A day after accusing Russia of trying to "goad the West, " British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson has been labeled the "minister of war " by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.Lavrov's comments at the Munich Security Conference on February 16 come a day after Williamson said that Russia "was trying to goad the West into a new arms race it simply is not interested in and does not want. "
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says Kyiv must join the European Union and NATO to protect itself from Russia as he officially launched his reelection campaign. Poroshenko, who is seeking a second five year term in the March 31 vote, accused Moscow of planning to interfere in the election. Poroshenko also charged that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to destroy Ukrainian independence and described the nation's presidential election as a "general battle for Ukraine. " "Only full fledged membership in the European Union and NATO can decisively and irrevocably guarantee our independence, national security, freedom, and well being, " Poroshenko told supporters in the capital on February 9. The 53 year old Poroshenko, one of Ukraine s richest men, came to power in the aftermath of the pro European Maidan protests that pushed Moscow friendly President Viktor Yanukovych out in February 2014. He has vocally advocated closer integration with the West and criticized Russia following Moscow's seizure of Ukraine s Crimea region and amid a continuing war against Russia backed separatists in the eastern region known as the Donbas. Recent polls indicate former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be Poroshenko's closest rivals in the March 31 election. Ukrainian election officials said a record 44 candidates have registered to run in the election.
Police in two Russian regions have detained more members of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a day after a Russian court sentenced a Danish adherent of the religious group to six years in prison.
MOSCOW Google has begun censoring websites blacklisted by the Russian government after Russia s communications watchdog threatened to block the search engine giant for not following its increasingly stringent rules, the Russian daily Vedomosti reported.An unnamed source at Roskomnadzor, the watchdog, told the paper on February 6 that Google has in recent weeks begun to comply with requests to block certain websites, and is now censoring around 70 percent of those included on a list provided by Russian authorities.
A fire at the Iranian Space Research Center has killed three scientists, a top Iranian official has announced.Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi on February 3 said the scientists died as a result "of a fire in one of the buildings of the Space Research Center. "
A lawyer for Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine jailed in Russia on an espionage charge, says his client did not know that a USB stick he was given in his hotel room moments before his arrest contained state secrets. Speaking to reporters on January 22, after a Moscow court refused to release Whelan on bail, attorney Vladimir Zherebenkov suggested that the foreigner was the victim of a setup. Whelan believed he was being given a memory stick that contained photos and other material from his own previous trips to Russia, Zherebenkov said. He thought "these were cultural things, a trip to a cathedral, Paul's holiday...photographs, " the lawyer said. "Why it turned out that information containing state secrets was on there is still unknown. " Whelan, who also holds citizenship in Ireland, Canada, and Britain, was arrested in Moscow by Federal Security Service (FSB) agents on December 28. Russian authorities allege he was caught "red handed " in an act of espionage, and he faces 10 to 20 years in prison if tried and convicted.
Deadpool Max, a comic book installment of the superhero saga that stormed the U.S. box office, includes a chapter about the bungling superhero's face off with Zemo, a white supremacist hellbent on repeating the Holocaust. Deadpool's adversary spouts radical anti Semitic conspiracy theories on his way to the grave.David Lapham, the author, follows the chapter up with a note of caution to his readers, explaining that the historical figures and events praised by Zemo the Holocaust, Hitler, and the KKK are deplorable. "I know you're all savvy readers who get sarcasm and satire, " Lapham writes.
A lawyer acting for a former U.S. Marine detained in Russia on espionage charges has filed an appeal with a Moscow court seeking to have his client released on bail, Russian news agencies report.Paul Whelan, who also holds British, Irish, and Canadian citizenship, was detained by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) on December 28.
WASHINGTON U.S. President Donald Trump urged other countries, specifically Russia, Pakistan, and India, to become more involved in the fighting in Afghanistan as he argued against continued long term presence of U.S. troops in the war torn country.In televised comments to reporters during a cabinet meeting on January 2, Trump also asserted that Moscow s involvement in Afghanistan in the 1980s led to the bankruptcy and breakup of the Soviet Union.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) says the number of killings of working journalists and news staff increased in 2018, ending an overall decline experienced in recent years, with Afghanistan topping the danger list.The trade association said in its annual report released on December 31 that 94 journalists and media workers died in targeted killings, bomb attacks, and conflict crossfire in 2018.
A list of BBC correspondents working in Russia has been leaked online after Russia's media regulator, Roskomnadzor, said it was checking the legality of the BBC World News channel's Russian operations and its websites. The list of 44 journalists, most of them Russian nationals, appears to have first been published in the anonymously run For Mother Russia group on the VKontakte social network on December 25.
Two reports produced for the U.S. Senate document the far reaching influence campaign run by Russian operatives to sway U.S. voters' opinions during the 2016 presidential election campaign.The reports, released on December 17, were prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee, one of the leading congressional panels investigating how Russia sought to influence the election that was won by President Donald Trump.
Russia says it has built new barracks to house its troops on a disputed island chain near Japan and will build more military facilities there next year.The December 17 announcement by the Defense Ministry is likely to anger Tokyo, which wants Moscow to reduce its military activity on the Russia administered chain, known in Japan as the Northern Territories and in Russia as the Southern Kuriles.
Editor's Note: To receive Steve Gutterman's Week In Russia each week via e mail, subscribe by clicking here.President Vladimir Putin paid tribute to two prominent Soviet dissidents who took different paths after 1991, unveiling a monument to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and attending a farewell ceremony for Lyudmila Alekseyeva following her death at the age of 91. But Putin's gestures were seen by critics as empty, and his words seemed to speak volumes about his attitude to human rights and his view of those who put human rights ahead of what he says are the interests of Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin s old East German secret police identity card has been found in the archives in Dresden where he served as a KGB officer in the 1980s, German media reported.The Bild newspaper on December 11 published a photo of the ID for Major Vladimir Putin, signed and validated with stamps until the end of 1989.
A leading rights watchdog has called on Russian authorities to abolish the country's law banning gay quot;propaganda, arguing it is having a deeply damaging effect on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. In a new report, Human Rights Watch says that the 2013 law intensified the hostility LGBT people in Russia have long suffered, and it also stifled access to LGBT inclusive education and support services. The 92 page report, issued on December 12, called the law a classic example of political homophobia that targets vulnerable sexual and gender minorities for political gain. Formally called the law aimed at protecting children from information promoting the denial of traditional family values, it bans the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations quot; among minors a reference universally understood to mean a ban on providing children with access to information about he lives of LGBT people. However, according to Kyle Knight, a researcher at HRW, the blatantly discriminatory law has had the complete opposite effect of what the proponents of the law suggested it would have. The law has been used to shut down online information and mental health referral services for children and has discouraged support groups and mental health professionals from working with children, Knight explained. Knight said the law contributed to an intensification of harassment and violence against LGBT people in Russia. The evidence we have in our new report shows the law actually ruined some children s lives, Knight told RFE RL. Giving Homophobes Free Rein HRW interviewed dozens of LGBT youth and mental health professionals across Russia, to examine the everyday experiences of the children in schools, home, and in public. Diana F., a 14 year old lesbian from the Khabarovsk region, told HRW that she felt as if the law literally makes homophobes have free rein in our country. LGBT people, the teenager said, are afraid to organize prides and demonstrations. According to the HRW report, the law has also been exploited by vigilante groups to attack LGBT people. Some of the LGBT youth interviewed by HRW spoke about the authorities inadequate response to such assaults. Georgy L., a 14 year old transgender boy, explained why he was fearful: Hazing, beatings, and undermining of LGBT teens are not taken seriously. I m sure the police will not consider a report from a teenager about being beaten, if he says that he is part of the LGBT community. Adults can safely mock us, rape us, and undermine us, he said. The LGBT youth interviewed for the report described being constantly on alert for harassment and violence. Many said they confront the anguished choice of hiding their identity to protect themselves from abuse or being open about who they are and facing greater risk. The report criticizes the Russian Orthodox Church for making inflammatory public statements about gay people, fueling existing anti LGBT sentiments. According to HRW, one high level church official once said that same sex relations should be completely eliminated from Russian society, preferably through moral persuasion but, if necessary, through a public referendum on re criminalizing homosexuality. HRW says that the law banning gay quot;propaganda quot; makes it harder for mental health professionals to offer LGBT people support. One psychologist described how, even in situations where it is clinically relevant to discuss a child client s sexual orientation, he feels constrained by the law: Teenagers often wait for me to ask a direct and precise question about his or her sexual orientation or gender identity, but the law prevents me from doing that. Another said she covers all LGBT themed books on her office bookshelf during clinical sessions to avoid being accused of spreading gay quot;propaganda. For Some, Stigma Begins At Home The report also says that for many LGBT children, stigma begins at home. Most of those interviewed by HRW said that it was a priority for them that their parents accept them for who they are. However, many LGBT youth felt they could not turn to their parents for guidance and support.
Russia has imposed sweeping financial sanctions on 322 members of the Ukrainian elite and 68 companies owned by prominent Ukrainian businessmen.
NATO has urged Russia to continue to honor a key nuclear arms treaty amid U.S. threats to pull out of the pact because of alleged violations by Moscow. quot;No arms control arrangement can be effective if it is only respected by one side, quot; NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on October 31 at a meeting of the NATO Russia Council in Brussels, according to an alliance statement.
Russia's Yelizaveta Tuktamysheva has won the women's title at the Skate Canada International tournament, repeating the victory she recorded as a 14 year old in 2011.Tuktamysheva scored 203.32 points on October 27 in Laval, Canada, topping Japan's Mako Yamashita with 203.06 and fellow Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva with at 197.91.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that, if the United States deploys intermediate range missiles in Europe, Moscow will have to target the countries hosting them.The October 24 statement follows U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement over the weekend that he intends to withdraw from a 1987 nuclear arms control pact over alleged Russian violations.