on Monday.

November 19, 2018 - Russia accuses Kremlin Critic Browder of Ordering Lawyer's Murder
Russia accuses Kremlin critic Browder of ordering lawyer's murder | Reuters

FILE PHOTO: Hermitage Capital CEO William Browder is sworn-in before a continuation of Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

Russian prosecutors said on Monday they suspected Kremlin critic Bill Browder of ordering the murder of a lawyer whose memory he has championed, but he dismissed the accusation as a cynical ploy to tar him for lobbying for sanctions on Moscow.

Browder, the British head of investment fund Hermitage Capital Management, has led a campaign to expose corruption and punish Russian officials he blames for the 2009 death of Sergei Magnitsky, whom he had employed as a lawyer, in a Moscow jail.

The prosecutors said they had opened a new criminal investigation into Browder and vowed to seek his arrest for creating an international criminal group.

They accused U.S.-born Browder, 54, of setting up companies to launder millions of dollars and said they suspected he may have poisoned four former colleagues, including Magnitsky.

Nikolai Atmonyev, an aide to Russia’s prosecutor-general, said it was “highly likely” that Browder himself had ordered the poisoning of Magnitsky in jail, citing testimony from a former cellmate, RIA news agency reported.

Magnitsky was arrested in 2008 shortly after alleging that Russian officials were involved in large-scale tax fraud. He complained of mistreatment by the authorities before his death.

The accusations - which relate to crimes dating from more than nine years ago in at least one case - are the latest in a series to be directed at Browder. He has cast them as a vendetta waged by President Vladimir Putin for his lobbying, which in 2012 led to U.S. sanctions on Russia in the ‘Magnitsky Act’.

“I really struck a nerve with the Magnitsky Act,” Browder wrote on social media on Monday, describing the latest allegations against him as “Kafka-esque”.

Browder drew a parallel between the accusations against him and the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in England in March. The West blamed Russia for the poisoning, which caused a flurry of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions.

“Putin’s ‘fever dream’ response to being caught poisoning the Skripals is accusing me of four murders, including poisoning of Sergei Magnitsky,” Browder wrote on Twitter.

Last year a Russian court sentenced Browder in absentia to nine years in jail after finding him guilty of deliberate bankruptcy and tax evasion.

The U.S. sanctions imposed under the Magnitsky Act imposed visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials linked to the death of Magnitsky.

Putin has dismissed allegations of foul play against Magnitsky and said he died of heart failure.

* 07/17/2018 - Putin Claims U.S. Intelligence Agents Funneled $400 Million To Clinton Campaign (via Bill Browder)
Putin Claims U.S. Intelligence Agents Funneled $400 Million To Clinton Campaign

* July 16, 2018 - Bill Browder’s Grandpa Was a Leader of Communist Party USA & Soviet Spy
Bill Browder's Grandpa Was a Leader of Communist Party USA & Soviet Spy - Supreme Insider

Bill Browder, maybe Russian President Vladimir Putin’s No. 1 foe. For the past several years the British-American investor has led an international campaign to expose deep corruption and human-rights abuses in Putin’s Russia.

It seems that this man is not the angel that the MSM is presenting to us!

Today Vladimir Putin confirmed that Bill Browder helped by the U.S. Intelligence transferred
[a] huge amount of money, $400,000,000, as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton.

Vladimir Putin offered to permit officials in the US, including Mueller, to Russia to assist in their investigation of the supposed Trump-Russia collusion story. Then Putin dropped his bomb where the US could reciprocate Russia in one of their investigations –

For instance, we can bring up Mr. Browder, in this particular case. Business associates of Mr. Browder have earned over $1.5 billion in Russia and never paid any taxes neither in Russia or the United States and yet the money escaped the country. They were transferred to the United States. They sent [a] huge amount of money, $400,000,000, as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Well, that’s their personal case. It might have been legal, the contribution itself but the way the money was earned was illegal. So we have a solid reason to believe that some [US] intelligence offers accompanied and guided these transactions. So we have an interest in questioning them.

Published on Jul 16, 2018 (3:45 min.)

But what is more important is that even his past is not so good!

To be precise his family, because he is a nephew of the leader of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) Earl Browder. He was the leader of the party between 1932 and 1945 and had met his Russian wife while taking part in the fractious Communist International debates in Moscow in the 1920s. He died in 1974.

During World War I, Browder’s grandfather served time in federal prison as a conscientious objector to conscription and the war. Upon his release, Browder became an active member of the American Communist movement, soon working as an organizer on behalf of the Communist International and its Red International of Labor Unions in China and the Pacific region.

In 1930, following the removal of a rival political faction from leadership, Browder was made General Secretary of the CPUSA. For the next 15 years thereafter Browder was the most recognizable public figure associated with American Communism, authoring dozens of pamphlets and books, making numerous public speeches before sometimes vast audiences, and twice running for President of the United States. Browder also took part in clandestine activities on behalf of Soviet intelligence in America during his period of party leadership, placing those who sought to convey sensitive information to the party into contact with Soviet intelligence.

In the wake of public outrage over the 1939 Nazi-Soviet pact, Browder was indicted for passport fraud. He was convicted of two counts early in 1940 and sentenced to four years in prison, remaining free for a time on appeal. In the spring of 1942 the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the sentence and Browder began what proved to be a 14-month stint in federal prison. Browder was subsequently released in 1943 as a gesture towards wartime unity.

His son, Felix, Bill’s father, became a mathematics professor at the University of Chicago. After graduate school, Bill worked briefly for the Boston Consulting Group, then for Robert Maxwell’s Central and Eastern European Partnership before joining Salomon in 1994. There he once parlayed a $25 million investment in Russian privatization vouchers into $100 million in six months.

But he left to start Hermitage in 1996 — and became embroiled in no fewer than 11 public rows with Russian oligarchs in less than five years.

It’s no wonder the Democrats ran a preemptive propaganda campaign against president Trump and Putin, they were scared that Putin would give up the good on them, and that he did on worldwide TV!”

I am sure the MSM will try to cover this story as always but the truth is out and we can all see who are the real friends of the Democrats!

November 19, 2018 - Attorney for Russian bitcoin suspect slams Greek court for ‘violating’ client’s rights
Attorney for Russian bitcoin suspect slams Greek court for ‘violating’ client’s rights

Vinnik was detained in Greece in 2017, at America’s request, where he is accused of laundering $4-9 bln through the now non-existent BTC-e cryptocurrency trading platform.

Alexander Vinnik© AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris

Judges of the Greek Supreme Court (Areopag) have blatantly breached the rights of Russian national Alexander Vinnik, his attorney Zoe Konstantopoulou told a court session on Monday, where an appeal against the ruling of the [Thessaloniki] court of first instance on the suspect’s extradition to France, is being considered.

"You have violated the rights of Alexander Vinnik, who hasn’t received an official translation of the French request by November 17," Konstantopoulou added, pointing out that "those documents haven’t been translated into Russian, they have no seals and signatures." "You only employ this practice towards Vinnik because he is a Russian. You wouldn’t do this with any Greek, or EU citizen," the attorney stated, demanding that it be recorded in the minutes.

Vinnik was detained in Greece on July 25, 2017, at America’s request, where he is accused of laundering $4-9 bln through the now non-existent BTC-e cryptocurrency trading platform. Russia has sought the individual’s extradition, while France sent a similar request in June. Furthermore, Greece is pressing criminal charges against the Russian citizen.

In 2017, the Greek Supreme Court ruled to extradite Vinnik to the US and, later on, to Russia. Due to the conflicting extradition requests, the decision on Vinnik’s extradition is likely to be made by the country’s Minister of Justice or, possibly, the Greek leadership.


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Putin, Abkhazian president to discuss bilateral cooperation in Sochi

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Abkhazian President Raul Khajimba are due to discuss in Sochi on Wednesday the prospects of enhancing social and economic cooperation between the two states, the Kremlin press service said.

"On November 21, Sochi will host a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and President of the Republic of Abkhazia Raul Khajimba. During the talks the sides are expected to discuss the current situation and prospects of broadening bilateral social and economic cooperation between the states," the statement said.

Russian, Kyrgyz security chiefs discuss measures to counteract recruiting by terrorists

Russia-Kyrgyzstan anti-terror cooperation was in focus of a meeting between secretaries of the two countries’ Security Councils, Nikolai Patrushev of Russia and Damir Sagynbayev of Kyrgyzstan, the press service of the Russian Security Council said on Tuesday.

"The sides discussed measures to counteract recruiting of Russian and Kyrgyz citizens, first of all the youth, to international terrorist and extremist organizations and to stop propagation of radical extremism," the press service said. "A focus was made on exchange of information about persons involved in the activities of extremist and terrorist organizations."

The two security chiefs also discussed issues of re-socialization of people returning from conflict zones.

Patrushev and Sagynbayev also exchanged views on the current state and prospects for further development of military technical cooperation between their countries. Special attention was paid to cooperation within multilateral formats, such as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). "The sides reiterated their commitment to the continuation of contacts between the two countries’ law enforcement agencies, security services and defense ministries," the Russian Security Council stressed.

Russian security agencies arrest Budyonnovsk terrorist in Moscow

A kidnapper connected to a former armed criminal gang, run by ex-Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, who took part in raiding and holding the Russian town of Budyonnovsk captive, has been arrested in Moscow, the Center for Public Relations of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) told TASS.

"The Russian Federal Security Service jointly with the Ministry of Internal Affairs has detained a Russian citizen, Hazvakha Shamshidenovich Cherkhigov, in Moscow on November 19, 2018. Cherkhigov, born in 1978, participated in the attack on the town of Budyonnovsk, in the Stavropol Region, as a member of Basayev’s gang," according to the statement.

In June 1995, a group of 200 militants led by Basayev took more than 1,500 residents of Budyonnovsk hostage, herding them all into a local hospital. A total of 129 people were killed with 415 wounded.

For those crimes, committed between 1995 and 2013, the Stavropol Region court convicted and sentenced 31 attackers to various terms behind bars. In addition, the investigation team has verified information on the death or killing of 18 members of the Basayev gang during special ops.

"As a result of active search measures, Cherkhigov has been identified as one of the militants. Witnesses testified against him, revealing evidence of his criminal activity," the FSB Center for Public Relations reported.

The perpetrator has been sent to the Russian Investigative Committee’s Main North Caucasus Department, and has been placed in pre-trial detention.

First flight with Russian hybrid aircraft engine scheduled for 2019

The first flight with a new 500 kW hybrid aircraft engine is scheduled for next year, CEO of the Zhukovsky Institute National Research Center Andrei Dutov said on Tuesday.

"A 500 kW electrical engine has been developed. Next year, we hope to carry out the first flight. This is a hybrid engine. In this area, we are even outpacing such rivals as Siemens and Airbus," the chief executive said.

The engine prototype was demonstrated at the Hydro-Aviation exhibition in the Black Sea town of Gelendzhik and at the MAKS air show outside Moscow, he said.

The engine will be the first step on the way of developing a fully electrical airplane, he added.

A technological breakthrough is expected in aircraft-building in about 2025. Specifically, aircraft producers plan to develop a 50-seat fully electrical regional plane by 2035, Dutov said.

The Zhukovsky Institute is also carrying out work on the concept of a fully electrical plane, he said.


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Nov. 20, 2018 - Man run down by Plane at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport
Man run down by plane at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport

The man died instantly.

© Ruslan Shamukov/TASS

A passenger plane taxying onto the runway at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport ran down a man, who died instantly, Anna Zakharenkova, the airport’s PR director, told TASS on Tuesday.

"When the passenger plane bound for Athens was taxying onto the runway, the crew reported a collision with an unidentified object. The incident occurred at 20:10 Moscow time," she said. "A human body was found, with clothes and personal belongings scattered around."

The man has been identified. Police have been informed about the incident, she added.

(Comment: Another incident, five days earlier at different Moscow Airport.)
Nov. 15, 2018 - Stop! Wait for me: Latecomer tries to catch flight on tarmac at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport

A passenger who had missed his flight dashed out onto the runway at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport, in an attempt to stop his plane from taking off.

© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

A passenger who had missed his flight dashed out onto the runway at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport, in an attempt to stop his plane from taking off, a source in one of the airlines that the airport serves told TASS on Thursday, adding that the aircraft’s captain had to pull the emergency brakes.

"A passenger who had missed a Pobeda flight yesterday dashed out onto the tarmac to chase down the Pobeda aircraft, eventually jumping in front of it. The aircraft’s captain saw him and pulled the emergency brakes. The culprit was detained by the aviation’s security service," the source said.

"We confirm this information, and an investigation is underway, following which the perpetrator will have to pay compensation for the mandatory expenses," a Vnukovo airport source said.

A Pobeda airline representative, in turn, told TASS, "The captain noticed a man on the runway and pulled the emergency brakes, bringing the engines to a halt, so that no one was hurt." The perpetrator was detained by the aviation’s security service and taken to a nearby police precinct but the authorities let him go since according to them, there was no crime in his actions, the airline added.


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Putin may meet with Saudi crown prince in Argentina

Russian President Vladimir Putin can met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud during the G20 summit in Argentina.

According to Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the talks between the Russian leader and the Saudi crown prince "cannot be ruled out." "I don’t know what will be discussed, although, of course, such an exchange of views cannot be ruled out," the Kremlin spokesman told reporters when asked whether there were plans to discuss the situation in the oil market.

"We assume that both of them [Putin and Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud] will attend that summit [in Argentina], so they will have an opportunity to talk to each other on its sidelines one way or another," Peskov added.

The G20 summit is scheduled to be held in Buenos Aires from November 29 to December 1.

Assad’s visit to Russia under consideration, says envoy

Syrian President Bashar Assad’s visit to Russia is under consideration, Syrian Ambassador to Moscow Riyad Haddad told TASS during his working trip to Abkhazia.

"We have been discussing this matter, we seek to facilitate our president’s visit to Russia as we received President Vladimir Putin, because this helps bring the two countries’ people closer together," the ambassador said.

Assad last visited Russia in May, when he held talks with Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Defense Ministry to spend $15 mln by 2021 to prolong lifecycle of ballistic missiles

The Russian Defense Ministry plans to prolong the life cycle of intercontinental ballistic missiles Topol-M, Voyevoda and UR-100N. It will spend more than 900 million rubles on this program by the end of 2020, as follows from a document published on the portal of government purchases.

The contract will be carried out by three approximately equal installments in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The work is to be completed by November 10, 2020. The contractor will be selected by December 10, 2018.



Russia’s Zvezda TV channel “accidentally” exposed a model of a secret hypersonic 6th generation fighter jet.

It happened during a live broadcast. The model appeared to be a modern Russian-made hypersonic 6th generation fighter jet. It is most likely an unmanned version.

The 6th generation jets are scheduled to carry out their first flights by the mid-2020s and are to be hypersonic. TASS made the initial report in June 2016, citing the head of the directorate of military aircraft programs, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) Vladimir Mikhailov. “He [the prototype] will rise into the air, as we plan, no later than two or three years after 2020”, said Mikhailov.

Mikhailov stated the program for the jet is currently underway, including engineering design.

According to the Defence Blog, certain military experts point out that the project of a new hypersonic fighter jet is called the Pigeon, because of the similarity of the tail assembly.

Pics below are taken from the Defence Blog:




The new fighter jet is to most likely have a massive twin-tail that allows it to use its own shockwaves to increase its lift and decreases drag.

Defence Blog didn’t report any other specifications of the aircraft including what type of engine it would use, its range or altitude of flight, it’s maximum speed has not been precisely named as well.

It speculated that the jet would “smash records and travel at five times greater than the speed of sound, over Mach 5-6. Quite possibly, the cruising speed of the future fighter aircraft will be identical today afterburning speed – Mach 1.5-2.”

Defence Blog also cited sources that claimed the picture is part of a Russian disinformation campaign or a sort of joke carried out by the Russian military. The model in the “accidentally” released footage is a 1/72 Italeri Mig-37 “Ferret” or a 1/48 Testors Mig-37 plastic model..

The race of the first 6th generation fight jet is on-going, as well as for other hypersonic and laser technologies. Earlier in 2018, the US Air Force Research Laboratory released a video of a concept of a sixth-generation fighter jet.

Russian aviation institute to team up with China in research of Mars landing craft

The Russian Central Aero-Hydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) will cooperate with the Chinese side in carrying out research into Mars landing craft, the TsAGI press office reported on Wednesday.

"A cooperation agreement was signed at the Airshow China 2018 on scientific and technical cooperation between TsAGI and the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics and intentions were confirmed to cooperate in the research of Mars landing craft," the press office said in a statement.

Also, TsAGI and the China Aerodynamics Research and Development Center (CARDC) signed an agreement at the airshow under the project titled: "Studying the Sources of Noise of High-Drag Bodies Using Small and Large Models to Develop the Methods of Reducing the Noise of Aircraft Landing Gear."

The project is expected to be implemented as part of the federal target program "Studies and Developments in the Priority Areas of Developing the Russian Technological Complex in the Period of 2014-2020."

The 12th Airshow China 2018 international aerospace exhibition ran in Zhuhai (China) on November 6-11.

Russian hi-tech firms design new blades to boost combat helicopters’ speed

The Zhukovsky Central Aero-Hydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) and the Mil Design Bureau have designed new rotor blades that make it possible to boost the speed of existing Russian combat helicopters to 400 km/h, TsAGI CEO Kirill Sypalo told TASS on Wednesday.

"Previously, we flew at a maximum speed of somewhere 320-330 km/h, whereas now we are setting the achievable level of 400 km/h and higher," Sypalo said, responding to the corresponding question.

The new blades reduce negative aerodynamic effects arising for helicopters of the classical design at high speeds, the chief executive added.

"The unique profiles and aerodynamic arrangement of the helicopter blades reduce the effect of supersonic speeds arising at the ends of the blades. This is one of the sources of ensuring movement with a greater speed," the TsAGI chief said.

The rotor blades based on new principles can be used on the existing Mil helicopters, Sypalo said.

"Considering that a great number of Mil helicopters have been produced, we will get a completely new quality of rotorcraft with the replacement of the blades," the chief executive said.

CEO of Russian Helicopters rotorcraft maker Andrei Boginsky earlier said that the company was going to offer Russia’s Defense Ministry technical solutions making it possible to boost the speed of helicopters currently in service.

Central Asia nationals convicted in Siberia for joining extremist group

Two natives of Central Asia have been convicted in Russia’s Krasnoyarsk for joining the Nurjular international religious organization (designated as an extremist group and outlawed in Russia). However, the convicts remain at large, the press service of the regional directorate of Russia’s Federal Security Service, the FSB, reported on Wednesday.

"The FSB Directorate in the Krasnoyarsk Region <…> has foiled the criminal activities of two natives of Central Asia residing in the city of Krasnoyarsk who were members of the local cell of the Nurjular international religious group and promoted its destructive ideology among new followers. <…> Krasnoyarsk’s Sverdlovsky and Sovetsky district courts ruled to find both citizens guilty of crime they were charged with."

The two individuals were convicted under Part 2 of Section 282.2 of the Russian Criminal Code ("Participation in the activities of a public or religious association banned by court for criminal activities").

The press service of the regional FSB Directorate informed TASS that one of the convicts got a two-year suspended sentence, while a fine of 120,000 rubles ($1,820) was imposed on the other.

Moscow Region’s mammoth discovery: Archaeologists dig up fossils with buried ‘treasure’

© Fedor Savintsev / TASS

Archaeologists have discovered an early settlement, bones and a skull of a mammoth containing treasure in the town of Zaraysk, in the Moscow Region, the press service of the regional Ministry of Culture said on Wednesday.

The site was discovered during excavations at the Zaraysk Kremlin State Museum of History, Architecture, Art and Archaeology in 2016, according to the statement. The Zaraysk site is the most ancient human settlement in the Moscow Region. Earthworks here have been conducted for several years with this year’s dig having kicked off in August.

"The skull of a mammoth was found with hidden treasure (flint makings and arms blanks). After that, archeologists discovered an early human settlement. Such a find is a rare thing in this area with the last discovery made in 2005," the press service added.

Researchers found large bones, teeth, tusk, and jaws of a mammoth during this year’s excavation, expedition head of Russian Academy of Sciences Archaeology Institute, Sergei Lev said. He pointed out that archeologists also uncovered a fireplace, full of burnt bones, as well as coal and crimson stains along the entire dig area, which mark the ground level where ancient humans lived.


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Syrian ambassador says no concrete date for Assad's visit to Russia currently discussed

No concrete date of Syrian President Bashar Assad's official visit to Russia is currently discussed, Syrian Ambassador to Moscow Riad Haddad told TASS on Thursday during his working visit to Abkhazia.

"As of now, we are not discussing any concrete dates of Syrian President Bashar Assad's visit to Russia," Haddad said. He noted that "frequent visits of the leaders of the two countries strengthen the relations between the two peoples, whether it's Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Syria or Syrian President Bashar Assad's visit to Russia."

On Wednesday the Syrian diplomat said that the possibility of the Syrian president's visit to Russia is always being considered.

Assad's last official visit to Russia took place in May when he held talks with Putin in Sochi.

Russian parliament committee suggests discussing new policy of nuclear deterrence

The Russian Federation Council’s Committee on Defense and Security has suggested that the Security Council discusses Russia’s new policy of nuclear deterrence.

The text with recommendations was circulated by the press service of the committee head Viktor Bondarev. The Russian Security Council and its inter-departmental commission for military security were asked to consider revising "the basic principles of the Russian Federation's policy in the sphere of nuclear deterrence," the document said.

Recommendations came during a roundtable on the development of the Russian Armed Forces "in conditions of changing forms and modes of military combat."

Bondarev told the roundtable that the priority task for development of the army and the fleet at the moment is to improve combat training of forces with integration of experience of the anti-terrorist operation in Syria.

Russian diplomat discusses military-technical cooperation with Iraq's leadership

Russian presidential envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov has discussed with Iraq's representatives the issues of energy and military-technical cooperation, the internal political situation in Iraq, and settlement in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

On November 20, Bogdanov met with Iraqi President Barham Salih, Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and Muhammad al-Halbusi. On November 21, the Russian diplomat held talks with Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim and Finance Minister Fuad Hussein.

"The sides discussed in detail the key directions of further development of Russian-Iraqi ties, including cooperation in the fuel-energy and military-technical spheres. In this context, special attention was paid to issues of preparing for the 8th session of the Russian-Iraqi trade commission in Baghdad in the first quarter if 2019, as well as to economic and scientific-technical cooperation," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The sides also discussed settlement in Syria. "They also exchanged opinions on a wide range of relevant issues on the Middle Eastern agenda with an emphasis on the situation in Syria. Priority attention was given to the task of consolidating joint efforts in fighting against the terrorist threat from the Islamic State (terrorist organization banned in Russia) and affiliated radical groups, tackling channels of their financial and material support. The Russian side confirmed its unchanging commitment to provide practical assistance to friendly Iraq in the sphere of ensuring the country's security," the foreign ministry said.

The situation in Iraq was discussed in the context of the process of forming new legislative and executive government branches, as well as parliamentary election in the Kurdish Autonomous Region held in October 2018. "Common understanding was emphasized when it comes to the importance of achieving national accord in Iraq in the interests of its citizens regardless of their ethnic or religious affiliation, as well as of strengthening unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country," the foreign ministry concluded.

Russia warns Ukraine against attempts to revise Sea of Azov status — Foreign Ministry

Russia warns Ukraine against attempts to revise the current status of the Sea of Azov as they run counter to international law , the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The Russian Federation is open to a constructive dialogue on the situation around the Sea of Azov and would like to warn Ukraine against the attempts that go against international law to revise the current status of the Sea of Azov as national waters of the two states," the ministry stressed.

"With this in view, we urge Kiev to refrain from any undertakings aimed at unilaterally establishing the state border in the Sea of Azov," the ministry said.

Russia warns that "responsibility for possible further deterioration of the situation in the Azov-Kerch Strait area is with Ukraine and other states supporting its provocative actions," the foreign ministry added.

Russia is not building up its military presence in the Azov Sea, the ministry reiterated. "Despite statements by Kiev and Brussels, Russia is not expanding its military presence in the Azov Sea. The forces dispatched in that area are mainly used for guarding the Crimean Bridge," the ministry noted.

Inspections of ships in the Sea of Azov-Kerch Strait water area are legitimate and not discriminatory, the Russian Foreign Ministry went on to say. "Activities of Russian border guards are not discriminatory. A total of 48% of the ships (720 of 1,492) inspected in April-October 2018, were sailing to Russian ports or from them," the ministry said. "Contrary to Ukraine’s statements, Russian-flagged ships are also inspected," the ministry added.

"Meanwhile, the actions of Ukraine, which has announced establishing a naval base in Berdyansk and systematically closes certain areas of the Sea of Azov for gun practices, are aimed exactly at militarizing the Sea of Azov," the ministry went on to say.

"Russia regrets that the confrontational course of Kiev aimed at destabilizing Russian-Ukrainian relations finds support among several states, including EU member countries. Russia strongly denies any accusations directed against it concerning aggressive and unlawful acts in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait," the foreign ministry noted.

"Since the reunification of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia, these territories are an inalienable part of the Russian Federation, which exercises its sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the sea areas adjacent to the Crimean peninsula in line with international law," the ministry said.

"The activity taking place there is in conformity with international law, is aimed at ensuring national security and is proportionate to the threats coming from extremists, including Ukrainian ones, against Russia," the ministry summed up.

Condemnation of sending Soviet troops to Afghanistan unfair — Russian State Duma

The decision of the 1989 Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union to condemn sending Soviet troops to Afghanistan was historically unfair, according to the draft statement of the State Duma planned to be approved by the 30th anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal of Afghanistan on 15 February 2019.

The document designed to provide new political assessment of participation of Soviet troops in the Afghan war in 1979-1989, was approved at parliamentary hearings on Wednesday.

"On this day, the State Duma considers it necessary to recognize as inconsistent with the principles of historical justice the moral and political condemnation of the decision to send troops to Afghanistan in December 1979 expressed in the resolution of the Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union from 24 December 1989," the draft statement said. "It is necessary to proceed from the fact that the decision to send limited contingent of Soviet troops to Afghanistan was made in December 1979 in accordance with the Agreement on Friendship, Good Neighborly Relations and Cooperation between the Soviet Union and the Demoractic Republic of Afghanistan and taking into account multiple requests of Afghanistan's leadership for direct Soviet intervention into the conflict," the statement added.

State Duma members want to emphasize that they "remain committed supporters of strengthening friendly and good neighborly relations with all peoples and are ready to direct their efforts at basing Russian-Afghan relations exclusively on the striving for comprehensive cooperation for the benefit of the peoples [of Russia and Afghanistan] and countries."

"State Duma members are convince that tragic events of the military conflict in Afghanistan should be considered on the basis of political impartiality and historical truth. Careful and detailed study of Russian-Afghan history will facilitate full-scale restoration of bilateral relations," the draft added.

Chairman of the State Duma's committee on defense Colonel General Vladimir Shamanov explained the importance of the draft statement. "Thirty years have passed, but all of us still ache in some way from those events not only because we did not expect such an end to those developments after 10 years [of a military operation], but also because of the assessments that were made too fast. Of course, neither the leadership of the state that made this decision [to send troops to Afghanistan] nor servicemen and civilians deserve such assessments," Shamanov said.

Head of Russian military intelligence GRU dead 'after long and serious illness'

The head of the Russian Military Intelligence Directorate (GRU), Colonel General Igor Korobov has died “after a long and serious illness,” the Defense Ministry has confirmed.

The statement announcing Korobov's death was released around 2:00 am Moscow time (11:00 pm GMT) on Thursday morning.
Korobov took his post at the helm of the Directorate in 2016, and directed the GRU operations against terrorist forces in Syria. In 2017, he was awarded the title of Hero of the Russian Federation, the highest state honor.

Korobov began his military career in the late 1970s, serving in the Soviet Air Force before being selected to join the military intelligence branch. He later went on to oversee Russia's strategic intelligence gathering, and ultimately, to lead the entire agency.

Korobov held the position at a time when GRU became a household name for anti-Russian politicians everywhere. The Directorate was blamed for things like the poisoning of former Russian-British double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, as well as the supposed hacking attacks on the 2016 US presidential election.

Those latter allegations made Korobov one of the targets of anti-Russian sanctions in the US. Despite that, he paid an official visit to Washington early this year, according to US media reports citing anonymous sources. Along with the heads of other Russian intelligence services, Korobov went to Washington to discuss counter-terrorism with then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo. There has not been an official confirmation of his visit from either side.

Russian ex-cop-turned-serial killer re-sentenced to life imprisonment for 19 murders

The District Court in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk has re-sentenced former police officer Yevgeny Chuplinsky to life imprisonment for murdering 19 women. A jury earlier found him guilty.

"The Novosibirsk District Court has re-sentenced former police officer Yevgeny Chuplinsky to a life term in a maximum security correctional facility as the retrial of the case provided no reason for exempting him from criminal responsibility. The Court has also ruled that the convict will have to pay one million rubles ($15,200) to each of the five injured parties in the case," the Court said in a statement on Thursday.

According to earlier reports, on February 28, a jury found 52-year-old Chuplinsky guilty of 19 murders. An appeal was filed against the decision. On September 11, Russia’s Supreme Court upheld the jury’s verdict but overturned the court’s ruling, sending the case for a retrial.

Chuplinsky’s crimes

According to investigators, the murder spree began in the autumn of 1998 and carried on until July 2005. Chuplinsky had intimate relations with the women, ranging in age from 18 to 31, and killed them afterwards. In order to cover up his crimes, he dismembered the bodies and left the remains in different parts of Novosibirsk and its suburbs. The body of one woman, whom he had drowned, was never found.

According to the regional branch of the Russian Investigative Committee, the opportunity to track down the murderer arose only ten years after his last crime by using modern molecular-genetic technology. Detectives checked more 5,000 men suspected of committing these crimes, questioned thousands of witnesses and carried out more than 300 tests. The use of modern forensic equipment eventually allowed them to figure out the criminal’s DNA, which matched the DNA of one of the suspects.

Chuplinsky was arrested on April 23, 2016. Initially, he cooperated with investigators and even confessed to two more similar crimes that law enforcement officials knew nothing about, but later he withdrew his confession and pleaded not guilty. Experts found him to be mentally competent but prone to sexual dysfunction and sadism.

'Make it Hurt': Russian Police Raid Underground BDSM Club (VIDEO)

A video reveals the unlicensed club's peculiar patrons being forced to lie face-down on the floor as police peruse the premises.

Several videos have emerged of police raiding an unlicensed night club somewhere in Russia. What made the establishment especially 'underground' was its BDSM theme: the acronym refers to bondage and discipline (B&D), dominance and submission (D&S), and sadism and masochism (S&M).

The video shows a large number of women in fetish gear and their fully-clothed male clientele, forced to lie face down on the floor as the police sweep the establishment.

"It's a BDSM club, you can make it hurt," one of the policemen can be heard saying jokingly on the video, as his colleague tries not to step on the people lying on the ground.

The proprietor, as is often the case when unlicensed clubs are raided, was nowhere to be found, the media reported.

The exact location of the club is undisclosed, but social media users speculated that it may be either in Rostov-on-Don or Khabarovsk.

Bread News posted explicit images of the "inventory" of fetish equipment being used in the club.

Russian missile troops destroy 'enemy' missile defense systems at drills in Siberia

Servicemen from missile troops units of the Russian Eastern Military District have destroyed 'enemy' missile defense systems during drills in the Siberian Trans-Baikal Region, the district's press service said on Thursday.

"Servicemen from missile troops units of the Eastern Military District took part in the tactical drills in the Trans-Baikal Region on destroying missile defense systems of an 'enemy' from unprepared positions," the press service said.

During the practical stage of the military exercise, crews of Su-30SM fighter jets conducted aerial reconnaissance and transferred information about disguised missile defense systems of an 'enemy'. After that, units of Iskander missile systems marched to the site where the 'enemy' was stationed.

"All targets at a distance of over 100 kilometers were destroyed by training missiles," the press service added.

The press service did not disclose the number of troops or units of equipment participating in the drills.

Russian farmers suffer $111 mln damages due to bad weather in 2018 — agriculture ministry

The damage caused by bad weather to Russian farmers in 2018 amounted to 7.3 bln rubles ($111 mln), the Russian Agriculture Ministry said in a press release.

"As of November 14, 2018, a nature-made state of emergency was introduced on the territory of 27 regions, the damage to agricultural producers amounted to 7.3 bln rubles," the ministry said.

The ministry noted that this year it plans to increase the costs to compensate farmers' expenses due to the redistribution of funds from other activities under the state program for the development of the agro-industrial complex. The ministry plans to allocate 1.86 bln rubles ($28.3 mln) in addition to budgeted 1.89 bln rubles ($28.7 mln).

In order to effectively use the federal budget funds and motivate farmers to conclude insurance contracts, the agriculture ministry submitted a special draft resolution to the government. It suggests that farmers with insurance contracts will get 100% compensation for their damages from the federal budget, while those who do not have insurance - only 50%. The document was approved by the government of the Russian Federation.

After the draft decree comes into force, the agriculture ministry will send a draft order to the government, which provides for compensation to the farmers in the amount of 3.75 bln rubles ($57.1 mln). Now the document is being approved by the Finance Ministry.


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Head of Russian military intelligence GRU dead 'after long and serious illness'

The head of the Russian Military Intelligence Directorate (GRU), Colonel General Igor Korobov has died “after a long and serious illness,” the Defense Ministry has confirmed.
The Western spin and speculation - based on the false pretense involving the Skripal Case ...

November 21, 2018 - Head of Russian Spy Agency accused of British poison attack dies
Head of Russian spy agency accused of British poison attack dies | Reuters

The head of Russia's military intelligence agency that the West has blamed for a string of brazen attacks died on Wednesday after "a serious and long illness", the Russian defense ministry said on Thursday, hailing him as a "true son of Russia."

The Ministry of Defense heaped praise on Colonel-General Igor Korobov, 62, who had run the spy agency, best known as the GRU, since 2016, saying he had been made a Hero of Russia for his service in the post, the highest state award.

The Ministry of Defense heaped praise on Colonel-General Igor Korobov, 62, who had run the spy agency, best known as the GRU, since 2016, saying he had been made a Hero of Russia for his service in the post, the highest state award.

“The loving memory of this wonderful person, a true son of Russia, a patriot of the Fatherland Colonel-General Igor Valentinovich Korobov will always be in our hearts,” the ministry said in a statement.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, expressed his condolences to Korobov’s relatives, while state news agency TASS cited a military source as saying Vice-Admiral Igor Kostyukov, the agency’s first deputy head, had been standing in for Korobov during his illness and was the favorite to formally take over his role.

Britain has accused the GRU of attempting to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter with a nerve agent, the Netherlands has accused it of trying to hack the global chemical weapons watchdog, and U.S. intelligence agencies say it tried to hack the 2016 presidential election.

Russia denies all those allegations.

Speculation about Korobov’s fate had been growing since an unconfirmed media report that Putin had summoned him after the Skripal affair and severely criticized the operation which left the Skripals alive and the GRU a target of mockery in the Western media. (Comment: pure B.S.?)

Korobov was absent from a ceremony in Moscow this month where Putin and other senior officials celebrated the centenary of the GRU, with the Russian leader praising its skill and “unique abilities.”

Korobov’s death paves the way for Putin to appoint a successor to head an agency that intelligence experts say has stepped up its covert missions as tension mounts between Russia and the West, which has imposed sanctions on Moscow over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea.

Asked last month if there would be a shake-up at the defense ministry in the aftermath of the Skripal affair, the Kremlin said the low quality of the allegations leveled at GRU did not justify such changes.

The United States included Korobov’s name on a March sanctions blacklist of people believed to have helped “undermine cyber security on behalf of the Russian government”.

Korobov was a Soviet military veteran who served in the air force and, according to his official biography, began working for the GRU in 1985.

The GRU, founded as the registration directorate in 1918 after the Bolshevik revolution, is one of Russia’s three main intelligence agencies, alongside the domestic Federal Security Service and the SVR Foreign Intelligence Service.

The last head of the GRU, Igor Sergun, also died at a relatively young age. He was just 58 when the Kremlin said in 2016 he had died unexpectedly.

Nov. 22, 2018 - First naval officer nominated to head Russia’s GRU
First naval officer nominated to head Russia’s GRU

Igor Kostyukov © Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

First Deputy Head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Intelligence Department (GRU) Vice-Admiral Igor Kostyukov has been appointed as the GRU’s acting head and he is also the most probable candidate for this post, a source in the Defense Ministry told TASS on Thursday.

The GRU’s previous chief, Igor Korobov, died on November 21, 2018 at the age of 62 after a long and grave illness.

"First Deputy Head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Intelligence Department Igor Kostyukov has been appointed as the Department’s acting head," the source said.

Kostyukov is also the main candidate for the post of GRU boss, the source said. ‘If he is appointed, he will be the first naval officer in the GRU’s history to take the helm of military intelligence."

TASS has no official confirmation on this information yet.

According to open sources, Kostyukov was born on February 21, 1961. He first earned a degree at a naval educational institution and then graduated from the Military Diplomatic Academy, after which he came to serve in the Main Intelligence Department.

As one of the heads of Russian military intelligence, he directly took part in exercising control over the military operation in Syria. The vice-admiral was awarded the title of Hero of Russia for his courage and heroism displayed when performing his military duties. In late December 2016, he was placed on Washington’s sanctions list for alleged actions to ‘undermine democracy’ in the United States and in September 2018, he was again blacklisted by the US for allegedly interfering in the 2016 US presidential elections.


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Putin to address digital economy development, global trade at G20

Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to raise the issue of digital economy development and outline his vision of the situation in the international trade system at the G20 summit, set to take place in Buenos Aires on November 30-December 1, Russian G20 Sherpa Svetlana Lukash told reporters on Thursday.

"We have proposals, which the President will voice at the summit," she added, pointing out that the Russian side "aims to actively engage in the discussion."

The Sherpa also said that the program of the entire summit will take two days and comprise five main sessions of different formats. "Generally, the priorities of Argentina's G20 Presidency are focused on the issues of a fair and sustainable development of the world," she emphasized. "We’ve tried to assess how the world is going to develop in the next 10 years given the current challenges, primarily those related to digitalization of the economy, how labor markets will change and how people need to be adapted to it, and which steps governments should do about that."

Lukash added that this time the summit will open with informal talks, involving only the leaders of G20 states and Spain. The purpose of this format is to build a dialogue on the development of the world for the next decade given technological transformation in the global economy.

There are no political issues on the summit’s agenda, the Sherpa stated, noting however that such issues, as migration, etc., could still be addressed.

Kremlin on updating nuclear doctrine: Putin already listed grounds for use of nukes

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that he was unaware of any possible discussion to review the grounds for which Russia could use nuclear weapons.

"Recently, the president listed all the reasons that can serve as grounds for using nuclear weapons. Conceptually, everything has been placed on record in the Russian Federation. I am unaware of whether any discussion is underway to update these arguments," he said in comments on Russian senators’ suggestions to review the policy of nuclear deterrence, specifying legislatively the conditions under which Russia could resort to nuclear weapons.

On Wednesday, the Russian Federation Council’s Committee for Defense and Security suggested that the Security Council discuss a new policy of nuclear deterrence.

The Security Council and its inter-departmental commission for military security were asked to consider revising: "The basic principles of the Russian Federation’s policy of nuclear deterrence," the document said.

Recommendations came during a roundtable on bolstering the Russian Armed Forces, "in the context of changing forms and methods of warfare".

Committee chief Viktor Bondarev told the roundtable that the priority task for the army and the navy right now is to beef up combat training using the experience of the anti-terrorist operation in Syria.


The Russian Military has received a first batch of Iskander tactical ballistic missile systems, which were produced in 2018, according to the Russian state media. The systems were produced under the deal reached by the Defense Ministry and the KB Mashinostroyeniya company.

These very systems are produced for the 448th missile brigade of the 20th Guards Army. This brigade is deployed in Kursk. Military experts already noted that the newly-produced missile systems have an expanded hull, which means that they will be capable of using the 9M729 (SSCX8) long-range ground-based cruise missile. This missile has the range of 480–5,470 km.

The deployment of such missiles is banned by the INF Treaty, which the US administration has recently decided to ignore. So, Russia is already preparing for the US official withdrawal from the INF.

WATCH Mysterious Helicopters Transport Secret Cargo Over Kremlin

The authorities did not officially announce any kind of flights over the Kremlin today, and the identity of the helicopters’ passengers and the nature of the cargo remain a mystery as well.

Residents of the Russian capital were left scratching their heads today as a pair of enigmatic helicopters was spotted over Moscow city center, departing right from the Kremlin.

A video posted on Instagram shows what appears to be two Mi-8 transport helicopters taking off from a helipad located inside the citadel’s walls and flying away, with one of the of the helicopters apparently carrying some sort of underslung cargo.
According to local media reports, the authorities made no official announcements about any kind of flights over the Kremlin today, and the identity of the helicopters’ passengers and the nature of the cargo remain a mystery as well.

Helicopter flights are generally forbidden over central Moscow.

Russian FSB Prevented Series of Terror Attacks on Schools After Kerch Tragedy

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) prevented a series of attacks on schools in Russia in October 2018, the first deputy head of an FSB department, Sergei Yegorov, said Thursday.

"After the events in Kerch, in October alone we prevented a whole series of real attacks on schools," the first deputy head of FSB, Sergei Yegorov, said at a roundtable in the Federation Council on security issues in educational institutions.

Yegorov's comments follow an October 17 incident when an 18-year-old student started shooting and detonated a bomb in a college in Kerch, Crimea, where he studied himself.

The attack claimed the lives of 21 people, including 16 students and 5 staff members, while over 50 were injured. After the attack, the perpetrator killed himself inside the college library.

Russia’s sole aircraft carrier sustains $1.1 mln damage in floating dock incident

Russia’s sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov has sustained damages in 52 places to the tune of 70 million rubles ($1.1 million) in the floating dock incident, Head of the United Ship-Building Corporation Alexei Rakhmanov told TASS on Thursday.

"The commission [set up to estimate the damage] counted 52 damages. Overall, the ship’s recovery will cost about 70 million rubles, i.e. this is referred to the category of inconsiderable damage within the budget of the Admiral Kuznetsov’s modernization," the chief executive said, responding to the corresponding question.

As Rakhmanov said, "we have not found anything serious that could have entailed the extension of the repair period or could not have been restored."

"The repair is planned to be completed in late 2020 and its trials are scheduled for 2021. The warship is planned to be delivered to the Navy in mid-2021," the head of Russia’s United Ship-Building Corporation said.

Floating dock incident

The PD-50 floating dock sank overnight to October 30 in Murmansk during the planned floatout of the heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov from it. According to preliminary information, the warship itself had its take-off deck damaged by the fallen crane and is now at the 35th Ship Repair Factory.

The PD-50 is one of the world’s largest floating docks and the biggest in Russia. It was built in Sweden in 1980 on order from the Soviet Navy. It is 330 meters long and 67 meters wide and has a lifting capacity of 80,000 tonnes. The floating dock has an area of 22.1 sq. km, which is slightly less than Red Square in Moscow.

According to corporate financial statements, the 82nd Ship Repair Factory where the floating dock incident occurred was integrated into Russian oil giant Rosneft in November 2015. Russia’s Defense Ministry currently holds a minor stake of 0.0001% in the Ship Repair Plant.

Rosneft uses the 82nd Ship Repair Factory as the base for developing a modern center of coastal logistics support for offshore projects.

Aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov

The Project 11435 heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov is designed to gain superiority at sea and in the air in the areas of the fleet’s operation to ensure the fleet’s combat sustainability, deliver air strikes against enemy objectives and support troops’ landing operations.

The warship entered service in 1990. It displaces 58,000 tonnes and has a length of 304.5 meters. The aircraft carrier has a full speed capacity of 200,000 horsepower and develops a speed of up to 30 knots. Apart from the air task force of 24-26 fighter jets and 12 helicopters, the Admiral Kuznetsov is armed with anti-ship and air defense missile systems.

The warship is equipped with a ski-jump and two aircraft elevators. It has a crew of 1,300 while the air group’s personnel numbers 660 men.

Russian rescue vessel in service since tsarist era takes to sea after repairs

The rescue vessel Kommuna that has been in service for over 100 years has departed for the Black Sea after repairs and upgrade with modern equipment on its board, Fleet spokesman Alexei Rulev said on Thursday.

The Kommuna is the rescuer of submarines and a catamaran by its design. It is the Russian Navy’s sole operating vessel inherited from the Imperial Fleet and the oldest operational ship in the world. The vessel Volkhov (the original name of the ship renamed into the Kommuna in 1922) was laid down on November 12, 1912, floated out on November 17, 1913 and made operational in the Baltic Fleet on July 14, 1915.

"In accordance with the combat training plan, the crew of the Russian Navy’s oldest submarine rescuer of the Black Sea Fleet has started accomplishing missions at Black Sea practice ranges. Earlier, planned dock repairs and maintenance works were carried out aboard the vessel. The vessel has undergone modernization, as a result of which modern rescue equipment has been installed on its board and currently it continues performing inherent tasks as part of the Black Sea Fleet’s search and rescue forces," the spokesman said.

At the initial stage, works will be carried out aboard the Kommuna to measure physical fields, check the operational performance of all the shipborne assemblies and mechanisms and practice the rescuer’s defense in an unsafe roadstead, after which the vessel adapted for housing various types of deep-water rescue vehicles will test practical interaction for several days with the crew of the AS-28 underwater manned search and rescue apparatus and the team of the Pantera-Plyus unmanned vehicle.

"In order to improve the rescuers’ practical skills, a mock-up of a submarine coaming platform will be installed on the seabed at a depth of about 40 meters. Kommuna specialists will provide for the dives of the AS-28 vehicle, its approach to the mock-up and docking/undocking operations. Specialized diving ships and support vessels of the Black Sea Fleet have also been involved in the ongoing exercises," the Fleet spokesman said.

The Kommuna vessel was for the first time used according to its designation in 1917 to lift the submarine AG-15 off the Aland Islands. During World War I, the salvage vessel took part in the operation to raise the allies’ sunken British submarine and got praise from the UK government.

During the Soviet Union’s Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 against Nazi Germany, the vessel was in operation in the Baltic Fleet and provided for the repairs of submarines, including the docking of Malyutka-class submarines. In 1967, it was redeployed from Kronshtadt to Sevastopol.

Russian hi-tech firm creates unique lightweight space solar panel

The Obninsk-based Technologiya Research and Production Enterprise of RT Chemcomposite Group (part of the state hi-tech corporation Rostec) has developed a carbon fiber load-carrying panel for the newest solar module of a promising spacecraft, Rostec said on Thursday.

"Thanks to the use of composite materials, the panel is the lightest in the world by its weight while its high firmness ensures the protection of the module’s photocells from cosmic particles, radiation and space debris. The carbon fiber panel, into which solar batteries will be installed, is considerably lighter than its analogs, which makes it 30% more efficient in the use and several times cheaper than the existing variants," the high-tech corporation said in a statement.

The assembled panel’s weight measured 1.5 kg per square meter, making it the lightest in the world by this indicator. The panel successfully passed autonomous testing and is currently involved in several comprehensive tests, the statement says.

"An item’s ergonomic efficiency and weight play a key role for space hardware. Each additional weight kilogram reduces the efficiency and the time of operation of space vehicles. Our developers have been able to create a light and simultaneously very firm structure by using unique composite materials," Rostec Executive Director Oleg Yevtushenko was quoted by the corporation’s press office as saying.

The panel made of composite materials has been developed by the Technologiya Research and Production Enterprise in partnership with TAIS R&D Enterprise. In turn, special solar elements have been developed jointly by Hevel Group and TAIS.

Technologiya Research and Production Enterprise is a leading innovation company in the development and production of composite materials and a leader in Russia by the volume of producing articles made of composites. The Enterprise accounts for a third of the Russian market of composite materials and is among the world’s top five leading enterprises in this industry.

The volume of R&D and experimental design work and the deliveries of serial-produced items made of polymer composite materials annually grows by no less than 20% and makes up about 20 tonnes of carbon fiber products a year. The larger part of products made of polymer composite materials are manufactured for the aerospace industry.

Russia may launch 3rd military communications satellite on December 21

The launch of the third Blagovest military communications satellite is planned for December 21 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, a source in the domestic space industry told TASS on Thursday.

"The launch of the Blagovest satellite is planned for December 21 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard a Proton-M carrier rocket," the source said.

A final decision on the date and on the launch will be made by the state commission, the source said.

A source in the space industry earlier told TASS that the Blagovest might be launched in the third ten-day period of December but declined to specify the date.

Head of the Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems Nikolai Testoyedov earlier told TASS that the company would manufacture two Blagovest military satellites at the end of this year and at the beginning of 2019, correspondingly.

According to him, both satellites are expected to be launched by a Proton-M booster from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The launch of the fourth Blagovest satellite is planned for the first quarter of 2019, if the state commission makes the corresponding decision.

Blagovest satellites

The first Blagovest military satellite, the Kosmos-2520, was launched from the Baikonur spaceport on August 17, 2017. The second satellite of this series, the Kosmos-2526, was launched on April 19, 2018 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Initially, its liftoff was planned for December 25, 2017 but was rescheduled due to problems with an onboard device.

Russia’s Defense Ministry plans to deploy a grouping of four Blagovest satellites by 2020. These satellites are designed to provide high-speed access to the Internet, transmit data and offer telephone and video conference communications using the advanced Ka-and Ku-band frequencies.

Moscow court to pass sentence on plotters of terror attack during 2017 FIFA Confederations

The Moscow District Military Court will pass sentence on the Gakayev brothers, who were involved in plotting a terror attack in Moscow during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, on November 23, the court’s spokesperson Irina Zhirnova told TASS on Thursday.

"The court will pass sentence concerning the Gakayev brothers at 12:00 Moscow time on November 23," she said.

The Gakayev brothers, along with their accomplices, were detained in June of last year.

WATCH Russian Hikers Move Towards Life-Threatening Erupting Volcano

After managing to safely complete the risky walk, the hikers released a horrifying video online which displays a massive mushroom cloud that has emerged out of Ebeko volcano's crater.

A group of hikers walked right up to an erupting volcano, Ebeko, in far eastern Russia. Its crater was spewing a huge threatening thick grey ash cloud into the air.

The extravagant walk took place on one of Russia's Kuril Islands, Paramushir Island, located in an area close to Severo-Kurilsk.

The eruption comes after Ebeko awoke from dormancy in 2016, and the volcano has repeatedly spewed ash since then.

Moscow Region’s mammoth discovery: Archaeologists dig up fossils with buried ‘treasure’

Archaeologists have discovered an early settlement, bones and a skull of a mammoth containing treasure in the town of Zaraysk, in the Moscow Region, the press service of the regional Ministry of Culture said on Wednesday.

Archeologists unveil materials on Moscow Region’s mammoth find

A detailed analysis of the treasure, found in a skull of a mammoth during excavations at the Zaraysk Kremlin State Museum, showed that it had been left by an ancient craftsman who had the skill of making tools and hunting equipment, expedition head of Russian Academy of Sciences Archaeology Institute, Sergei Lev told a news conference on Thursday.

"From a typological point of view, things (found in the skull of a mammoth) are a spear-tip and a cutting tool used for bone processing. Scraping and bow-shaped blades used for scouring animal skin, and a fragment of an ancient knife, in addition to many other things. (This is) quite a big set of tools. So here it is, the craftsman’s set, that people hid in the skull of a mammoth," he added.

However, researchers cannot say for sure why the treasure had been left in the skull, suggesting that early humans could have just forgotten about it, saved it for some specific work, or those objects might have been sacred to them.

The Zaraysk site is the most ancient human settlement in the Moscow Region. Earthworks here have been conducted for several years with this year’s dig having kicked off in August.
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