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Country profile for Russian Federation

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General Information

  • Capital: Moscow
  • Major Languages: Russian
  • Currency: Ruble
  • Timezone: GMT +2:00 to +11:00

Country Map

Map of Russian Federation

President Vladimir Putin has been a largely dominant figure in Russian politics since the dissolution of the USSR. Becoming the second Russian president after Boris Yeltsin, he had also served twice as the prime minister of his close ally Dmitri Medvedev. Putin was elected president in 2012 after achieving a landslide victory against Gennady Zyuganov. Just before the vote, he quit as leader of United Russia, handing over the party’s leadership to Medvedev. Although since then being considered an independent, he holds strong support from United Russia and its allied parties in the State Duma. In the 2018 presidential election, Putin was re-elected for another six-year term in office after securing nearly 77 percent of the votes. In January 2020, President Putin announced a major government overhaul ahead of the end of his term in 2024. As part of the new reforms, Prime Minister Medvedev resigned from his post, paving the way for the nomination of Mikhail Mishustin as the country's new PM.

Protests in Russia often occur but are largely monitored and controlled by the security forces. There were several large pro and anti-government rallies between 2011 and 2013 in connection to the 2011 legislative election results, which opposition groups claimed were flawed. The largest political protests are generally held in Moscow and St Petersburg, although rallies linked to local disputes are held throughout the country, including the North Caucasus region. In June 2017, opposition leader and presidential candidate Alexei Navalny was detained after calling thousands to take part in anti-corruption rallies - Navalny and his institutions have been targeted on multiple occasions. A month later, hundreds took to the streets of the capital to demonstrate against the approval of an internet censorship bill. For several weeks in mid-2019, protests engulfed Moscow after the local electoral authority barred several members of the opposition and independent candidates from running in the city’s local election.

In late-2013, major protests happened in Moscow after political tensions escalated in neighbouring Ukraine. In the aftermath of the Euromaidan protests in Kiev, Russian troops entered the Crimean Peninsula and annexed it to Russia after a contested and internationally condemned referendum. In further attempts to materialise the Russian influence in the region, in March 2018 a bridge connecting the Crimean Peninsula to mainland Russia was officially opened. The 18-kilometre bridge connects Kerch to Taman over the contested Strait of Kerch. Further, the deployment of S-400 defence systems in Sevastopol also raised tensions in Crimea. In November 2018, tensions in the region have further escalated after Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) seized three Ukrainian Navy vessels and detained more than two dozen crew members. President Putin has claimed that his Ukrainian counterpart at the time had launched a campaign of provocation against Russia.

Russian troops and military equipment were also claimed to have entered Ukraine’s Donbas region, where pro-Russian separatists widely operate. Russia’s involvement in the eastern Ukrainian conflict resulted in the imposition of EU and US sanctions on high-level government officials. Russia has also responded with targeted sanctions against both after introducing a ban to western food imports and the suspension of payments to the Council of Europe. In July 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. The government has consistently denied any involvement in the incident. In June 2019, four men were criminally charged for downing the aircraft. The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has named Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Leonid Kharchenko as the suspects. The first three are Russian nationals with an extensive military background. According to JIT, they were high-level ranking officials in the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic (DPR). Kharchenko, a Ukrainian national, was a field commander in the DPR. The probe concluded that they were at the time part of the 53rd anti-aircraft brigade stationed in the town of Pervomaiskiy. Investigations concluded that they are accused of liaising with Russia to acquire heavy weaponry, such as the Buk surface-to-air launcher used to fire the Russian-made 9M38 missile. JIT has issued international arrest warrants and requested Russia and Ukraine to cooperate with the investigations.

The Russian government is also fighting to end its own insurgency in the North Caucasus region, where fundamental Islamic militants operate. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, radical Islamism has been spreading throughout the region. The Second Chechen War, which began in 1999, accelerated the militarisation of the various separatist groups and by 2007 the so-called 'Caucasus Emirate' was created with the aim of bringing the various disparate groups within a single command structure. After an intense crackdown, the group suffered heavy losses and lost most of its influence in 2015. Russian security personnel are often the target of insurgents; however, civilians are often killed or wounded in the attacks. In March 2016, a twin attack in Dagestan that left two police officers dead was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group. The government has estimated that more than 2,000 Russian citizens, the majority from the North Caucasus, have travelled to join IS fronts in Syria and Iraq. Militants have also demonstrated that they are capable of carrying out attacks in other parts of Russia. In April 2017, at least 14 people have been killed in a twin bomb attack at the St Petersburg Metro. In previous years other significant attacks have taken place in Moscow, such as the bombings on the Moscow Metro in 2010, which killed at least 40 people, and on the Domodedovo Airport in 2011, where 37 people died. In December 2013, two suicide bombs killed 32 people in the city of Volgograd. In response, the FSB has carried out numerous counter-terror raids against alleged militants and terrorist cells across major Russian cities.

Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Syria, where it has been assisting the regime of Bashar al-Assad, has increased the threat of further terrorist attacks. Russian warplanes have been carrying out airstrikes against Syrian rebel forces, including IS, since September 2015. Human rights groups in Syria also claim that Russian jets have directly targeted civilians and used cluster bombs and other unguided bombs. A month after the campaign began, IS-affiliated militants in Egypt blew up Metrojet Flight 9268 shortly after it left Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg, killing all 224 people on board.

Diplomatic tensions with the US suffered a significant escalation since the US 2016 presidential election. Russian officials are being accused of colluding with their US counterparts in the attempt to meddle in the elections’ results that led to the victory of President Donald Trump. In June 2017, the US Senate reinforced sanctions on Russia over the country’s alleged involvement in the elections along with its active role in Syria and the Crimean annexation. In retaliation, a month later, President Putin ordered a drastic reduction of diplomatic staff in the US.

Crime poses a moderate threat to visitors to Russia. Levels of petty crime in Moscow and St Petersburg are comparable to most major cities elsewhere in Europe, with the threat from pickpockets and thieves heightened around areas popular with tourists. Acts of violent crime, although less common, do occur from time to time. These include racially motivated attacks, which have been recorded against people of Asian and African descent. There also remains the threat of extortion and corruption when dealing with the police and security forces, while fines are often imposed on tourists for failing to produce the correct documentation when requested. It should also be noted that although homosexuality has been decriminalised in Russia, prejudice and intolerance are still common amongst large sections of the population.

The media environment in Russia is oppressive and a number of journalists have been killed, assaulted and detained in recent years. In April 2016, government-critic Dmitry Tsilikin was stabbed to death at his home in St Petersburg. Most recently, a Russian investigative journalist, Alexander Sokolov, was sentenced to three-and-half years in prison for alleged ties to political extremism after his team was investigating Russian officials in the country’s Far East. In June 2019, an investigative journalist was detained for alleged drug charges. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), nearly 30 journalists were killed in Russia in the past two decades.

Russia is among a number of countries which has been badly hit by the global outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Russia has one of the highest caseloads in the world, but one of the lowest death rates. It's claimed that this is down to extensive testing having uncovered more mild cases than most other countries. The latest case figures can be viewed here.

News articles

By Reporters Without Borders

Independent journalist murdered in Kabardino-Balkaria

Reporters Without Borders offers its heartfelt condolences to the family and colleagues of Timur Kuashev, a journalist and human rights defender who was found dead today in a suburb of Nalchik, the capital of the autonomous Kabardino-Balkar Republic in the Russian Caucasus.

View all articles for Russian Federation

Alerts for Russian Federation

Putin warns of Afghan extremist threat

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned of extremist threats from Afghanistan in a virtual meeting with international heads of intelligence. "A number of international terrorist groups affiliated with ISIS continue to operate in the country," Putin said, “Militants with combat experience from Iraq and Syria are actively assembling there.” Putin suggested Russia and other countries should monitor the situation along the Afghan border and be prepared to dispel regional extremist threats.

Sixteen killed in plane crash, Tatarstan

At least 16 people have been killed in a plane crash in the Tatarstan region. Six others were wounded in the crash, according to the RIA news agency. The Let L-410 Turbolet came down near Menzelinsky at around 09:23 on Sunday morning.

Afghan Taliban invited to Moscow conference

Russia has reportedly asked members of the Taliban-led interim government in Afghanistan to attend international talks on Afghanistan being hosted in Moscow later this month. The move comes after Moscow hosted an international conference on Afghanistan in March which was attended by a Taliban delegation. The latest conference is due to take place on 20 October and will follow an extraordinary G20 meeting on Afghanistan being held in Rome on 12 October, aimed at helping Afghanistan avoid a humanitarian disaster following the Taliban takeover.

Eight Russian diplomats expelled by NATO

NATO has expelled eight Russian diplomats on allegations of espionage. The move comes as NATO claims the eight expelled diplomats had been working secretly as intelligence agents. The alliance has also halved the size of the Russian contingent in its Brussels office, from 20 to 10. The developments mark the first time such action has been taken against Russia since 2018 - when seven diplomats were expelled from the mission following the Salisbury spy poisonings in the UK. Following the latest news, Moscow has criticised the West, accusing it of "diplomatic confrontation".

Probe launched into prison torture allegations

An investigation has been launched into allegations of systemic torture in prisons. The probe comes after videos were leaked online of the alleged torture, abuse, and rape of inmates in Russian prison systems. The footage was allegedly compiled in a trove of files provided by an anonymous Belarusian whistle-blower, who served time in the Saratov facility. The authenticity of the videos has yet to be confirmed.

Two detained on kidnap charges in St Petersburg

Two suspected kidnappers have reportedly been detained by the Russian authorities on suspicion of abducting a woman. The arrests have been made in St Petersburg, where both suspects were apparently apprehended by police on Peizazhnaya Street on Monday morning. It's alleged the two suspects had earlier held a woman against her will. She reportedly managed to escape whilst stopped at a petrol station along the highway after several hours of captivity and reported the crime. 

Turkey and Russia hold Syria ceasefire talks

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have held face-to-face talks in Sochi to discuss the progress of the 2020 Syrian ceasefire deal. Erdogan wants to shore up the truce because of repeated violations and escalations over the last 18 months. These talks are the first between the two countries since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and follow on from fighting which brought Turkey and Russia close to direct conflict.

European court finds Russia responsible for killing of former spy

The European Court of Human Rights has found Russia responsible for the killing of a former spy. Alexander Litvinenko died of polonium poisoning in London in 2016. He was a Russian spy who later became a British citizen. A public inquiry in the UK held in 2016 concluded that the killing was "probably approved" by Russian President Vladimir Putin and named former KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoi and another Russian, Dmitry Kovtun, as the prime suspects. Russia has consistently denied any involvement.

Putin's party wins election

President Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party has won a parliamentary majority following a national election which has been heavily marred by allegations of fraud. With almost all of the votes counted, United Russia has won nearly 50 percent of the vote, marking a slight drop in support from the previous election. Putin's biggest critics and any credible opposition candidates were widely barred from running. There were also reports of ballot stuffing and forced voting. Russia's electoral commission rejected claims of widespread irregularities.

Gunman opens fire at Perm university

A gunman has reportedly opened fire at a university in Perm, resulting in multiple casualties. Initial reports indicate the incident has unfolded at Perm State University on Monday morning. Footage has emerged online showing students purportedly jumping out of windows in a bid to escape the gunman - who remains unidentified so far. Updated reports indicate that at least six people have been killed, while 20 others have also been injured. The security forces are understood to have 'neutralised' the shooter.

Parliamentary elections get underway

Parliamentary elections get underway in Russia this weekend, with the voting process open from Friday 17 September until Sunday 19 September. Fourteen political parties are taking part in the election; however, the ruling party, United Russia, is widely expected to win. The elections have been the subject of widespread international criticism for its systemic suppression of any credible opposition candidates.

Pakistan, Russia coordinate positions on Afghanistan

Pakistan and Russia have held leadership-level talks to coordinate their positions the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. Pakistani PM Imran Khan and Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly discussed a 'need for peace and stability' in the region in a phone conversation ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit later this week. Both sides are understood to have exchanged their views on Afghanistan and voiced their interest in coordinating both countries' approaches with an aim to stabilising regional security.

One killed in Krasnodar stabbing

One person has reportedly died following a fatal stabbing attack in Krasnodar. The incident allegedly occurred during the early hours of Tuesday morning at a property on Tovarnaya Street. Police have confirmed the fatality following the incident and are also understood to have made one arrest. No further suspects are currently being sought for in connection with the case.

Opposition suppressed ahead of election

All opposition candidates have been prevented from running in the upcoming election in Russia. Independent monitoring groups have heavily criticised the upcoming election as a demonstration of the Kremlin's power to disqualify any credible opposition candidates. It's also suspected the vote will be highly fraught with falsifications and fraud. Ahead of the election, Russian authorities also labelled a string of independent journalists "foreign agents". Kremlin supporters deny their political opponents have been excluded en masse from the elections.

Two killed in Dagestan counter-terror raid

Two suspected terrorists have apparently been killed during a counter-terror raid in Dagestan. The operation was being conducted in the Buynaksky district on Friday, in a forested area near the village of Talgi. It's claimed the suspects resisted arrest and opened fire on the security forces - sparking a fatal crossfire which left both suspects dead.

Russia-Belarus launch joint military drills

Russia and Belarus have reportedly launched large-scale joint military drills. The week-long exercise will take place in both countries and over the Baltic Sea. The formal launch of the joint drill has allegedly sparked alarm amongst a number of NATO countries. The military exercise comes following months of increased tensions between Russia and Belarus and much of Europe over a range of issues including the detention and poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, as well as the suppression of opposition-led anti-government protests in Belarus and the more recent hijacking of a Ryanair flight to arrest an opposition journalist.

Shooting kills one in Belgorod

A recent shooting incident has purportedly left at least one victim dead and a second injured in Belgorod Oblast. The shooting occurred on Tuesday in the Rozhdestvensky district of Stary Oskol city. It's believed the shooting broke out as a result of an altercation between the suspect and the victims, which escalated suddenly. No arrests have immediately been made and further details regarding the circumstances behind the killing have yet to be confirmed.

UK sanctions seven Russians over Navalny poisoning

Seven Russian nationals linked to the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny have been hit with sanction by the UK. According to reports, the UK has imposed asset freezes and travel bans in joint sanctions with the US, targeting those "directly responsible for planning or carrying out the attack". All seven of the individuals targeted are members of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).

Pilot killed in Ashuluk fighter jet crash

A Russian air force pilot has reportedly been killed after their fighter jet crashed in the Ashuluk area of Astrakhan Oblast on Wednesday. The MiG-19-type jet apparently crashed during a planned flight after encountering an as-of-yet undetermined issue. The plane crashed in an uninhabited area of land in the Ashuluk test range territory and there were no other casualties linked to the crash. Investigations into the cause of the crash remain ongoing.

Landslide hits highway in Sakha

A landslide has reportedly hit a section of a federal highway near the Fork area of Sakha. According to local reports, the incident occurred shortly before 09:45 local time on Tuesday morning, when heavy rain triggered a mudslide which hit the Yakutsk-Magadan highway (P-504). The incident has resulted in traffic disruption in both directions along the highway. Clearing operations are underway to restore the road into a usable condition. No casualties have been reported as a result of the landslide.

BBC Moscow correspondent expelled

The BBC's Moscow correspondent Sarah Rainsford is being expelled from Russia. The journalist is allegedly being forced to leave Russia at the end of the month, when her visa expires. Rainsford claims the effective expulsion is not a failure to renew a visa, but a retaliatory move for the refusal of the UK to grant visas to Russian journalists.

Tourist helicopter crashes into Kurile Lake

A tourist helicopter carrying 16 people has crashed into Kuril Lake in Russia's Far East. Only eight survivors have been rescued so far as emergency service teams continue to attend the scene. The crash occurred on Thursday in Kurile Lake on the Kamchatka Peninsula, where the helicopter is understood to be lying at a depth of 137 metres - requiring specialist deep-water equipment. The aircraft had been travelling from the village of Nikolayevka to the Kuril Lake and the Khodutka volcano when it crashed. The cause of the accident has yet to be confirmed as search and rescue efforts continue.

Volcanic activity increases at Shiveluch volcano

An increase in volcanic activity has been reported at the Shiveluch volcano in Kamchatka Krai. Monitoring groups have issued an orange level aviation hazard for the volcano, due to a thick plume of steam and gas being emitted on Wednesday morning. The gas and steam has apparently reached a height of five kilometres; however, experts have confirmed there is no imminent risk of ashfall.

Wildfires continue to burn across Siberia

Wildfires continue to burn across much of Russia's north-eastern Siberia. On Monday, Russia's weather monitoring institute, Rosgidromet, warned the fires were worsening, as smoke from the raging forest fires reached the north pole, for the first time in recorded history. Fires in the region have been occurring with increasing regularity in recent years, prompting concerns over climate change. It's estimated that the fires have burnt through almost 3.4 million hectares (8.4m acres).

Khakassia stabbing leaves five dead

At least five fatalities have been reported following a stabbing incident which allegedly occurred in Russia's Republic of Khakassia. The stabbing purportedly took place on Thursday morning, when local authorities were alerted to developments in the village of Dzhirim. It's been reported that the victims have all been identified as members of the same family. A criminal case has been opened as police investigate the killings. One 36-year-old suspect has been arrested - thought to be a resident of the Shirinsky region.

Police officer injured in St Petersburg assault

A Russian police officer has been injured following an incident in St Petersburg on Tuesday. The officer was allegedly assaulted by an unknown assailant on Tuesday evening near Shuvalovsky Avenue. According to local reports, the suspect is understood to have fled the scene immediately after the attack. Police have launched a search operation as investigations get underway.

Russian ransomware websites go offline

Several websites for Russian-linked ransomware gang, REvil (aka 'Sodinokibi'), have gone offline - sparking speculation the group may have been targeted by authorities. The group is blamed for attacks on hundreds of businesses worldwide and the development has come amid growing pressure between the US and Russia over cyber-crime. Last month, the FBI accused the group of being responsible for a ransomware attack targeting the world's largest meat processing company. It's unknown whether the US or Russian officials have taken action against REvil - which demanded a huge bitcoin ransom for an attack targeting IT firm Kaseya and hundreds more businesses worldwide, just last week.

Fatal mine accident reported in Khailbullinsky

A fatal mining accident has reported occurred in a mine in the Khailbullinsky area, in the Republic of Bashkortostan. According to recent reports, the fatality occurred during a mine collapse on Monday evening. It's understood the accident happened shortly after 20:30 local time at the Yubileiny mine near Petropavlovsky village. The cause behind the collapse has yet to be ascertained as investigations remain ongoing.

Police officer killed in Moscow stabbing

A Russian police officer has been killed following a recent stabbing incident which occurred on Wednesday in the Moscow Oblast. According to reports, the police officer was fatally stabbed in the Shchyolkovo area, near a playground on Belyaev Street. The officer is understood to have been on duty at the time of the attack. Police have confirmed that one arrest has been made in connection with the incident as investigations go forward.

Hostages taken during Tyumen bank robbery

At least three hostages have allegedly been held captive by an armed robber at a bank in Tyumen. The incident has unfolded on Wednesday morning at the Sberbank branch on Chervishevsky Street in Tyumen, where an unknown suspect took several people hostage before demanding money. It's understood negotiations with the suspect are underway, while the residential properties in the building above the bank have been evacuated. It's been reported that the suspect is demanding 15 million Russian Ruble (around £146,800; $202,650).

Passenger plane missing in Russian Far East

Dozens of people have gone missing after a passenger plane disappeared in Russia's Far East. The An-26 aircraft reportedly lost contact with air traffic control shortly before it was scheduled to land in Palana on the Kamchatka peninsula. The plane was carrying 28 people - 22 passengers and six crew members - and had flown from the regional centre of Petropavlovsk. It's believed the plane crashed into the sea, as a signal from its black box has been detected. Unconfirmed reports suggest the head of Palana's town administration may have been on board the flight. Investigations into the potential cause of the accident are underway.

LGBT ads banned at Euro 2020 matches

Rainbow-coloured LGBT ads have been banned from being displayed during Euro 2020 matches being held in Russia. UEFA sponsors such as Volkswagen have been barred from using the LGBT rainbow flag colours on billboards in St Petersburg as well as in Baku, Azerbaijan, due to local laws. The move from UEFA comes amid renewed debate in Europe over anti-gay laws and has prompted further outcry from the LGBT community following UEFA's recent refusal to light Germany's Allianz Arena in rainbow colours during a group-stage match against Hungary - where a controversial anti-gay law has recently sparked protests.

UK and US accuse Moscow of political cyber campaign

The UK and the US intelligence agencies have both accused Russia of carrying out ongoing politically-motivated cyber campaigns to steal emails and other discrete information. It's been suggested that Russian military hackers have been targeting parliaments and political parties in the US and throughout Europe. It's claimed the same group of hackers are also suspected of stealing and leaking Democrat emails during the US 2016 presidential election. More recent targets include UK political parties and the Norwegian parliament in 2020. 

Belgorod grenade blast kills one

One fatality has been reported by the authorities following an apparent grenade explosion in the Belgorod Oblast. The blast allegedly occurred on Thursday morning in a private residential property. It's understood the deceased is thought to have been the occupant of the property. Further details surrounding the incident have yet to be confirmed, as police investigations into the deadly explosion get underway.

Putin accuses UK and US of military provocation

Russian President Vladimir Putin has allegedly accused the UK and the US of military provocation following a recent incident involving a British warship off the coast of Russian-annexed Crimea. Putin claimed the UK and the US military had staged a "complex provocation" which he believed was part of an attempt to establish military bases in or near Ukraine. Putin also alleged a US spy plane had been involved in the operation. The British Royal Navy has rejected Russia's version of events, asserting the warship had been conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.

Highest daily covid-19 death toll recorded

A record-high increase to Russia's Covid-19 death toll has been reported. Over the last 24 hours, the nationwide death toll has risen by 652 - the highest single-day jump since the pandemic began - bringing the total number of confirmed coronavirus fatalities to 134,545. Meanwhile, an additional 20,616 new cases of infection have also been recorded, raising the overall case tally to almost 5.5 million.

Military helicopter crashes in Gathina region

A Russian military helicopter has crashed in the north-western Gathina region. Three people onboard the Mi-8 died in the accident on Thursday night. Officials said the crash was caused "following an air incident" near the city of Saint Petersburg.

Russia claims to have fired warning shots at British warship

Russia claims to have fired warning shots at a British warship following an encounter on Wednesday afternoon. According to initial reports, Russia says warning shots have been fired and bombs have also been dropped in the path of a British Royal Navy destroyer in an apparent bid to deter it after the warship allegedly entered Russian territorial waters in the Black Sea near Cape Fiolent in the south of  Crimea. It's claimed the British vessel subsequently changed course. The British embassy's defence attache has reportedly been summoned to the Russian defence ministry. Following the incident, the UK's defence ministry has denied that Russia fired any warning shots near a British warship, which it said was carrying out a "routine transit" in Ukrainian waters, during which it entered an internationally recognised traffic corridor and - as routine - was shadowed by Russian vessels. It was stated that the warship was made aware of Russian training exercises in the wider vicinity, but that no shots were directed at the ship.

Four killed, four injured in Siberian plane crash

Four people have been killed and four injured in a plane crash in the Kemerovo region in south-western Siberia, the local emergency medical service said. TASS news agency reported that the twin-engine L-410 crashed near the Tanay aerodrome, citing the local prosecutors' office as saying the crew had sent a distress signal about engine failure. A spokesman from the Siberian branch of Russian civil aviation agency Rosaviatsia said a search and rescue operation was underway.

Covid-19 surge reported

A surge in Covid-19 cases has been reported in Russia. The country is reportedly experiencing a sharp increase in the number of new daily infections, with numbers in Moscow thought to be close to last year's peaks. A steep rise in cases has also been recorded in St Petersburg, which is hosting six Euro 2020 games. Health officials have apparently noted a significant increase in the spread of the Delta variant, which originated in India.

President praises US-Russian summit

President Vladimir Putin has praised the US-Russian presidential summit recently held in Geneva, Switzerland. Putin's first official meeting with US President Joe Biden came at a time of deteriorated relations between the two countries; however, following the talks, both sides have agreed to return ambassadors to each other's capitals. Envoys were mutually withdrawn earlier this year after the US accused Russia of meddling in the 2020 presidential election. The two sides have also agreed to begin a dialogue on nuclear arms control, although there was little sign of agreement on other issues, including issues surrounding the detention of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, cyber-security, and Russia's involvement in Ukraine.

One killed in Berezovsky factory fire

A person has died after a fire broke out at a factory in Berezovsky, Kemerovo Oblast. The fire reportedly broke out on Tuesday morning shortly after 09:00 local time in a building at the JSC Central Processing Plant Berezovskaya site. Reports indicate the deceased has been identified as a factory worker. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Moscow court outlaws 'extremist' organisations

A court in Mosco has outlawed 'extremist' organisations in what is widely being seen as a controversial political move. The ruling essentially bans political organisation linked to the jailed Kremlin critic and opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, by classifying them as "extremist". Any activists linked with listed organisations or Navalny's political network will risk hefty prison sentences or could be barred from running from public office. The move comes ahead of scheduled parliamentary elections which are due to take place in September.

SVR-linked group carries out cyber attack

SVR-linked Russian hacking group Nobelium, responsible for last years' SolarWinds attacks, has carried out a series of attacks on governmental and non-governmental aid agencies. It targeted 150 organisations in 24 countries via phishing emails sent to 3,000 email accounts. Tom Burt, Microsoft's corporate vice president of customer security and trust, said "These attacks appear to be a continuation of multiple efforts by Nobelium to target government agencies involved in foreign policy as part of intelligence gathering efforts."

Russian authorities block airlines over Belarus row

Russia has denied entry to Air France and Austrian Airlines because they planned to avoid flying over Belarus. EU leaders asked European airlines to avoid Belarusian airspace after a Ryanair plane was forced to divert to Belarus before dissident journalist Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend were taken from the aircraft and arrested. Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to meet his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in Sochi on Friday to discuss the crisis.

Three killed in Yekaterinburg knife attack

Three fatalities have been reported following a knife attack in Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk Oblast. The incident reportedly occurred on Monday morning in a park near the city's central train station on Vokzal'naya Ulitsa, where an armed man - thought to be under the influence of alcohol - allegedly began attacking passers-by. Three people have been confirmed dead after sustaining fatal stab wounds. Police have confirmed they have made one arrest in connection with the attack - the motive behind which remains under investigation.

Kazan school shooting kills nine

Nine fatalities have been reported following a shooting incident at a school in the city of Kazan. Initial reports indicate the shooting has happened on Tuesday morning. So far, the deaths of eight school children and one teacher have been reported by Russian media. Unconfirmed reports claim at least one suspect has been arrested - who is thought to be a teenager. Another assailant is also thought to have been involved in the attack. Further details have yet to be confirmed but police are understood to be responding to the scene. Casualty figures are expected to rise, with dozens of injuries reported.

Navalny ends hunger strike

Jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny has reportedly ended his hunger strike. Navalny announced he is ending his hunger strike on Friday after 24 days of refusing food in jail. The development comes just hours after doctors urged him to end the strike due to serious concerns over his rapidly deteriorating health, with some fearing the opposition figure could die within days if he continued to refuse to eat. Navalny started his hinger strike at the end of last month to demand better medical care. Thousands of Navalny supporters have taken to the streets in recent days to call for his release, with more than 1,700 protesters arrested.

Navalny urged to end hunger strike

Detained opposition leader and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been urged by doctors to end his hunger strike. The circumstances behind Navalny's detention and hunger strike are the subject of international discord between Russia and the West, with Navalny's deteriorating health believed to be worsening critically. Navalny has been on a hunger strike in prison for weeks now, demanding he be given adequate medical care for various severe ailments. Navalny's case has prompted world leaders to urge Moscow to release the detained opposition leader, whose conviction is widely believed to have been politically-motivated. Thousands of Navalny's supporters have also been protesting across Russia to call for his release. On Thursday, doctors warned that Navalny is likely to die soon unless he ends his hunger strike and receives intensive medical care. 

Troops to be pulled back from near Ukraine

Russia is due to pull its troops back from near the Ukrainian border. The news comes after weeks of tension over a build-up of Russian troops close to Ukraine's border, with the EU estimated at one stage that more than 100,000 Russian soldiers had been deployed near the border, as well as in Crimea. Russia described the deployment as "snap checks", stating that troops were now to be withdrawn and returned to base having achieved their objective: "to demonstrate their ability to provide a credible defence for the country". In response to the build-up, Ukrainian troop number were also bolstered, prompting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to challenge Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet him in the conflict zone.

Thousands protest in support of Navalny

Thousands of people have joined protests in support of detained opposition figure Alexei Navalny. The protesters have defied a ban on public gatherings to take part in the unauthorised rallies, which are being held to call for the release and treatment of the jailed Kremlin critic. Navalny has been on a hunger strike for weeks in a bid to pressure the Russian authorities to provide him with adequate medical care for severe ailments. More than 1,000 arrests were reportedly made during the demonstrations - the largest of which was held in Moscow, with others also taking place in other major cities, including St Petersburg, Vladivostok in the Far East, a number of cities in Siberia, and the central city of Vladimir where Navalny is detained. Police estimates place total attendance at 14,000 people across 29 cities, with 6,000 gathering in central Moscow, although monitoring groups suggest actual numbers tend to far exceed police figures. Further such demonstrations and widespread disruption are expected over the next few days.

Putin issues warning to the West

Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a warning to the West, not to cross a "red line" with Russia. The warning was delivered during his annual state of the nation address and comes amid heightened diplomatic tensions with the West over several key issues, including Ukraine, Belarus, alleged election interferences, sanctions, and jailed Putin critic Alexei Navalny. Putin also condemned what he described as a coup plot against Belarus, claiming "the use of unjust sanctions is growing into something more dangerous: a coup attempt in Belarus". The statements come after Belarusian authorities claimed to have foiled a US-backed plot to assassinate Russian-backed Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko with the Russian FSB security services' help.

US warns Russia over Navalny's health

The US has issued a warning to Russia over the state of detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny's deteriorating health. Washington DC has reportedly stated that there will be "consequences" for Moscow if Navalny dies in jail. The warning comes after Navalny's doctors claimed he could die within the next few days if not given the urgent medical attention he has been requesting for acute back pain and leg numbness. Navalny went on a hunger strike to demand he be given medical attention; however, Russian officials have dismissed Navalny has "attention seeking", before stating he wouldn't be allowed to die in prison. The UK, France, Germany, and the EU have also expressed concern over Navalny's treatment.

Czech diplomats expelled

Some 20 Czech diplomats have been expelled by Moscow over an espionage row. The move comes after Czechia expelled 18 Russian diplomats suspected of being intelligence operatives involved in a 2014 explosion at a Czech arms depot which killed two people. Among those linked to the blast include two Russians accused of carrying out the 2018 Salisbury nerve agent attack in the UK. Russia claims the accusations from Czechia are unfounded; however, the row has prompted EU foreign ministers to table a talk to discuss the expulsions. Czechia is expected to also inform EU allies and NATO members, with the US already expressing support for Prague.

Pilot killed after Mi-2 helicopter crashes in southern Russia

A pilot has been killed after a Mi-2 helicopter crash-landed in southern Russia. "As a result of the helicopter’s crash-landing in the area of the 52nd kilometer of the Krasnodar-Novorossiysk highway, a man born in 1960 died. The emergencies services are on the scene," the Emergencies Ministry reported. The cause of the crash will be investigated.

Court sentences Navalny ally

A key ally of detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been sentenced by a court in Russia. Lawyer and journalist Lyubov Sobol - considered one of Navalny's closest aides - has been sentenced to a year of community service for allegedly trespassing. Sobol was found guilty of forcibly entering the apartment of an alleged agent suspect of involvement in last year's chemical attack on Navalny. Sobol pleaded not guilty to the charges, instead insisting she only knocked on the apartment door to ask for an interview. and claims her sentencing is politically motivated.

US to impose sanctions on Russia over cyber-attacks

The US is set to impose various sanctions on Russia over alleged cyber-attacks. The Biden administration in the US is due to announce the sanctions this week in response to cyber-attacks aimed at the US, including alleged interference in the 2020 presidential elections. The sanctions will target more than 30 Russian entities and include the expulsion of at least 10 individuals from the US. The developments come amid worsening US-Russian relations.

Fire breaks out in St Petersburg factory

A large fire has broken out in a factory building in St Petersburg. One firefighter has died and two others have also been seriously injured whilst tackling the massive blaze. The fire reportedly started at around 12:30 local time on Monday, quickly spreading to engulf all six floors of the Nevskaya Manufaktura building. The flames were fuelled by strong winds, hampering efforts to extinguish the fire. Some 40 people were evacuated with around 300 firefighters dispatched to put out the fire. The building's roof and floor deck are understood to have collapsed during the fire - the cause of which still remains unknown as investigations get underway.

Detained opposition leader health worsens

A lawyer for detained opposition leader and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has claimed the opposition figure's health has further deteriorated as his condition has worsened due to a continued lack of adequate medical care whilst in prison. According to reports, Navalny has begun to lose sensation in his legs and hands, having been diagnosed with to spinal hernias. Navalny started a hunger strike last week to demand proper treatment for acute back and leg pain. Navalny was relocated to a sick ward in the prison earlier this week with symptoms of a respiratory illness. 

FSB foils terrorist attack, Stavropol

The Federal Security Service (FSB) has foiled a terrorist attack in the Stavropol Territory, according to officials. Agents detained a supporter of an international terrorist organisation who was planning an attack against the security forces. The Center for Public Relations (DSP) of the FSB said three accomplices were also detained during the raids.

Navalny on hunger strike over jail treatment

Kremlin critic and jailed opposition figure Alexei Navalny has reportedly gone on a hunger strike to protest his treatment in prison as he demands proper medical treatment. Navalny is being held at the IK-2 corrective penal colony, where he has complained via social media of not receiving medical attention for a variety of ailments, including back pain, sleep deprivation, and numbness in his legs. Russia's federal penitentiary service has denied thee allegations, insisting Navalny has access to "all the necessary medical assistance in accordance with his medical indications".

Moscow recalls US envoy

Moscow has recalled its US envoy following recent remarks made by US President Joe Biden about Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia confirmed it had recalled its Washington ambassador Anatoly Antonov for consultations to prevent the "irreversible deterioration" of US-Russia relations. According to reports, the move comes after Biden said Putin would "pay the price" for alleged election meddling during an interview with US broadcaster ABC News, in which Biden also implied he believed Putin was "a killer". The US is expected to impose sanctions on Russia next week over the findings of a report which accused Russia of attempting to influence the US 2019 election in favour of former President Donald Trump. Moscow has dismissed the allegations, saying they are not backed by any evidence and will further harm bilateral ties.

Fatal stabbing reported in Ufa

A fatal stabbing incident has allegedly been reported in Ufa, Bashkortostan. According to local reports, the incident occurred on Wednesday on Ulitsa Pushkina, where one victim was confirmed to have died from stab wounds. The suspect was alleged to have fled the scene, but has since been apprehended and is now in custody in hospital, where he is receiving treatment following an apparent suicide attempt. The motive behind the stabbing has yet to be confirmed as police investigations get underway.

Four detained on kidnap charges, Yekareinburg

Four suspected kidnappers have been detained on kidnap charges in Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk. The suspected criminals also face other charges, including robbery and extortion. Further details regarding the charges being brought against the four youths have yet to be confirmed as police investigations go forward.

Suspect killed in Makhachkala counter-terror operation

At least one suspected terrorist has allegedly been killed in a recent counter-terror operation conducted by the Russian security forces in the Makhachkala area of Dagestan. According to recent reports, the suspect was apprehended by law enforcement during the operation on Thursday morning; however, the suspect allegedly resisted arrest and opened fire on security personnel, triggering a fatal shootout in which the suspect was shot dead. no other casualties have been reported. 

Russia to host Afghanistan talks

Moscow has said it has invited all stakeholders in inter-Afghan talks to attend a meet in the Russian capital with the aim of furthering progress in peace talks. Stakeholders include Afghanistan, the Taliban, the US, China, and Pakistan. Qatar, which has been hosting intra-Afghan talks, has also been invited to the meeting as an honoured guest. The talks are due to take place on 18 March.

Covid-19 death toll rises by over 400

The nationwide death toll for Covid-19 in Russia has risen by over 400 in the last 24 hours. The latest daily figures show an increase of 441 newly reported coronavirus deaths, bringing the country's total number of confirmed Covid-19 deaths to almost 87,000. An additional 10,565 new cases of infection have also raised the national caseload to over 4.268 million - the world's fourth highest caseload. Russia continues to see a gradual decline in Covid-19 cases and deaths following a spike in January; however, the fall in infections has begun to slow down and remains higher than during the peak of last year's outbreak.

Fatal shooting reported in Leningrad

A fatal shooting incident has been reported in Leningrad Oblast, leaving at least one person dead. The incident was reported on Thursday, when a man was allegedly shot during a mass brawl which broke out at around 23:00 local time on Thursday evening. The fighting took place on Zatonnaya Ulitsa in the town of Shlisselburg, Kirovsky District. It's believed the incident was motivated by a dispute which escalated violently.

Navalny stripped of 'prisoner of conscience' status

Detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been stripped of his status as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. The human rights organisation released a statement explaining the decision on Wednesday, stating that due to numerous complaints made regarding alleged hate speech by Navalny, a review had to be undertaken in which Amnesty confirmed that comment which had been made by Navalny some 15 years ago meant they were no longer able to consider him a prisoner of conscience. The group highlighted its concern that the volume of complaints received to "de-list" Navalny may have been part of an "orchestrated campaign" to de-credit the Kremlin critic and thus hinder the group's calls for his release. 

First case of H5N8 bird flu transmission to humans detected

Russian scientists have detected the first case of H5N8 bird flu transmission to humans. The State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology isolated genetic material of the strain from seven workers on a poultry farm in southern Russia, who suffered no serious health consequences. Anna Popova, the head of Russian health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, said in televised remarks: “Information about the world’s first case of transmission of the bird flu (H5N8) to humans has already been sent to the World Health Organization.”

Navalny appeal rejected by court

Judge Dmitry Balashov has rejected Alexei Navalny’s appeal against the 2 February ruling, which turned a 2014 suspended sentence on charges of embezzlement into a jail sentence. Navalny, who was arrested after returning from Germany on 17 January, now faces a two-and-a-half year jail term in a penal colony. The development comes after the 16 February ruling by the European Court of Human Rights demanding that the Russian government release Navalny immediately, with the court saying that the resolution was made in "regard to the nature and extent of risk to the applicant's life."

Explosive device triggers evacuation in Vozhsky

The discovery of an explosive device in Volzhsky, Volgograd, has triggered a small-scale evacuation. Some 27 residents were asked to vacate their properties on Druzhba Avenue following the discovery on Friday morning. The evacuations were considered a precautionary measure while specialised personnel were dispatched to attend the scene. According to reports, the device was found in the entrance of an apartment building. A full investigation into the origins of the device has been launched and remains ongoing.

Russia threatens to cut ties with EU

Russia has threatened to cut ties with the EU over sanctions. Moscow stated it was ready to sever ties if the EU imposes new sanctions on Russia amid an escalating row over the detention and treatment of detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a break in ties could be triggered by EU sanctions which "create risks for our economy". Russia recently expelled three EU diplomats for allegedly attending illegal pro-Navalny protests - an allegation which has been rejected by the EU. In response, the three EU countries have in turn expelled Russian diplomats.

Navalny court hearing postponed

The court in Moscow where the case which has been brought against opposition leader and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is being heard has confirmed their decision to postpone Navalny's court hearing. The court is expected to resume the hearing of the case on Friday 12 February. According to reports, the postponement was agreed to by both sides following a controversial point in the hearing, which prompted Navalny to claim the prosecutor was requesting a break in proceedings because he had caught a witness in a lie.

Rights groups criticise detention of gay men in Chechnya

The Russian LGBT Network has criticised the detention of two two gay men, who have allegedly been forcibly returned to Chechnya after the rights groups helped them escape last year. According to reports, the two men fled to Russia after allegedly being tortured and forced to record a video apology. Following their escape, the pair have apparently been re-captured by Russian police and are believed to be in "mortal danger" having since been handed back to authorities in predominantly Muslim Chechnya, where homophobia is widespread. Despite the growing number of reports of persecution against sexual minorities, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has consistently denied allegations of illegal detentions and human rights abuses.

Six protesters detained in Novosibirsk

Six opposition protesters have allegedly been detained by the authorities in central Novosibirsk. The demonstration was held over the weekend, outside the Opera House on Sunday. According to recent reports, the protest was organised in support of detained opposition figure Alexei Navalny. Widespread protests have been taking place across Russia since the Kremlin critic was detained upon his arrival into the country last month.

European diplomats expelled over Navalny protests

Moscow has expelled three European diplomats amid ongoing opposition protests in support of detained Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Diplomats from Germany, Sweden, and Poland have reportedly been declared persona non grata for joining Navalny protests. Moscow accused the diplomats or taking part in "illegal demonstrations" on 23 January 2021. Sweden has denied that its diplomat participated in any protests. The expulsions have been announced shortly after EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell met with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss growing tensions.

EU warns of possible sanctions over Navalny case

The EU's foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell has warned Moscow of possible sanctions which could be imposed on Russia over the case brought against jailed opposition leader and Kremlin critic, Alexei Navalny. Borrell met with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov this week, calling the case against Navalny a "low point" in EU-Russia relations. The EU has reiterated calls for Navalny's release, as well as the launching of an investigation into opposition figure's poisoning last year. In response, Lavrov expressed Moscow was keen to have broader dialogue over the issue but warned of unpredictable consequences if relations worsened further, calling EU restrictions "illegitimate".

US-Russia extend nuclear treaty

The US and Russia have confirmed the agreed extension of the New Start nuclear arms control treaty. The five-year extension comes as the original expiry date of 05 February loomed, following former US President Donald Trumps' refusal to agree to the extension. According to reports on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the extension into law last week. The treaty is the only nuclear arms deals remaining between the US and Russia, meaning its expiration would have lifted restraints on the deployment of strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems.

Almost 1,400 detained amid opposition protests

Nearly 1,400 arrests have been made by Russian police over the course of Tuesday amid opposition protests. The mass protests have been ongoing since the return of opposition leader and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who was detained upon arrival into the country last week. Navalny has been jailed for three-and-a-half-years for allegedly violating the conditions of a suspended prison sentence in a case which he claims was fabricated and politically motivated. The EU, the US, and the UK have all condemned the court verdict which was delivered on Tuesday, demanding Navalny's immediate release. Hundreds of protesters gathered in central Moscow following to protest against the court's decision - leading to clashes with riot police.

Moscow court hears Navalny case

A court in Moscow is due to deliver its verdict on whether opposition leader and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's suspended sentence should be converted into an actual prison term. The court is preparing is decision as riot police make dozens of arrests amid protests in support of Navalny - who could face up to thee-and-a-half years in prison over embezzlement charges, which the opposition figure has labelled as fabricated and politically motivated. The case has sparked nationwide protests since Navalny was arrested upon his return to the country having received hospital treatment for several months in Germany after he was poisoned in an apparent attempt on his life last year

More than 500 new Covid-19 fatalities confirmed

More than 500 new Covid-19 fatalities have been confirmed in the last 24 hours in Russia. A daily increase of 539 new deaths has taken the country's total number of registered coronavirus deaths to more than 74,000. Some 16,600 new cases of infection have also been diagnosed, bringing the overall national caseload to almost 3.9 million. The latest figures come as Russia has seen a slight decrease in daily numbers following a second wave over the New Year.

Two killed in Moscow knife attack

Two people have reportedly been killed in a recent knife attack which occurred in Moscow over the weekend. The incident happened on Sunday in the Kommunarka area of Moscow Oblast, where two victims reportedly died from fatal stab wounds sustained during an altercation in Lipovy Park Street. According to local reports, the police are investigating the attack and have already made one arrest in connection with the incident.

Thousands join Navalny protests

Thousands of people have joined fresh opposition protests in support of detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Unauthorised demonstrations were reported across Russia over the weekend, demanding Navalny's release after he was jailed upon his return to the country following his recovery in Germany from being poisoned in an apparent attempt on his life last year. More than 5,000 protesters have ben detained following the outbreak of unrest. Metro stations were closed in Moscow and the police were called in to close off parts of the city centre.

Police detain allies of Alexei Navalny during multiple raids

Police have arrested several associates of the opposition leader Alexei Navalny as part of multiple raids across Moscow. According to the interior ministry, the raids were part of investigations into unauthorised demonstrations planned for this weekend. DW reported that among those arrested in Navalny's doctor, Anastasia Vasilyeva, who is also the head of a doctors' labour union. Navalny is detained since he returned to Russia this month. He will appear in court on Thursday to appeal.

Police raids offices linked to Alexei Navalny

Police have raided offices linked to the opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow. Sources told Reuters that police officers searched several properties associated with Navalny, including his apartment and his Anti-Corruption Foundation. Navalny recently returned to Russia after receiving treatment in Germany. He was taken to Berlin after he was poisoned with novichok in Siberia. He was detained just after landing in Moscow. Several countries condemned's Navalny's arrest.

Parliament approves extension of New START treaty with the US

Parliament has approved the extension of the so-called New START treaty for another five years. Both houses of the Russian parliament approved the decision to extend the arms control deal with the US. The announcement came after US President Joe Biden talked with President Vladimir Putin. The agreement was due to expire next week. It was signed during the administration of Barack Obama in 2010 and limits the deployed of nuclear warheads, missiles and bombers.

EU ministers call for sanctions after protest crackdown in Russia

EU ministers have called on additional sanctions against Russia after a violent protest crackdown. Over the weekend, thousands were arrested after nationwide demonstrations broke out to support Alexei Navalny, a prominent opposition leader. He was detained earlier this month just after returning from Germany. Russia has accused the US, the UK and the EU of provocation. Several Russian officials were already sanctioned by the EU after the poisoning of Navalny. Reports indicate that he was targeted with a military-grade novichok agent in Siberia.

Dozens detained in protests in support of opposition politician

Dozens of people have been detained as thousands took part in protests across Russia in support of opposition politician Alexei Navalny. Police tried to prevent people from gathering in the capital, Moscow, while large rallies were also reported in the Far East. In Vladivostok, riot police used batons to disperse a crowd of around 3,000 people. Navalny was arrested last Sunday after he returned to Russia from Germany, where he had been recovering from a nerve agent attack last August.

Alexei Navalny's ally detained days before a protest in Moscow

A political ally of the opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been arrested in Moscow. Lyubov Sobol was arrested on Thursday just days before a scheduled demonstration. According to Sobol's lawyer, she was accused of planning an illegal protest to demand Navalny's release. Navalny was arrested this week after returning from Germany, where he was treated for novichok poisoning.

Suspected militants killed during operation in Chechnya

At least six suspected militants have been killed in clashes with the security forces in Chechnya. The regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, has claimed that the clashes happened in Katar-Yurt. He said that the operation targeted the last militia in the region. The Russian government in Moscow praised the operation and congratulated Kadyrov. Kadyrov claimed that among the fatalities is Aslan Byutukayev, a militant accused of links to a suicide attack at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport back in 2011. At least 37 people died in the incident.

Covid-19 death toll increases by almost 600

The death toll for Covid-19 in Russia has reportedly increased by almost 600 in the last 24 hours. The latest daily increase of 597 has taken the total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths reported in the country up to 67,220. An additional 21,152 new cases of infection have also been diagnosed, bringing the national caseload to over 3.63 million as of Wednesday 20 January.

Several feared trapped after avalanche in Dombai

At least a dozen people are feared trapped following an avalanche near the Georgian border. TASS reported that the incident happened in the Karachay-Cherkessia region in southern Russia. According to officials, the avalanche hit an area around Dombai on Mount Mussa-Achitara. Reports indicate that several people were on a ski trail when the avalanche hit on Monday afternoon.

High Covid-19 alert extended in Oryol

A state of high alert which issued due to high number of Covid-19 in the Oryol region has been extended amid the continued reporting of new cases of infection. The alert will now remain in place until the end of next month. This means that additional public health measures will stay in effect until 28 February, requiring all citizens to wear masks and gloves in public places. 

Alexei Navalny detained soon after landing in Moscow

Government critic Alexei Navalny has been arrested soon after landing at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport. Thousands of protesters gathered around the airport to support his return. Navalny returned to Russia on Sunday after spending several months in Germany for medical treatment. He was taken out of Russia after being targeted in a poisoning with a nerve agent in Siberia. Both the US and the EU have condemned Navalny's arrest and demanded his immediate release. Russia's prison service, FSIN, had previously warned that if Navalny returned to Russia he would be detained due to previous violations of his probation linked to charges of embezzlement.

Prison service says that Navalny will be arrested once returning to Russia

The Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) has said that government critic Alexei Navalny will face immediate arrest once he returns to Russia. Navalny is currently in Germany where he underwent treatment for poisoning. Reports indicate that he was exposed to the Novichok agent in Siberia. Navalny said that he is planning to return to Russia this weekend and accused the government of attempting to coerce him to stay in Germany with threats of detention. The arrest order is related to a 2014 conviction he received for allegations of embezzlement and money laundering.

Two killed in Moscow stabbing

Two people have died following a stabbing incident in the capital, Moscow. The stabbing is thought to have occurred on Wednesday in the Perovo district of the city, where the two victims were found dead in a private residential property on Ulitsa Anosov. According to reports, the bodies were discovered on Thursday after someone went to the property to look for one of the victims after they failed to show up for work. A murder investigation has been launched, although no motive or suspects have been identified thus far.

Eight killed in apartment fire in Yekaterinburg

At least eight people have been killed after a fire broke out at an apartment block in the city of Yekaterinburg. A criminal investigation has been launched after the entire building was evacuated during the early hours of Tuesday morning. Building fires sporadically occur in Russia. Most cases are related to lack of maintenance and poor safety conditions, especially in connection with electrical wiring.

Alexei Navalny lays out plans to return to Russia

Alexei Navalny, a prominent government critic in Russia, has announced that he plans to return to Russia next week. He is currently in Germany, where he was airlifted after being targeted by a nerve agent back in August. Navalny said on social media that he is returning on 17 January. His return comes despite the Federal Prison Service (FSIN) requesting a judge to jail Navalny in absentia. Navalny has been known as the main challenger to President Vladimir Putin. He had been arrested several times for organising mass demonstrations in Moscow and across Russia.

Four soldiers killed in road accident near Moscow

At least four soldiers have been killed and dozens injured in a traffic accident near Moscow. Official reports show that a vehicle crashed into a military convoy along the Novorizhskoye motorway. Interfax reported that more than half of those injured were taken to the hospital. Reports indicate that the accident happened after the lorry failed to stop when encountering a traffic jam.

Borovsky nursing home fire kills seven

A fire which broke out in a nursing home in Borovsky, Tyumen Oblast, has killed at least seven people. According to reports, the fire occurred over the weekend in a nursing home on Traktovaya street. The cause of the blaze has yet to be confirmed as investigations continue. Reports indicate the nursing home may have been operating illegally, suggesting health and safety regulations may not have been adequately adhered to. 

Three killed in avalanche near Norilsk, Krasnoyarsk

At least three people have died after an avalanche hit a ski resort in the Arctic region of Krasnoyarsk. The Siberian Times reported that search efforts were launched to locate survivors near the Mount Otdelnaya in Norilsk. Among the victims is an 18-month-old baby. 

One killed as ice from a frozen waterfall collapses in Kamchatka

At least one person has been killed and three others injured after ice collapsed from a frozen waterfall in Kamchatka, located in the far east region. The incident happened during an excursion to the Vilyuchinsk waterfall, located near a volcano that shares the same name. All of the victims were airlifted to hospitals.

Russia expands travel ban against EU officials

Russia has expanded a travel ban to EU officials amid diplomatic tensions involving the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The foreign ministry has confirmed that the list will be expanded and gave no further details on either the nationality or names of the officials. Navalny was taken to Germany after he was poisoned in Siberia. Investigative journalists have alleged that members of the Russian intelligence agency FSB were behind the attack. The EU has already imposed sanctions against several Russian officials for the incident.

Putin dismisses Navalny poisoning inquiry

Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed an inquiry into poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexis Navalny, calling it a "trick". The joint media investigation claims the Russian government for poisoning Navalny - a vocal critic of Putin - earlier this year. The type of Russian Novichok nerve agent used on Navalny could only have come from a state facility - incriminating Moscow, which has continued to deny all allegations. In response, Putin has accused Navalny of receiving assistance from US secret services. 

Deadly knife attack reported in Moscow

A knife attack has reportedly left at least one person dead in the Russian capital city of Moscow. According to reports, the incident is believed to have happened overnight on Tuesday, near Pautovsky Street in the Yasenevo district in the south-west of the city. The victim has been identified as a 19-year-old Kyrgyzstani male, who was living and working in Russia as a courier. The suspect has yet to be identified as investigations continue.

President Putin's cousin launches new political party

President Vladimir Putin's first cousin has announced the creation of a new political party in Russia. Roman Putin will become the leader of the 'Russia Without Corruption' party that is expected to take part in the 2021 elections. Currently, the newly formed party has delegates in nearly a third of all regions in Russia. Roman has been known for supporting the Kremlin and for being an avid critic of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. He is a former member of the infamous Federal Security Service (FSB) and previously led the 'People Against Corruption', a party disbanded last year.

Senate pass legislation to grant lifelong immunity to former presidents

The upper house of Congress, the Federation Council, has approved legislation that would grant lifelong immunity to former presidents in Russia. With the new law, former Russian presidents will be granted immunity on most crimes, with the exception of crimes related to treason and severe offences. Another bill also proposes that former presidents could become senators for life. Both laws had previously been approved in the State Duma - the lower house of parliament. The measures are part of constitutional reforms proposed by President Vladimir Putin. Other reforms already approved include the possibility for President Putin to seek re-election in 2024 and 2030.

Several killed in fire at retirement home in Bashkiria

At least a dozen people have been killed after a fire broke out at a retirement home in southern Russia. Euronews reported that the incident happened in the village of Ishbuldino in the Bashkiria region. Several people were also taken to hospital. The Investigative Committee has said that investigations are ongoing and that the woman who runs the shelter was arrested. Fires in public buildings sporadically occur in Russia and are often linked to poor maintenance and a lack of health and safety guidelines. Bashkiria is located in the southern Ural mountains.

Covid-19 patients named online in error

Hundreds of Covid-19 patients have been named online in a mistake by Russian authorities. The government confirmed that spreadsheets containing private details of patients from Moscow were accidentally published online. Initial concerns of a possible hack have been quelled after an internal inquiry found the details were disseminated due to human error. According to reports, the published files indicate official statistics may have under-reported the true number of Covid-19 cases.

Sputnik V vaccine rolled out in Russia

Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for Covid-19 is being rolled out across the country. The vaccine was the first to be registered for emergency use back in August, despite having only been tested on a very limited number of people. The vaccine is now being offered to doctors, teachers, and social workers as part of a mass inoculation campaign ordered by President Vladimir Putin. The campaign comes as the vaccine is still undergoing trials to ensure it is safe and actually workers - resulting in many potential recipients adopting a cautious approach to vaccination. It's claimed Sputnik V offers 95 percent protection against the virus.

US expands sanctions against Nord Stream 2 pipeline

US Congress has approved sanctions against the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline after approving the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Both houses of Congress approved the NDAA that among some topics include the expansion of sanctions against the pipeline - the Turkish TurkStream pipeline will also be targeted. In October, the US government threatened sanctions against companies involved in the final parts of the project, including vessels - and services to those vessels - laying pipes in deep waters. The expanded sanctions now forbid companies of facilitating the construction of the pipeline - they now include those that provide insurance and reinsurance. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov condemned the sanctions.

Russia to start mass vaccination programme in Moscow

Russia is kicking off its mass coronavirus vaccination programmes on Saturday. Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has said that doses of the Sputnik V vaccine will start to be administered across several centres, where priorities will be given not essential workers. Reports suggest that the vaccine will be free of charge and on a voluntary basis. Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said that 100,000 people were already vaccinated in Russia. Similar to other vaccines developed in Europe and the US, the government has claimed that the Sputnik has a 95 percent efficiency.

Covid-19 death toll increases by 569

The death toll for Covid-19 in Russia has increased by 569. The latest daily figures have been released on Friday morning, bringing the country's total number of fatal cases to 42,176. An additional 27,403 new cases of infection have also been diagnosed over the last 24 -hour period, taking the overall tally to more than 2.4 million confirmed cases.

Construction site blaze kills two in Moscow

Two people have died after a fire broke out at a construction site in the capital, Moscow. The blaze reportedly broke out on Thursday morning on the third floor of a building on Durov Street. The building was closed for reconstruction and only site workers were in the building at the time. While 27 workers were safely rescued from the fire, two are confirmed to have perished. A full investigation into the cause of the fire has been launched and remains underway.

Russia reports highest daily increase in coronavirus deaths

Russia has reported a record daily increase in coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours. According to official reports, nearly 600 new coronavirus deaths were reported on Tuesday, bringing the country's death toll to more than 41,000. During the same period, more than 25,000 new cases were confirmed. Russia has so far reported more than 2.3 million coronavirus cases, one of the highest in the world. Coronavirus restrictions in Moscow will remain in place until at least mid-January 2021, while Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin urged regional leaders to adopt new measures.

Ice storm triggers power outages in Primorye

Thousands of people faced power shortages after an ice storm hit the Far East region of Primorye. The energy ministry said that nearly 10,000 people were affected in the cities of Primorye and Vladivostok. Electricity and heating were down for most residents in the region. Primorye Governor Oleg Kozhemyako claimed that this is one of the worst storms to hit the region in decades.

Criminal probe and raids launched against Jehovah's Witnesses

A criminal probe has been opened into the Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) in a fresh crackdown against the US-based religious group. Investigations led to raids across more than 20 regions in Russia after JW resumed its operations in the country. The group was banned in Russia in 2017 after being designated an extremist organisation. Rights groups warned that hundreds of JW members are currently detained in Russia as part of multiple criminal cases. Russia's crackdown on JW has led to US sanctions against two members of the Russian Investigative Committee.

Police rescue seven-year-old kidnapped near Moscow

A seven-year-old boy has been rescued after being kidnapped in the town of Gorki, near Moscow. INTERPOL confirmed that the boy went missing after failing to return home from school. The kidnapping happened in early-November and was uncovered after officers in the US were investigating a darknet user. A special police unit raided the home and rescued the victim.

Russia reports daily increase of 25,000 coronavirus cases

Russia has reported more than 25,000 new coronavirus cases in less than 24 hours. This is the highest daily increase reported in the country and the first time that it has surpassed the 25-thousand-case mark in a single day. During the same period, more than 300 people died after testing positive for coronavirus. Russia has reported more than 2.1 million cases and 36,000 deaths so far.

Over 200 evacuated following Udmurtia kindergarten fire

More than 200 people have been evacuated after a fire broke out at a kindergarten in the Izhevsk area of Udmurtia. According to reports, the evacuations were taken as a precautionary measure to clear all residential and business buildings within the immediate vicinity of the kindergarten on Kolmogorova Street. The fire broke out on Monday morning at around 10:00 local time. No casualties have been reported as firefighters respond to the scene. The cause of the blaze has yet to be determined.

Protesters block highway in Dagestan

A group of protesters have blocked the federal highway in the Makhachkala area of Dagestan. The protesters are local residents of Krivaya Balka, who have been complaining to the authorities over a lack of electricity in the area. The demonstration was organised in response to the perceived inaction of local authorities, after residents went three days without power. Some travel disruption was reported. Further protests remain possible.

Enhanced coronavirus curbs imposed in Moscow

Coronavirus restrictions have been imposed in Moscow to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced that for the next two months, all non-essential shops and businesses will remain shut between 23:00 and 06:00. Moscow-based universities and colleges will have their classes moved to online while occupancy limitation will be imposed on theatres and cinemas. Moscow remains the coronavirus epicentre in Russia. Coronavirus cases in Russia have been increasing since early-October. So far, the country has reported more than 1.8m cases and 31,000 deaths.

Building fire kills five in Tatarstan

Five people have been confirmed dead following a building fire in the Kazan area of Tatarstan. The blaze broke out during the early hours of Tuesday morning, at around 03:55 local time, in a two-storey building on Admiralteyskaya Street. No other casualties have been reported and the cause of the fire remains unclear at this time, as an investigation gets underway.

Three soldiers killed in a shooting at military base in Voronezh

Three soldiers have been killed after a fellow military officer opened fire at a base in Voronezh, southern Russia. Officials confirmed that the shooter was arrested and that a fourth soldier was injured. Russian media reported that it is still unclear what the motives behind the shooting are.

PM Mishustin orders cabinet reshuffle

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has announced a cabinet reshuffle in a bid to revamp the struggling Russian economy. Among the changes include the nomination of Energy Minister Alexander Novak as the country's new deputy prime minister. Novak will be replaced by Nikolai Shilginov, the head of the state-owned company RusHydro. Novak becomes deputy PM after President Vladimir Putin changed legislation to add an additional post for him. Changes in the government also impacted the ministries of transport, natural resources and housing.

Russia denies UK tabloid report on President Putin's health

The government has denied a report from a UK-based newspaper that President Vladimir Putin would step down from office earlier due to health complications. Government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the report by The Sun is "complete nonsense" and added that the president is "in excellent health". The report claims that "observers who studied recent footage of Putin noted his legs appeared to be in constant motion and he looked to be in pain while clutching the armrest of a chair." President Putin's term is ending in 2024 but he can be re-elected for another six-year term.

Lawmakers submit bill to expand immunity to former presidents

Lawmakers have submitted a bill on Thursday that could shield former presidents from prosecution. The bill is part of a set of constitutional reforms that started to be drafted earlier this year. Although former presidents already enjoy immunity from prosecution for crimes committed while they are in office, the new bill would expand this immunity for crimes committed beyond their term. Another bill was recently passed that would allow former presidents to have a permanent seat in the Senate.

Edward Snowden applies for Russian citizenship

Edward Snowden is applying for Russian citizenship ahead of the birth of his son. Snowden, a former contractor of the US National Security Agency (NSA) and accused of leaking confidential files, confirmed on social media that his wife is also submitting the application to become a dual national. He said: "After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our son. That's why, in this era of pandemics and closed borders, we're applying for dual US-Russian citizenship." Snowden currently has permanent residency in Russia, which has no extradition agreements with the US. Snowden is currently wanted for espionage in the US.

Prominent oligarch killed with a crossbow near Moscow

A prominent Russian oligarch has been killed in a sauna near Moscow. Reports indicate that Vladimir Marugov was killed when masked criminals targeted him with a crossbow. He was accompanied by his wife who managed to escape the scene and call the police. The incident happened in the victim's estate near Moscow. Marugov was the owner of meat giants Ozyorsky and Meat Empire. It is still unclear what the motives behind the attack are. The criminal's vehicle was recovered near the town of Istra, an affluent area located north-western of Moscow.

Police kill knife wielding teenager in Kukmor, Tatarstan

Police have gunned down a teenager in the central region of Tatarstan following a suspected knife attack. TASS reported that a 16-year-old was killed after stabbing a police officer at least three times in the town of Kukmor. Authorities are still investigating the incident, while the motivations behind it are still unclear. Local authorities are treating the incident as a terrorist attack.

Over 350 new Covid-19 deaths recorded

More than 350 new Covid-19 deaths have been recorded in Russia over the last 24 hours. According to reports, the country's death toll has now risen to 27,656 following the latest daily jump of 355. An additional 12,283 new cases of infection have also been diagnosed within the last 24 hours, taking the national caseload to almost 1.6 million. Of these, just over 1.2 million have already recovered, leaving around 372,000 active cases.

Parliament approve bill to prioritise national law

Parliament has approved legislation that would give priority to national law against international treaties. Lawmakers in the State Duma voted in favour of the bill after three readings. President Vladimir Putin has championed the bill, which would mainly dictate that laws from international bodies contradicting Russian legislation will not stand. The bill will now move to the upper house of parliament, where it is expected to pass. The new law is part of a major political overhaul proposed by President Putin earlier this year. Critics claim that the law could fuel rights violations in Russia.

Tighter coronavirus restrictions brought in

Tighter coronavirus restrictions are being brought in by Russia in an attempt to stem the latest surge in Covid-19 cases there. From Wednesday, face masks will be mandatory in all public areas across Russia, including on public transport. Regional government have also been advised to close bars and restaurants between the hours of 23:00 and 06:00 local time. The new measures come after Russia reported a daily record of 320 new virus-related deaths on Tuesday.

Two killed in Chechnya shootout

At least two people have been killed in a recent police shootout which occurred in Chechnya on Tuesday. The incident allegedly took place in a cafe in the Achkhoy-Martan area, leaving two dead and three injured. Reports indicate the deceased have been identified as a regional police officer and a civilian. The cause behind the shootout remains unclear as further details concerning the incident have yet to be confirmed.

Covid-19 death toll increases by 320

The death toll for Covid-19 has reportedly increased by 320 following the country's latest daily increase to the total number of virus-related fatalities, putting the overall figure at 36,589 confirmed deaths. Meanwhile, an additional 16,550 new cases of infection have also been diagnosed in the last 24 hours, bringing the national caseload close to 1.55 million. Russia has the world's fourth-highest total number of cases, but continues to maintain a relatively low death rate in comparison to other badly hit countries.

FSB prevents terrorist attack in Moscow

The Federal Security Service (FSB) has said that it prevented a terrorist attack in Moscow. Reuters reported that a foreign national has been arrested for preparing a bombing. The FSB said that the suspect is associated with an international terror organisation. “The offender planned to travel to a combat zone in the Middle East to participate in the activities of terrorist groups". The latest major incident to be reported in Moscow was against the FSB HQ back in December.

US expands sanctions against Nord Stream 2 pipeline

The US State Department has widened its sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. It said: "The Department of State and the Department of the Treasury are prepared to use the full range of sanctions authorities to halt construction of these pipelines". The sanctions, laid out under the Protecting Europe's Energy Security Act (PEESA), will forbid companies from engaging in the final stages of the project. The extension of the sanctions will target vessels - and services to those vessels - laying pipes in deep waters. The US has been strongly opposed to Nord Stream 2 over claims that the project will increase Europe's energy dependence on Russia. It is estimated that Nord Stream 2 will be able to transport up to 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year. 

Government rules out lockdown despite rise in coronavirus cases

The Russian government has said that no lockdown measures are planned despite a record-high increase in coronavirus deaths and cases. The government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that health guidelines and social distancing rules will be encouraged at the local level instead. In the last 24 hours, Russia has reported more than 15,700 cases and 317 deaths. In total, the country is nearing 1.5m cases while the number coronavirus-related deaths near 25,000.

Two killed in helicopter crash

Two people have died after their helicopter crashed in the Bobrovsky district of Vologda Oblast. According to reports, the accident occurred on Tuesday, when the private helicopter crashed into the Sukhona River. Both people aboard the helicopter at the time of the accident have been confirmed dead. An investigation has been launched into the cause of the crash.

US Justice Department charges six GRU officers for global cyberattacks

Six Russian military intelligence officers have been charged in the US for their alleged involvement in global cyberattacks. The US Justice Department announced the charges on Monday against members of the GRU, the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate. They are accused of targeting the presidential election in France, US businesses and the Winter Olympics in South Korea. John Demers, the US assistant AG for national security, said that those charged are members of the Military Unit 74455, the same that is accused of targeting the 2016 US presidential election.

Russian hackers accused of targeting Tokyo Olympics

Russian hackers have been accused of targeting this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo. It's alleged that the hackers had targeted the Games with the intention of disrupting them. The UK Foreign Office claims that Russia's GRU military intelligence carried out "cyber reconnaissance" against officials and organisations involved. According to reports, the alleged attacks took place before the Games were postponed until 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The nature or extent of the attacks has not been specified in detail. The US Department of Justice has also announced charges against six Russian GRU officers for alleged cyberattacks serving the "strategic benefit of Russia" by seeking to disrupt the 2018 Winter Olympics, as well as the 2017 French presidential election, and Ukraine's national power grid.

President Putin proposes one year extension of arms control deal with the US

President Vladimir Putin has proposed an extension to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Signed back in 2011 during the Obama administration, the agreement mainly predicts the reduction of nuclear warheads and missiles in strategic areas. Putin requested the extension for at least one year without any additional conditions or concessions attached - Russia initially sought the full five-year extension of the treaty. Russia denied remarks from the US special envoy for arms control, Marshal Billingslea, who said that "there is an agreement in principle".

Russia withdraws from MH17 investigations

Russia has announced its withdrawal from the talks on the downing of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight in eastern Ukraine. Russia, Australia and the Netherlands have taken part in the probe that linked four Russians to the incident. The foreign ministry said: "Australia and the Netherlands have obviously not tried to understand what really happened in summer 2014, but rather just wanted to secure a confession from Russia and compensation for the victims' relatives". Preliminary investigations concluded that the suspects are accused of liaising with Russia to acquire heavy weaponry, such as the Buk surface-to-air launcher used to fire the Russian-made 9M38 missile.

Covid-19 cases increase by 15,150

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Russia has risen to almost 1.37 million following the latest daily increase of 15,150 new cases of infection. The country's coronavirus death toll has also risen to over 23,700 after an additional 232 virus-related deaths were registered over the last 24 hours. Russia currently has the world's fourth-highest caseload after the US, India, and Brazil.

Six sanctioned for links to Navalny's poisoning

EU countries have approved sanctions against six people for their alleged involvement in the poisoning incident against the opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Diplomatic sources told AFP that the proposal was put forward by Germany and France after blaming Russia for the poisoning. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the sanctions will face retaliation. Navalny was poisoned last month in Siberia and taken a hospital in Germany. Most recently, the UN's Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) concluded that the nerve agent novichok was used.

Government approves second coronavirus vaccine

A second coronavirus vaccine has been granted regulatory approval by the Russian government. President Vladimir Putin told state media: "We need to increase the production of our first and now our second vaccine, first of all, we should supply the domestic market". The EpiVacCorona is being developed by the Siberian-based Vector State Virology and Biotech Center. The vaccine was registered before completing its phase three trials. In August, Russia approved the Sputnik V. Pharma companies and health experts in the US and Europe have been sceptical over the speedy development of the Russian vaccines, where they fear that Russia may be bypassing critical tests.

Three police offices gunned down in Nizhny Novgorod

Three police officers have been shot dead after a gunman opened fire at a bus stop in Nizhny Novgorod, central Russia. Euronews reported that the incident happened in the town of Bolshiye Orly on Monday. Police confirmed that the main suspect, an 18-year-old man, was later found dead. Three women were also injured in the incident, the motives behind which are still being investigated.

Police officers killed in clashes with militants in Grozny

Two police officers were shot dead during clashes with suspected militants in Chechnya, southern Russia. Chechnya's President Ramzan Kadyrov claimed that the incident happened when the police surrounded militants in the region's capital, Grozny. Kadyrov said that four suspects were killed. Kadyrov rules Chechnya for nearly a decade and is a close ally of President Vladimir Putin. Separatist movements in Chechnya are often claimed to be behind terrorist incidents in the autonomous republic. The government claims that it has thwarted up to 60 incidents this year.

Moscow hosts Armenia-Azerbaijan talks

The foreign ministers from Armenia and Azerbaijan, which are currently warring over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, are meeting in Moscow for talks in a significant step towards easing tensions in the region. The meeting is the first high-level dialogue to be held between the two neighbours since clashes broke out nearly two weeks ago. Russia is one of three chairing countries of the Organizationfor Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group, which was established in 1995 to encourage a negotiated peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Investigations launched on potential environmental disaster in Kamchatka

Russian authorities have launched an investigation into a major environmental disaster in the far-east region of Kamchatka. Reports indicate that hundreds of animals have died due to water pollution. Kamchatka Governor Vladimir Solodov said that the spill of unknown toxic substances could be behind it, with some tests showing an increased level of phenol and petroleum products.

Fire at ammo depot triggers evacuations in Ryazan

Several villages in the central region of Ryazan have been evacuated after a fire broke out at an ammunition depot. Reuters reported that more than 10 villages were immediately evacuated on Wednesday. Reports from TASS showed that the blaze first started in a nearby field and spread towards the building in Zheltukhino. Initially, no casualties were reported. The main highway in the area, the R-22, has been temporarily shut as the emergency services rushed to the scene.

Over 200 new Covid-19 deaths reported

More than 200 new Covid-19 deaths have been registered in Russia over the last 24 hours, bringing the national death toll there up to almost 21,900 as of Wednesday 07 October. An additional 11,115 new cases of infection have also been reported, putting the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases at over 1.2 million - the fourth-highest caseload worldwide, after the US, India, and Brazil.

Two suspected spies detained in Russia

Two suspected spies have allegedly been detained in Pskov and Smolensk. It's claimed the two men - brothers - were spying on Russia on behalf of the Estonian security services. One of the accused is understood to be a Russian military officer. The pairs' connections to Estonian have not been made apparent as of yet.

Schools in Moscow to implement remote learning

Schools in Moscow are set to implement remote learning due to an increase in coronavirus cases in the capital. Interfax reported that the decision has also been reached in the regions of Ulyanovsk and Sakhalin. Like other European countries, coronavirus cases in Russia have been on the rise, especially in Moscow, St Petersburg, Rostov and Nizhny Novgorod. On Sunday, the country reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number to more than 1.2 million.

Journalist dies after setting herself on fire in Nizhny Novgorod

A journalist has died after she set herself on fire in front of the regional interior ministry building in Nizhny Novgorod. Irina Slavina was the editor-in-chief of the local Koza Press. Before the incident, she posted on social media and blamed the Russian government for her decision. Reuters reported that she had previously been searched by the police due to her alleged links to the opposition Open Russia. Slavina said that her laptop and notebooks were seized. Members of the opposition lamented her death and said that she had been facing increasing pressure from the government.

Moscow offers to host Armenia-Azerbaijan peace talks

Moscow has offered to host Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan following a recent escalation in tensions. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is understood to have made the offer to both sides, stating that Russia would be willing to host talks. Russia has close ties with Azerbaijan, but also has a military alliance with Armenia. Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev has indicated talks will only be considered on their side if Armenian forces fully withdraw from the disputed territory. More than 100 deaths have been recorded since fighting broke out on Sunday, including a number of civilians.

Moscow urges Turkey to back Azerbaijan-Armenia ceasefire

Moscow has called for peace as deadly fighting continues to rage between Armenian forces and Azerbaijani troops in the disputed occupied territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. According to reports from Al Jazeera, Russia has urged Turkey, which has publicly expressed support for Azerbaijan, to back a ceasefire effort. It's thought that dozens of people have been killed and potentially hundreds more have also been wounded since the clashes broke out on Sunday as the decades-old conflict flared up again. Moscow's appeal comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for Armenia to end its "occupation" of the disputed region and withdraw troops from the region, which is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan. Armenia has accused Turkey of sending mercenaries to back Azerbaijan, although Ankara has denied this.

Over 8,000 new virus cases confirmed

More than 8,000 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Russia over the last 24 hours. According to the country's latest outbreak data, an additional 8,135 new cases of the virus were reported - bringing the national caseload to 1,159,573 as of Monday 28 September. The country's death toll has also increased to 20,385, following the latest daily increase of 61 newly registered fatalities.

Opposition leader's assets seized

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny has reportedly had his assets seized following a court order. Navalny's spokesperson stated on Friday that his bank accounts had been frozen and his flat had been seized in relation to a lawsuit which was brought against him by the Moscow Schoolchild catering company. In 2019, a court ordered Navalny to remove a video questioning the quality of the catering company's products following a food poisoning outbreak in Moscow's schools. Navalny was also ordered to pay 88 million rubles (£900,000; $1.1m) in damages for libel. Opposition supporters have widely criticised the case as an example of corruption in Russian politics, as the catering company is owned by wealthy Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin,, who is known to enjoy close working relations with Russia's political elite, including President Vladimir Putin.

Over 130 new Covid-19 deaths reported

More than 130 new Covid-19 deaths have been reported in Russia over the last 24 hours - taking the country's death toll up to 19,195. Meanwhile, almost 6,000 new cases of infection have also been confirmed, bringing the country's caseload closer to 1.1 million. While the daily increases have gradually been decreasing since June, Russia's daily figures have begun to creep back up in recent weeks - reflecting a wider resurgence in cases across Europe.

Four killed after fire breaks out at drug treatment facility

At least four people have died after a fire broke out at a drug treatment facility in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. Preliminary reports indicate that while four people have been confirmed dead, another two people have also been injured in the fire, while a total of 16 people were evacuated from the private clinic. The fire reportedly broke out overnight and has since been extinguished. The cause of the incident remains unknown.

Poisoned opposition leader to return to Russia

Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has announced that he plans to return to Russia after being poisoned last month. Navalny fell ill on a flight from Siberia in late August and after initially receiving treatment at a Russian hospital, was transferred to Berlin in Germany for treatment amid claims he had been poisoned on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin. While the Kremlin has denied involvement, tests carried out in Germany, France, and Spain proved - contrary to Russian doctors' claims - that Navalny had been poisoned with Novichok - a Russian-developed toxic nerve agent. The Kremlin has rejected the possibility of Navalny meeting with Putin after his recovery.

Poisoned opposition leader recovering in Germany

Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, is understood to be recovering following a suspected poisoning last month. Navalny is currently being treated by doctors in Berlin, Germany, after Russian doctors initially refused to transfer him and denied that he has been poisoned. Tests later confirmed Navalny was poisoned with Novichok - a highly effective Russian-developed nerve agent. Navalny's team claims he was poisoned on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin, although the Kremlin denies any involvement. The latest reports on his condition indicate he has come out of a coma and has been removed from ventilation and can leave his bed.

Kremlin party claims win in local polls

The main pro-Kremlin party in Russia, United Russia, has claimed a sweeping victory in local elections. The local polls are widely interpreted as a test of popularity and United Russia has claimed that all of it candidates were well ahead in polls and are set to win majorities in all regional legislatures. The opposition has contested these claims, citing reports of irregularities and claiming that it has won seats in Siberian cities. The disputed polls come just weeks after the suspected poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whose team had been urging Russians to vote tactically against United Russia.

Russia set to hold local elections

Russia is holding its local elections as the ruling United Russia attempts to secure a grip on local politics amid decaying levels of popularity. President Vladimir Putin has been in the spotlight after the poisoning incident involving the opposition leader Alexei Navalny. He has recently sent a team to investigate the incident alongside Geman authorities. The local elections are expected to be a prediction of next year's parliamentary vote. Russians are voting for the first time after constitutional reforms were approved in parliament, paving the way for Putin to remain in power until 2036. 

Deputy energy minister detained amid fraud investigation

Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Tikhonov has been arrested in Moscow as part of a fraud investigation. TASS reported that the Federal Security Service (FSB) also carried out a search at the energy ministry. Tikhonov was tasked with digital projects. In addition to Tikhonov, several other energy officials were arrested, including a director of the state-owned Russian Energy Agency. Reports suggest that the investigation targeted fraud in a state-backed subsidy programme.

Bomb threat reported at Khabarovsk airport

A bomb threat has been reported at Khabarovsk Novy Airport (KHV), prompting the evacuation of hundreds of people on Wednesday. Some 500 people were escorted away from the airport after an anonymous bomb threat concerning the transport hub was allegedly emailed to the local authorities. Security teams have responded to the scene and have since confirmed that no threat has been established. Meanwhile, flight operations have been impacted, with a number of flights delayed over the incident.

Almost 5,000 new Covid-19 cases reported

Almost 5,000 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed within the last 24 hours in Russia. According to reports, the latest daily increase of 4,995 new cases of infection has taken the country's nationwide tally to 1,009,995 as of Thursday 03 September. On Tuesday, Russia became the fourth country in the world to record more than a million confirmed coronavirus cases. The country's death toll has also increased by 114, bringing the total to 17,528 virus-related fatalities.

Opposition leader poisoned with Novichok

Doctors in Germany have confirmed that Russia's main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, was poisoned with Novichok nerve agent. The German government has confirmed the discovery, after Russian doctors had previously suggested Navalny's sudden illness and coma were not linked to poisoning. Navalny's supporters claim he was poisoned on the orders of President Vladimir Putin and accused Moscow of a cover-up, when Russian doctors initially refused to let Navalny be transported to Germany for treatment. The Kremlin has dismissed the allegations. According to reports, toxicology tests showed "unequivocal proof" of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group. Novichok is a Russian-developed nerve agent and was previously used in the 2018 Salisbury poisoning of exiled former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the UK. 

Coronavirus cases in Russia hit one million

Coronavirus cases in Russia have surpassed one million after nearly 5,000 new cases were confirmed in the last 24 hours. Authorities have confirmed that more than 17,000 people died after testing positive for the virus. Russia has already lifted a number of stringent coronavirus measures in the country despite the number of cases continuing to increase. As with other European countries, school classes have also resumed in Russia. The government has recently announced the approval of a coronavirus vaccine that has already started advanced trials.

Russia launches massive military drill in the Bering Sea

Russia has conducted a major military exercise in the Bering Sea. In a statement, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov said: "We are holding such massive drills there for the first time ever". He added that more than 50 warships and 40 aircraft were taking part in the exercise, which comes as Russia attempts to increase its presence in the Arctic. Despite the exercises being carried out near Alaska, the US acknowledged them and confirmed that they are taking part in international waters.

Opposition supporters hold rally in Moscow

Supporters of opposition leader Alexei Navalny have staged a rally outside the FSB building in Moscow. Navalny - a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin - is currently in a coma in hospital following a suspected poisoning incident. On Thursday, Navalny's supporters held demonstrations in a number of major cities, including Moscow, St Petersburg, Murmansk, Novosibirsk, and Perm. According to reports, the police are understood to have made several arrests in connection with the events. Activists in Germany had arranged for Navalny to be relocated to Berlin for treatment; however, Russian doctors are now saying he is too ill to be moved and that legal questions also needed to be resolved first. Meanwhile, Navalny's team fear it is "deadly" for him to remain in the state hospital and Navalny's wife, Yulia Navalnaya, also told reporters she suspected Russian doctors were seeking to cover up her husband's poisoning.

Opposition leader in hospital with suspected poisoning

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny is reported to be in hospital with suspected poisoning after allegedly falling ill during a flight. According to reports, the plane was en route from Tomsk to Moscow and made an emergency landing in Omsk, where Navalny is now being treated. Navalny has been a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin and a staunch anti-corruption campaigner. Preliminary investigations suggest a poisonous substance may have been mixed into his tea, with doctors suggesting hot liquid could have allowed a toxic agent to be absorbed into the bloodstream faster. The latest updates indicate Navalny is being treated in intensive care, where he's said to be in a coma, on a ventilator. Toxicology tests have been delayed and it has yet to be established precisely what substance may have poisoned Navalny. A previous attempt to poison Navalny is thought to have been made whilst he was serving a 30-day jail sentence in July 2019. At the time, hospital doctors diagnosed him with 'contact dermatitis'; however, Navalny's own doctor suggested he had been exposed to a toxic agent.

Dutch diplomat summoned over espionage allegations in the Netherlands

The foreign ministry has summoned a Dutch diplomat in Russia after an alleged spying device was found on the vehicle of a Russian military attache in the Netherlands. In a statement, the ministry said: "These unfriendly actions further complicate the already difficult relations between the two countries". No comments from the Dutch government have been made. Diplomatic tensions between Russia and the Netherlands have been high since the downing of the MH17 flight in eastern Ukraine.

Covid-19 total increases by over 4,700

The total number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in Russia has risen to 932,493 as of Tuesday 18 August. The increase comes after an additional 4,748 cases of infection were confirmed over the last 24 hours. The country's death toll has also risen by 132, taking the total number of people who have died after contracting the virus to 15,872.

Coronavirus death toll up by 55

The total number of people who have died from Covid-19 in Russia has increased to 15,740. The figure rose on Monday following the latest daily increase of 55 new virus-related fatalities. The national total number of confirmed cases of infection has also gone up to 927,745, after an additional 4,892 coronavirus cases were diagnosed over the last 24 hours.

Covid-19 death toll rises by 114

The death toll for Covid-19 has risen by 114, taking the total number of people who have died after contracting the virus up to almost 15,500. According to the latest figures, an additional 5,065 new cases of infection have also been diagnosed over the last 24 hours, bringing the national tally up to 912,823.

Coronavirus case figures rise by over 5,000

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases recorded in Russia has risen by over 5,000 in the last 24 hours. The latest daily increase of 5,057 new cases of infection has taken the country's Covid-19 tally up to 907,758. An additional 124 virus-related deaths have also been registered, bringing the coronavirus death toll up to 15,384. Based on recent figures, Russia could surpass one million cases by the end of the month.

President Putin announces registration of Covid-19 vaccine

President Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia has registered the world's first Covid-19 vaccine. He said in a televised government meeting: “As far as I know, this morning the first vaccine against the novel coronavirus infection in the world was registered". The vaccine is being developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute and the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Russia is one of the most affected countries by the coronavirus, with 900,000 cases confirmed. The vaccine is registered amid scepticism from other laboratories over the speed of its development.

Coronavirus deaths in Russia hit 15,000

Coronavirus deaths in Russia have reached 15,000 as the total number of cases nears 900,000. Official data shows that Russia confirmed more than 5,000 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. Cases were confirmed across 83 regions. Earlier this month, Russia announced that health authorities are preparing plans to start a mass vaccination campaign as early as October.

Two terror suspects killed in Ingushetia

Two suspected terrorists have allegedly been killed in a counter-terrorist operation in Ingushetia. Reports indicate the operation was conducted by the Russian security forces in the last 24 hours, targeting suspected terrorists in the Nazran and Malgobek areas. A third suspect was also detained during the operation. It's claimed the suspects are believed to have been plotting terrorist attacks.

Coronavirus death toll rises

The death toll for covid-19 in Russia has risen by 119, taking the new total to 14,725 confirmed fatalities. An additional 5,241 new cases of infection have also been reported over the last 24 hours, bringing the country's national tally to 877,135 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Coronavirus total increases by over 5,000

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Russia has risen by over 5,000. As of Thursday 06 August, the national tally for confirmed covid-19 cases now stands at 871,894, following the latest daily increase of 5,267 new cases of infection. The country's covid-19 death toll has also gone to 14,606, after 116 new virus-related deaths were registered over the past 24 hours.

Coronavirus death toll rises by 139

The total number of people who have died after contracting covid-19 in Russia has risen to 14,490, following the latest daily increase of 139 new virus-related fatalities. The country's caseload has also increased to 866,627 after an additional 5,204 new cases of infection were reported over the last 24 hours.

Over 140 new Covid-19 deaths reported

Russia's coronavirus death toll has risen to 14,351 following the latest daily increase of 144 new virus-related fatalities. The country's total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has also gone up to 861,423, after an additional 5,159 new cases of infection were diagnosed over the last 24 hours. According to official data, over 661,000 Covid-19 patients have recovered in Russia, leaving around 185,600 cases still active.

Several killed in road accident in Belogorsk, Crimea

At least nine people have been killed after a minibus crashed near the Crimean town of Belogorsk. According to the local authorities, the bus was driving from the Russian city of Krasnodar when it crashed in the early hours of Friday morning. Russian media reported that the accident happened on the Tavrida roadway. Initial criminal investigations were launched over allegations that the driver fell asleep at the wheel. Crimea was annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014.

Hypersonic nuclear weapons to be introduced on Navy's fleet

President Vladimir Putin has said that the ministry of defence is in its final stages of testing the hypersonic nuclear strike weapons and underwater nuclear drones. They weapons include the Poseidon nuclear drone and the Zircon cruise missile. The announcement was made at a naval parade in St Petersburg. He said: “The widespread deployment of advanced digital technologies that have no equals in the world, including hypersonic strike systems and underwater drones, will give the fleet unique advantages and increased combat capabilities."

Editors to launch rival newspaper after accusing boss of media censorship

Senior editors of a prominent business newspaper have announced plans to launch a rival newspaper after allegations of censorship. Several members of the Vedomosti resigned last week after accusing their editor-in-chief Andre Shmarov of pushing a pro-government agenda. Reuters reported that several former Vedomosti employees will launch an online news outlet named VTimes. Shmarov denied any wrongdoing and dismissed links to the government. Independent media in Russia face a number of challenges when compared with state-backed news outlets. Reporters Without Borders consider Russia's press freedom to be among the lowest in Europe.

FSB operation targets suspect planning armed attack in Moscow

The Federal Security Services (FSB) claims to have prevented a militant attack in Moscow. Local media has reported that a man was killed during an operation in the outskirts of the capital. FSB said that the suspect was planning a mass shooting in a crowded area. State media showed the body of the suspect lying down alongside three grenades and an assault rifle. FSB sporadically launch counter-terrorism operations in Moscow. In recent months, a number of people originally from Central Asia were detained in Russia for alleged links to militant groups in Syria and Iraq.

Fracas breaks out between Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Moscow

Thirteen arrests have been made in Moscow, after a fracas broke out between two groups of Armenians and Azerbaijanis on Thursday. The violence reportedly unfolded during the early hours, on Lyublinskaya Ulitsa and the adjoining Ulitsa Nizhniye Polya . It's been reported that a number of Azerbaijanis attacked a number of cars with Armenian license plates, and physically assaulted the drivers of the vehicles. The incident is likely to have been motivated by recent heightened tensions between the two neighbouring countries, following recent deadly cross-border clashes. 

Over 5,800 new Covid-19 cases reported

More than 5,800 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in Russia over the last 24 hours. The latest daily increase of 5,848 has taken the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Russia up to 795,038. The country's death toll has also risen by 147, increasing the total number of people who have died from the virus to 12,892. While Russia has the world's fourth-highest caseload, it's death rate has remained relatively low.

President Putin nominates new governor amid protests in Khabarovsk

President Vladimir Putin has nominated a new governor for the eastern province of Khabarovsk, which has been facing widespread protests. Demonstrations became frequent after the province's former governor Sergei Furgal was arrested on suspicion of murder. Furgal is being replaced by Mikhail Degtyaryov, who is also a member of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR). Degtyaryov is expected to act as caretaker governor until September 2021, when a new vote is scheduled to take place. Critics claim that Furgal's arrest is politically motivated. He is accused of orchestrating the murder of two businessmen back in the early-2000s. He is detained in Moscow.

Over 5,800 new Covid-19 cases reported

More than 5,800 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Russia over the last 24 hours. The new national total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases now stands at 783,328, following today's daily increase of 5,842 new cases of infection. The country's death toll has also risen to 12,580, after 153 new virus-related fatalities were registered on Tuesday.

Chechenya's Ramzan Kadyrov hit with US sanctions

Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov has been the target of US sanctions after he was accused of violating human rights. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the sanctions on Monday. He claimed that Kadyrov has been using coronavirus measures as a pretext to engage in human rights violations. Kadyrov is a close ally to President Vladimir Putin. He has been accused of leading a repressive government in the autonomous region, especially against homosexuals. The sanctions also target his wife, Medni Kadyrova, and his two daughters, Aishat and Karina.

Covid-19 death toll up by 85

The death toll for covid-19 in Russia has risen by 85 following the latest daily increase. The national total number of people who have died after contracting the virus now stands at 12,427. Over the last 24 hours, an additional 5,940 new cases of infection have also been diagnosed, taking the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases up to 777,486. Russia currently has the world's fourth-highest total number of cases after the US, Brazil, and India. 

Lawmakers analyse bill to grant Russians free land in the Arctic

Lawmakers are analysing legislation that will allow Russian nationals to be granted plots of land in the Arctic. In a move to push Russian presence in the mineral-rich region, people would be granted land spanning up to one hectare to build homes and establish businesses in the region. The bill is championed by the natural resources ministry. Parliament still has to vote on the bill while President Vladimir Putin has to sign it into law. Russia's Arctic is largely uninhabited apart from the cities of Murmansk, Noriskl and Arkhangelsk.

Covid-19 cases near 760,000

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases reported in Russia is close to 760,000 following the latest daily increase of 6,406 new cases of infection. The new national total now stands at  759,203, while some 186 new virus-related fatalities have also been registered over the last 24 hours, increasing the death toll to 12,123. According to Russia's official data on the outbreak there, it's believed the country went through its peak in May, with daily cases steadily falling since then. However, the rate of decline has been slow and daily figures have continued to be higher than most other countries throughout June and July.

UK claims Russians sought to interfere in 2019 election

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has stated that the British government believes that attempts by Russian to interfere in the 2019 UK general election were probable. Raab said that it was almost certain Russians had sought to interfere in the election by leaking documents on UK-US trade discussions, which emerged online during the 2019 election campaign and were ultimately used by the Labour Party. At the time, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the leaked documents proved the Conservatives planned to include the NHS in a future trade agreement - something the government denied. In response to the claims, a government-led inquiry with the National Cyber Security Centre was launched and found that the documents had been illicitly acquired and disseminated on Reddit - a forum website. Reddit then confirmed the upload had originated from Russia and suspended 61 accounts which showed a "pattern of coordination". A separate report into alleged Russian interference, by the Intelligence and Security Committee, is due to be published next week.

Hacking group accused of cyber attacks on Covid-19 vaccine researchers

Russian state-sponsored hackers have allegedly targeted Covid-19 vaccine researchers. It's claimed that attacks have targeted British, American, and Canadian organisations involved in vaccine development for Covid-19 amid the current pandemic. The UK's National Cyber Security Centre stated on Thursday that they believed drug companies and research groups were being targeted by a group known as APT29 - thought to be part of the Kremlin's intelligence services. It's assumed the attacks were carried out with the intention of stealing medical research; however, it remains unclear as to whether or not they attained this goal. British officials have stressed that no vaccine research had been compromised as a result of the cyber attacks. Similar attacks have also been reported in the US and Canada.

Russia reopens borders for international travellers

Travellers heading to Russia will be required to provide a negative coronavirus test once they arrive in the country. As Russia reopens its borders for international travel, passengers will be required to either carry out a PCR test or an lgG antibodies test on arrival. If passengers fail to present the document, they will be required to take the test within 72 hours. People that test negative or present a negative test will no longer be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Russia has already approved travel to some countries that have a low rate of coronavirus infections.

Over 6,000 new Covid-19 cases reported

More than 6,000 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Russia. The national total for confirmed covid-19 cases now stands at over 746,000, following a latest daily increase of 6,422 newly diagnosed cases. The country's death toll has also risen by 156, taking the total number of people who have died after contracting the virus in Russia to 11,770. Russia currently has the world's fourth-highest total number of cases, but official figures continue to report a surprisingly low death rate.

State of emergency declared after fuel leak in Krasnoyarsk

A state of emergency has been declared in the northern region of Krasnoyarsk following a massive oil spill. Local authorities in the district of Taimyr said that the move comes after 44 tonnes of aviation fuel leaked into a lake. Reports indicate that the pipeline is owned by Nornickel. The area is located in the Arctic Circle. The spill comes just months after another Nornickel structure was involved in a leak in Norilsk. In May, 200,000 tonnes of diesel leaked from a thermal power plant.

Far east protest over Khabarovsk governor's arrest

Tens of thousands of people have attended protest in far east Russia over the recent arrest of Khabarovsk governor Sergei Furgal, who was detained last week after being accused of ordering the killing of several businessmen. The crimes Furgal is accused of date back 15 years and are allegedly politically-motivated. The accusations come two years after Furgal defeated the local candidate for President Putin's United Russia Party. Furgal's victory was seen as a blow to the ruling party's grip on power in the region. His arrest comes amid fears of a crackdown on opposition following last week's vote to approve constitutional reforms, which allow Putin to seek two more terms in office. It's estimated anywhere between 5,000 to 40,000 were in attendance at the rally, which apparently lasted for nearly four hours. The protest was not authorised and was against coronavirus restrictions; however, police did not intervene.

Coronavirus death toll surpasses 11,000

The coronavirus death toll in Russia has now surpassed 11,000, after at least 174 new virus-related fatalities were registered over the past 24 hours - taking the total number of people who have died after contracting the virus to 11,017. Meanwhile, the national total number of confirmed cases has also risen to almost 714,000 following a daily increase of around 6,635 on Friday. 

Khabarovsk governor detained amid murder investigation

Khabarovsk Governor Sergey Furgal has been detained for allegedly ordering multiple murders. According to investigators, Furgal orchestrated the assassination of several businessmen nearly 15 years ago. Reports indicate that the murders happened in Khabarovsk and in Amur. Four people from a criminal group were previously charged for their involvement in the murders. Furgal became the governor of the far-east region of Khabarovsk in 2018 after defeating United Russia's Vyacheslav Shport. He is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR).

Space official charged in treason probe

A Russian space official, Ivan Safronov, has been charged with treason in a probe investigating claims that he was spying for a NATO country. Safronov, an advisor to the head of the Russian space agency and former journalist, has denied the charges. Safronov used to report on military topics and Russian officials have stated that his arrest is not linked to his current job with the space agency - sparking speculation the charges may be related to his former occupation as a journalist. The latest developments in Safronov's case come a day after his friend, journalist Taisiya Bekbulatova, was arrested during a police raid on her flat. Safronov could face up to 20 years in jail if convicted.

Former journalist detained for leaking intelligence to foreign agency

A former journalist who works for the chief of the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) has been detained after they were accused of leaking intelligence to a foreign agency. Ivan Safronov was detained by members of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Moscow. The FSB claimed that Safronov carried out work for an unnamed intelligence agency of a NATO member state. Government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the arrest is not related to his work as a journalist.

Scores imposed with UK sanctions over Rights abuses

The UK has imposed sanctions on several people accused of Human Rights violations in Russia. In total, 25 Russian nationals were slapped with UK sanctions for involvement in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer killed back in 2009. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also announced sanctions against people accused of Rights violations in Saudi Arabia, Myanmar and North Korea. In 2013, the US introduced a similar set of sanctions under the Magnitsky Act. Russia's government spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that the Kremlin is planning retaliatory action against the UK.

Covid-19 death toll increases by almost 200

The coronavirus death toll in Russia has gone up by almost 200 over the last 24 hours. The new total number of confirmed covid-19 fatalities now stands at 10,494, following a daily increase of 198. An additional 6,368 new cases of infection have also been confirmed - taking the national tally to 694,230. Russia is believed to be past the peak of the outbreak there but is still recorded extremely high daily figures and currently has the world's fourth-highest total number of cases.

Over 6,600 new covid-19 cases confirmed

More than 6,600 new cases of covid-19 have been confirmed in Russia, taking the total there to over 687,000 as of Monday 06 July. Over the weekend, the national death toll for covid-19 also passed the 10,000-mark and currently sits at around 10,296, following a daily increase of 135. In terms of total number of infected cases, Russia was recently overtaken by India and now has the world's fourth-highest total.

President Putin's relative nominated to lead small political party

A relative of President Vladimir Putin, Roman Putin, has become the leader of a small political party in Russia. Roman has been nominated as the leader of the People Against Corruption, which was created back in 2014 and currently does not hold any seats in the Federal Assembly. Roman is expected to run for a seat in the lower house of parliament, while his party is set to announce candidates in the regional elections in September. Roman is the son of President Putin's cousin.

Over 170 new virus deaths reported

The covid-19 death toll in Russia has risen to 9,859 following a daily increase of 176 new deaths. The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases recorded there has also gone up by 6,718 - taking the national tally to 667,883. Russia has continued to ease lockdown measures, despite recording a high rate of infection.

Over 6,000 new virus cases reported

Over 6,000 new coronavirus cases have been reported in Russia over the past 24 hours. The national total number of confirmed covid-19 cases now stands at 661,165 following a daily increase of 6,760 on Thursday. The country's death toll has also increase to 9,683, after 147 new virus-related fatalities were registered. According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University in the US, Russia is believed to have gone through the peak of their outbreak in early-mid May; however, daily figures still remain very high.

Over 200 new covid-19 deaths recorded

More than 200 new covid-19 deaths have been reported in Russia over the last 24 hours. The new death toll now stands at 9,536 following a daily increase of 216 virus-related deaths on Wednesday. An additional 6,556 new cases of infection have also been registered - taking the overall total number of confirmed coronavirus cases recorded nationally up to 654,405.

EU extends sanctions against Russia

The European Council has extended a set of financial sanctions imposed against Russia. Previous sanctions were imposed in the aftermath of the 2014 Crimean annexation and accusations that Russia is a not committed to the guidelines of the Minsk Agreement. The sanctions will remain in place until 31 January. The limitations imposed on Russia include limiting access to EU capital markets.

Heatwave triggers massive wildfires in Siberia

Wildfires in Siberia have significantly expanded as the region faces a historic heatwave. According to the Russian Aerial Forest Protection Service (Avialesookhrana), the number of wildfires has increased fivefold in the past week. In total, more than 1.1m hectares of land have already been consumed, especially in the Sakha Republic. The situation has generated serious concerns over the impact of climate change in the Arctic, which, according to the World Met Organisation (WMO), is "among the fastest-warming regions in the world and is heating at twice the global average".

Covid-19 death toll rises by 154

The death toll for covid-19 in Russia has risen by 154 confirmed fatalities following the latest daily increase. The total number of confirmed virus-related deaths recorded nationally now stands at 9,320. Meanwhile, an additional 6,693 new cases of infection have also been reported over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases to 647,849. Over half of all cases have reportedly already recovered - leaving some 225,000 cases still active.

Russia denies knowledge of nuclear particles over the Baltic Sea

Russia has denied knowledge of an emergency situation involving nuclear particles over the Baltic Sea. The government spokesman, Dimitry Peskov, said on Monday: “We have an absolutely advanced radiation levels safety monitoring system and there are no emergency alarms." Reports of radiation in the region emerged after sensors in Sweden detected higher-than-usual levels. Despite the initial alert, the situation has not been considered to pose any harm to human health. 

Ninety-three new coronavirus deaths reported

At least 93 new coronavirus deaths have been reported over the last 24 hours in Russia, raising the death toll there to 9,166. Meanwhile, the national total number of confirmed cases has also risen to 641,156, after an additional 6,719 new cases of infection were diagnosed. Overall, an estimated 403,430 covid-19 cases have recovered so far, while around 228,560 cases are still considered active. 

Prominent theatre director convicted of fraud

A prominent theatre and film director in Russia has been convicted of fraud. A court in Moscow has convicted Kirill Serebrennikov for diverting the equivalent of $2m in state funds to finance a project known as Platform. Serebrennikov was first charged in 2017 over allegations of embezzlement. Critics and rights organisations claimed that the charges were fabricated and politically motivated.

Coronavirus death toll rises by 176

The death toll for coronavirus in Russia has risen by 174 as of Friday morning, taking the new total to 8.781. An additional 6,800 new cases of infection have also been diagnosed in the last 24 hours, bringing the national total number of cases to 620,794. Russia has the third-highest number of cases recorded worldwide and the 12th highest death toll. Russia's death rate still remains incredibly low in comparison to other countries with severe outbreaks.

Russian covid-19 death toll increases by 92

The Russian death toll for covid-19 has increased by 92 new fatalities - taking the new total to 8,605 confirmed virus-related deaths. The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases has also risen to almost 614,000 following a daily increase of 7,113 newly diagnosed cases. So far, at least 375,164 covid-19 cases are understood to have recovered from the virus in Russia, while some 230,000 cases are still considered active.

Russians to head to the polls for constitutional reform referendum

Russians will head to the polls to cast their ballots on significant constitutional changes in the country. The voting process will start on Thursday and will last until Wednesday, 1 July. The reforms include the potential re-election of President Vladimir Putin in the upcoming 2024 election - if he wins, he could remain in power until 2036. In total, some 200 amendments are part of constitutional reform package initially announced back in January. The referendum takes place even though the amendments were approved in March.

Coronavirus cases surpass 600,000

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases has now passed the 600,000-mark, following a daily increase of 7,176 - which takes the overall total to 606,881 cases of infection. The coronavirus death toll in Russia has also risen to a total of 8,513 confirmed virus-related fatalities. The increase comes after an additional 154 new covid-19 deaths were registered over the last 24 hours. Almost 368,900 cases have recovered in Russia, while some 230,000 remain active.

Coronavirus death toll up by 153

The death toll for the coronavirus outbreak in Russia has reached 8,359 following a daily increase of 153 new deaths on Tuesday. The total number of confirmed covid-19 cases in the country has also risen to 599,705, after an additional 7,425 new cases of infection were registered over the last 24 hours. Russia currently has the world's third-highest total number of cases, after the US (2.4m) and Brazil (1.1m). The national tally is expected to surpass the 600,000-mark by tomorrow.

Coronavirus total rises by 7,600

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Russia has risen by 7,600 over the last 24 hours. The new national total now stands at 592,280 and is expected to surpass the 600,000-mark within the next 48 hours. Russia currently has the world's third-highest total number of cases, but continues to report an usually low death rate, with only 8,206 confirmed covid-19 fatalities. The death toll recently went up by 95 following the latest daily increase. Overall, more than 344,000 patients have recovered and almost 240,000 are still being treated for virus-related symptoms.

Former Chuvashia governor dies at St Petersburg hospital

The former governor of the central region of Chuvashia, Mijail Ignatiev, has died after suffering health complications. According to officials at a hospital in St Petersburg, Ignatiev died of pneumonia and heart failure. It is still unclear if his death is linked to the coronavirus. Ignatiev was removed from his post in January by President Vladimir Putin. He was also expelled from the ruling United Russia party. Earlier this year, Ignatiev made a formal complaint against President Putin in the Russian Supreme Court. The case was still ongoing and was set to proceed later this month.

EU sanctions against Crimea and Sevastopol extended until 2021

EU sanctions against the Russian-occupied region of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol have been extended until June 2021. With the sanctions, EU members are forbidden from trading with both areas. Since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine back in 2014, the EU has imposed steep economic sanctions against the region. Separate sanctions were also imposed against Russia. Travel bans remain in place for 175 people and 44 entities until at least September 2020.

Former US marine sentenced to 16 years for espionage

A former US marine has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for espionage. Paul Whelan was arrested back in 2018 at a hotel in Moscow. He is accused of taking part in an intelligence operation, where he allegedly accessed state secrets. He said that the trial was a farce and has denied any wrongdoing. Whelan is also a British, Canadian and Irish national. The US Embassy in Moscow condemned the conviction. A spokesman said: "This secret trial in which no evidence was produced is an egregious violation of human rights and international legal norms."

Czech diplomats ordered to leave Russia

Russia's government has ordered the expulsion of two Czech diplomats amid tense diplomatic relations between both countries. In a tit-for-tat move, both officials have been given 48 hours to leave the country. Diplomatic relations between Russia and the Czech Republic escalated when two Russian diplomats were expelled from Prague due to false reports on Czech politicians. Tensions also increased when a square near the Russian Embassy in Prague was renamed after Boris Nemtsov, a known critic of President Vladimir Putin.

Over 170 new coronavirus deaths reported

Over 170 new coronavirus deaths have been reported in Russia - taking the death toll to a total of 6,532. As of Thursday morning, daily increases of 174 new deaths and 8,779 new cases of infection were confirmed. The total number of covid-19 cases reported in Russia has now surpassed the 500,000-mark, currently standing at 502,436. The country's death rate remains relatively low in comparison with other countries reporting similar number of cases - it's claimed this is down to widespread testing uncovering more mild cases, nevertheless, questions have been raised over the reliability of Russia's data. So far, around 261,150 patients have recovered in Russia, which is just over half the total number of cases. This figure is in line with other countries such as Brazil and India, but not what would be expected from a country claiming to have uncovered more mild cases.

Russian covid-19 death toll rises by 216

The death toll for coronavirus in Russia has risen by 216 over the last 24 hours. The new total now stands at 6,358 confirmed coronavirus fatalities. The total number of confirmed covid-19 cases has also risen, going up to 493,657 cases following a daily increase of 8,404 on Wednesday. According to recent data, over 252,700 coronavirus patients have reportedly recovered in Russia, while around 234,500 cases remain active.

Coronavirus death toll increases by 171

The coronavirus death toll in Russia has increased to 6,142 following the latest daily update. Tuesday's figures show an additional 171 virus-related deaths have been registered over the last 24 hours, while almost 8,600 new cases of infection have been diagnosed - taking the national total number of confirmed covid-19 cases up to 485,253. According to the most recent data coming from Russia, more than half of the country's cases have already recovered, but some 236,700 remain active. Moscow recently announced plans to begin easing lockdown measures, despite the high infection rate there.

Russia to partially reopen borders to some travellers

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has announced that Russia is set to reopen its borders to some travellers as the country eases coronavirus restrictions. PM Mishustin told state TV that those seeking medical treatment or accompanying family members in care will be allowed to enter the country. Meanwhile, in Moscow, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that most restrictions will be lifted at the end of June. Russia has some of the highest numbers of coronavirus cases in the world. So far, some 475,000 cases were confirmed in the country, including nearly 6,000 deaths.

Coronavirus death toll rises by 112

The national death toll for the coronavirus outbreak in Russia has now risen to almost 6,000. The increase comes after 112 new virus-related fatalities were registered over the last 24 hours - taking the total number of deaths up to 5,971 as of Monday morning. An additional 8,985 new cases of infection have also been reported, bringing the national total number of confirmed coronavirus cases to 476,658 - the third highest total in the world. It's feared the country could surpass the 500,000-mark by the end of the week. So far, almost half of Russia's cases have recovered, while around 340,000 cases remain active.

Russian court in Crimea sentences JW for six years

A court in the Russian-annexed region of Crimea has sentenced a Jehovah's Witness (JW) for six years in prison. According to the Crimean Human Rights Group, Artem Geramisov is the second member of the organisation to be convicted in Crimea. President Vladimir Putin has previously raised questions on the reasons behind allegations of persecution against JWs. However, the JW is an organisation banned under Russian law since 2017. The ban on the JW in Russia is often attributed to criticism from the influential Orthodox Church.

Russian coronavirus death toll rises by 144

The death toll for coronavirus in Russia has gone up to 5,528 following a daily increase of 144 new virus-related deaths. An additional 8,726 new cases of infection have also been registered over the last 24 hours - taking the national total number of confirmed coronavirus cases to 449,835. The total is expected to surpass the 450,000-mark by tomorrow. So far, almost half of Russia's total cases have recovered, with over 231,600 cases still active.

US senators to announce bill to expand sanctions on Nord Stream 2

US senators are expected to announce a bill that will expand sanctions against the Russian Nord Stream 2 project. US President Donald Trump signed legislation last year paving the way for construction of the Nord Stream 2, a major pipeline that will transport up to 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year to Europe, to be suspended. The Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Clarification Act is expected to expand those sanctions and could impact companies involved in the project, especially for insurance and reinsurance on vessels that are laying the pipes. The US government claims that the Nord Stream 2 would make Europe too reliant on Russian gas. The Nord Stream 2 will cross through Danish, Swedish, Finnish and German maritime territory.

SVO flights expected to resume in July

Operations at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) are expected to resume from July. SVO halted flights due to the coronavirus pandemic back in March. According to estimates, the airport will suffer a fall of more than 66 percent in traffic this year. In April alone, the airport had a 96-percent passenger traffic fall. SVO continues to receive some domestic and repatriation flights. In addition to airport operators, the coronavirus crisis has also affected dozens of Russian airline carriers.

State of emergency declared after major oil spill in Norilsk

A state of emergency has been declared after a major oil spill near the Siberian city of Norilsk. According to reports, more than 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil leaked from a fuel tank on Friday. President Vladimir Putin criticised local officials for only discovering the spill on the Ambarnaya River several days later. The plant belongs to a subsidiary of the nickel-producer giant Norilsk Nickel. Some have estimated that the cost to clean up the spillage could be substantial and take several years.

Covid-19 death toll rises by 169

As of Thursday morning, the Russian death toll for covid-19 has risen to 5,384 following a daily increase of 169 new deaths. The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases has also gone up, after 8,831 new cases of infection were reported over the last 24 hours - bringing the total to 441,108.  More than 231,100 covid-19 patients are currently being treated, including 2,300 serious or critical cases. Over 204,600 people have allegedly already recovered from the virus.

Over 8,500 new coronavirus cases reported

More than 8,500 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Russia on Wednesday. The latest daily increase of 8,536 takes the new national total to 432,277 - the third highest in the world after the US and Brazil. Russia's death toll has also risen by 178 to 5,215. According to reports, the capital city of Moscow remains the worst-affected area in Russia, followed by the wider Moscow region, and St Petersburg. Restrictions in Moscow were eased earlier this week, with residents allowed outdoors again as of 01 June, although regulations remain in place.

Rail services to Murmansk port suspended after bridge collapse

Passenger and cargo trains to the northern port of Murmansk have been suspended after a bridge collapsed. According to the emergencies ministry, a bridge over the river Kola was destroyed after melting snow and a strong flow of water hit it on Saturday. Russian Railways told Reuters: "This route is the only one, so a temporary ban has been imposed on the loading of all goods to the Murmansk transport hub after the damage to the bridge". The railway is one of the main points of access to the Murmansk Commercial Seaport, which is mainly used for the export of coal.

Covid-19 deaths surpass 5,000

The death toll for covid-19 in Russia has passed the 5,000-mark as of Tuesday 02 June. The figure rose following a daily increase of 182, bringing the death toll to 5,037. An additional 8,863 new cases of infection have also been reported over the last 24 hours - taking the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases to 423,741. Overall, almost 187,000 patients have recovered and around 232,000 cases still remain active.

Covid-19 death toll increases by 162

Russia's covid-19 death toll has now risen to 4,855 after an additional 162 virus-related deaths were reported over the last 24 hours. Just over 9,000 new cases of infection have also been registered - taking the overall total up to 414,878 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Almost 176,000 covid-19 patients have allegedly recovered, while more than 234,000 cases still remain active - around 2,300 of which have been categorised as serious or critical.

Moscow's covid-19 death toll for April doubles

The death toll for covid-19 in the capital city of Moscow has more than doubled after the Russian authorities revised the official figures for the month of April. The city's death toll for last month now stands at 1,561, as opposed to the previous total of 639. The city's health department emphasised that the revision of figures came about following a decision to expand criteria to include "controversial, debatable" cases; however, there has been speculation over the reliability of Russia's coronavirus data. Russia currently has nearly 388,000 confirmed infections - the world's third highest total behind the US and Brazil; however, Russia's official death toll is only 4,374, compared to 103,330 in the US and 26,764 in Brazil.

Covid-19 death toll rises to 4,142

As of Thursday morning, the death toll for covid-19 in Russia has now risen to 4,142. The increase comes after 174 new virus-related fatalities were confirmed over the last 24 hours, along with 8,371 new cases of infection - taking the national total number of confirmed coronavirus cases to 379,051. An estimated 151,000 covid-19 patients have recovered so far, while almost 224,000 cases remain active.

Moscow to enter new phase to ease coronavirus restrictions

Authorities in Moscow have announced that the government will introduce a new phase to relax some coronavirus restrictions imposed on the capital. The head of Moscow's Rospotrebnadzor, Elena Adreyeva, has said that three sets of criteria to ease restrictions have been already met. Since late-March, stringent measures have been imposed in Moscow. Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has already allowed some businesses to reopen, while lockdown restrictions will remain in place. Moscow is at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in Russia, accounting for nearly half of all cases confirmed in the country.

Covid-19 death toll up by 161

The covid-19 death toll in Russia has increased to 3,968 after 161 new coronavirus deaths were registered on Wednesday. The country's total number of covid-19 cases has also risen to 370,680 following a daily increase in cases of 8,338. An estimated 142,208 coronavirus patients have reportedly recovered from the disease in Russia - leaving around 224,504 cases still active.

Four killed in military aircraft crash in Chukotka

Four people have died after a military helicopter crash-landed in the eastern region of Chukotka. According to the military, the crash involved a Mi-8 helicopter. The crash happened near the Ugolnyye Kopi Airport, located near Anadyr. This is the second Mi-8 aircraft to crash in Russia in less than a week. Last week, a similar accident happened near Moscow, killing three people.

Prosecutors seek 18-year sentence in US marine's espionage trial

Prosecutors have requested that former US marine Paul Whelan be sentenced to 18 years in prison. His lawyer told Reuters that the sentence would be carried out at a maximum security facility. Whelan is being trialled in Russia for espionage. He was arrested at his hotel room in Moscow back in late-2018 and is accused of links to US intelligence agencies. A verdict on the case is expected to be made in mid-June. The US Ambassador in Moscow, John Sullivan, said: “There is no legitimacy to a procedure that is hidden behind closed doors. It is not transparent, it is not fair, and it is not impartial." Whelan also holds British, Canadian and Irish passports.

Victory Day celebrations to be held on 24 June

President Vladimir Putin has announced the new date for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow. The government was forced to postpone the event which would have been celebrated on 09 May. President Putin said that the new date will be on 24 June. A number of other events to celebrate the Second World War have been postponed or cancelled in Russia. The government has already announced that some coronavirus restrictions will be relaxed as the number of coronavirus cases stabilise. So far, more than 362,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the country, including over 3,800 deaths.

Almost 200 new coronavirus deaths reported

The coronavirus death toll in Russia has gone up to 3,807, after 174 new virus-related deaths were confirmed from over the past 24 hours on Tuesday morning. An additional 8,915 new cases of infection have also been registered over the last day - raising the overall number of confirmed coronavirus cases to 362,342. Russia currently has the third-highest total number of cases worldwide, after the US and Brazil.

Chechen leader Kadyrov reportedly contracts coronavirus

Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov has been reportedly been taken to hospital with suspected coronavirus symptoms. State media reported that Kadyrov was transported to Moscow for treatment. The reports have not been independently verified or officially confirmed. Kadyrov, who is a close ally of Russia President Vladimir Putin, has controlled the Chechen Republic since 2007.

Over 100 new covid-19 deaths registered

More than a hundred new covid-19 deaths have been registered in Russia over the past 24 hours - taking the death toll for the outbreak there over the 3,000-mark. As of Thursday morning, the death toll stands at 3,099 and the total number of confirmed cases has also risen to 317,554, following a daily increase of 8,849.

Covid-19 death toll up by 135

The death toll for coronavirus in Russia has risen by 135 over the last 24 hours, taking the total up to 2,972 confirmed virus-related deaths. An additional 8,764 new cases of infection have also been diagnosed, bringing the national total number of confirmed coronavirus case up to 308,705 - the second highest total worldwide.

Covid-19 death toll rises by 115

The death toll for covid-19 in Russia has now risen by 115 as of Tuesday morning. The latest figures have been released by the Russian health authorities, with the total number of coronavirus deaths now at 2,837, while the overall number of infections recorded has also risen over the last 24 hours, by 9,263 - taking the total to 299,941 confirmed cases of coronavirus. At least 76,130 covid-19 patients in Russia have reportedly recovered, while 220,974 cases remain active - around 2,300 of which are said to be critical.

Almost 9,000 new covid-19 cases reported

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Russia has risen by almost 9,000 over the last 24 hours following the latest daily increase of 8,926 newly diagnosed cases of infection. The new total now stands at 290,678 - the second-highest total worldwide after the US. The country's coronavirus death toll has also gone up to 2,722 after 91 new covid-19 deaths were registered on Monday morning.

Education minister recovers after testing positive for coronavirus

President Vladimir Putin has confirmed that the Russian minister of education has tested positive for coronavirus. Reports indicate that Valery Falkov has already recovered from the virus. Falkov is at least the sixth senior Russian official to contract the disease. Russia has so far confirmed more than 263,000 coronavirus cases, including over 2,400 deaths.

Over 10,000 new coronavirus cases reported

More than 10,000 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Russia. As of Friday, the new total number of confirmed covid-19 cases in the country stands at 262,843, following a daily increase of 10,598 new cases. Russia currently has the third-highest total number of cases in the world after the US and Spain, but looks set to soon overtake Spain in the next couple of days. The death toll has also risen by 113, going up to 2,305. 

House fire kills four in Kemerovo

At least four people have died following a house fire in the Kemerovo region. The blaze reportedly broke out during the early hours of Friday morning at a private residential property in Osinniki. According to reports, the fire started in the veranda of the property, before spreading to the rest of the house. Two children are thought to be among the four people killed, while three others managed to escape the blaze. Provisional investigations suggest the fire may have been caused by the reckless handling of fire when smoking, or a short circuit.

Ninety-three new coronavirus deaths reported

At least 93 new virus-related deaths have been reported in Russia - taking the national death toll to 2,305. Almost 10,000 new cases of infection have also been registered, raising the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases to 252,245. At least 53,530 patients have recovered so far.

Almost 100 new covid-19 deaths reported

Russia's coronavirus death toll has increased by almost 100 over the last 24 hours, going up to 2,21. The rise in figures comes after today's daily increase of 96 was confirmed, along with another 10,028 newly diagnosed cases of infection - taking the country's total number of confirmed coronavirus cases up to 242,271.

President Putin's spokesman tests positive for coronavirus

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman has been hospitalised after testing positive for coronavirus. Dmitry Peskov told TASS that he is currently being treated and that the last contact the he had with the president was last month. Several Russian officials have tested positive for coronavirus, including Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. Russia has reported a steady increase in the number of coronavirus cases, with nearly 230,000 being confirmed nationwide, including over 2,000 deaths.

Over 10,000 new covid-19 cases reported

More than 10,000 new coronavirus cases have been reported in Russia, taking the total to 232,243 confirmed cases of infection there. The daily increase of 10,899 was announced on Tuesday morning and is a slight decrease from the previous day's increase, but still represents a worryingly high trend as the country surpasses the UK's total number of cases and now has the third highest total in the world, after the US and Spain. The death toll has also risen by 107, taking it to 2,116 - which is comparatively a very low death rate for how many cases have been recorded. It's speculated that the low death rate could be attributed to Russia not including deaths from pneumonia in their covid-19 death toll, while others have argued that Russia's rigorous testing regimen has resulted in a proportionally lower death rate as more mild cases of infections are allegedly being uncovered than in other countries.

Five covid-19 patients die in hospital fire

Five covid-19 patients have died after a fire broke out in a hospital in St Petersburg. According to reports, the fire is thought to have been started by a short-circuit in a ventilator before spreading through the intensive care unit. Fire crews have now contained the blaze and more than 150 people have been evacuated from the hospital. All of the deceased were on ventilators. It's unclear how many other people were also hurt in the fire. Russia currently has the fourth-highest total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world - after the US, Spain, and the UK - with a total of 221,344 confirmed cases; however, with daily increases of over 11,000, Russia's figures are expected to surpass those of the UK soon.

President Putin partially lifts economic shutdown despite rise in coronavirus cases

President Vladimir Putin has announced a partial end to the economic shutdown in Russia despite the increasing number of coronavirus cases confirmed nationwide. Most of the measures to be lifted include the resumption of industrial operations, which will be decided by regional governors. Some restrictions will remain in place as people are still urged to stay at home. The announcement came despite Russia recording record numbers of cases in recent days, overtaking the UK and Italy. So far, more than 221,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed, including 2,000 deaths.

Nine killed in hospice fire near Moscow

Nine people have died and several others hospitalised after a fire broke out at a private hospice near Moscow. Initial investigations show that the fire could have been caused by an electrical fault. Emergency services rushed to Krasnogorsk after the fire broke out on Saturday. The incident happened on the same day that another hospital also caught on fire in Moscow, killing one person. Reuters reported that the owner of the hospice was detained at the scene.

Russia records highest daily increase in coronavirus cases

Russia has recorded the highest daily increase in the number of coronavirus cases. According to health officials, more than 11,000 cases were confirmed on Thursday, the fifth day in a row that the country daily increase surpasses 10,000. In total, 177,000 cases have been confirmed in Russia, nearly half of them in Moscow. TASS news agency reported that Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin fears that the actual number of cases in the capital could be up to three times higher.

Coronavirus cases up by over 10,000

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Russia has gone up to 165,929 after an additional 10,559 positive cases were diagnosed over the last 24 hours. This is the fourth day in a row that the daily increase in the number of cases has gone up by more than 10,000. At least 86 new covid-19 deaths have also been reported, taking the country's death toll to 1,537.

Russia reports steady increase in coronavirus cases

More than 10,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the past 24 hours in Russia. For the third consecutive day, Russia has reported a daily increase of 10,000 cases, reaching 155,000 nationwide. Russia has faced one of the highest daily case increases in Europe; however, the death toll in the country is much lower when compared with other countries. So far, more than 1,400 people have died after contracting coronavirus. Lockdown measures will expire on 12 May.

House fire kills six in Moscow

At least six people have been killed in a recent house fire in the Ramensky district of Moscow. The blaze occurred on Tuesday, when a fire broke out in a residential property in the Durnikha area of Ramensky during the early hours of the morning, at around 04:00 local time. According to reports, the property was burnt to the ground, with the bodies of six victims being found amongst the rubble once the blaze was put out. The fire was prevented from spreading to any neighbouring properties. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation, although fire crew suspect it could have been caused by either a short circuit or careless handling of fire.

Defense ministry monitoring US-British fleet on Barents Sea

Russia's defence ministry has said that the Northern Fleet is currently monitoring a group of US and British naval ships that have entered the Barents Sea. Earlier on Monday, the US Navy confirmed that four US vessels and a British ship headed to the region for training operations on the Arctic. According to the US Navy, this is the first time that the US has conducted operations in the Barents Sea in 40 years. The Arctic is strategically important due to its energy reserves and future merchant routes. The Barents Sea is located north of Murmansk and east of Norway's Svalbard archipelago.

Over 10,000 new covid-19 cases reported

More than 10,000 new covid-19 cases have been reported in Russia over the past 24 hours - taking the national total there up to 145,268. The daily increase is the second consecutive day that the country has reported an increase of more than 10,000 infections. A nationwide non-working period was recently extended until 11 May and a lockdown remains in place in Moscow. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has also been diagnosed with the virus. The country's death toll also saw an increase of 76, putting the total at 1,356 coronavirus deaths.

Almost 8,000 new virus cases reported

Almost 8,000 new coronavirus cases have been reported in Russia, taking the total number of confirmed coid-19 cases there up to 114,431. The increase comes after 7,933 new patients were diagnosed with the virus over the last 24 hours. At least 96 new virus-related deaths have also been registered - bringing the country's death toll to 1,169.

PM Mishustin tested positive for coronavirus

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has tested positive for coronavirus. AP reported that his deputy, Andrei Belousov, will temporarily take over his functions while Mishustin undertakes treatment. State-run television Rossiya 24 first reported that the PM is already in self-isolation. Russia has already confirmed more than 100,000 coronavirus cases and more than 1,000 deaths.

Over 100 new coronavirus deaths reported

More than 100 new coronavirus deaths have been reported in Russia. The official death toll there now stands at 1,073 after an additional 101 new virus-related fatalities were confirmed over the last 24 hours. Some 7,099 new cases of infection have also been recorded during that same 24-hour period - taking the national total number of confirmed coronavirus cases over the 100,000-mark. Russia's tally of 106,498 cases is the eighth highest in the world and the sixth highest in Europe.

Over 100 new virus deaths confirmed

Some 108 new virus-related deaths have been registered in Russia over the last 24 hours, taking the coronavirus death closer to the 1,000-mark, as the total number of people who have died from covid-19 in Russia now stands at 972. Another 5,851 new cases of infection have also been reported during the same 24-hour period, raising the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases to 99,399. Russia's total is currently the eighth highest in the world and the rate of infection there means it's likely to surpass the 100,000-mark by tomorrow.

Lockdown measures extended until 11 May

Lockdown measures in Russia have been extended until 11 May as the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase. President Vladimir Putin has claimed that the peak of infections in the country has not been reached. He told governors to plan to start the lifting of some restrictions from 12 May. Earlier this week, the head of the Russian public health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor raised concerns over the coronavirus peak in May, where two major public holidays will take place. Russia has already confirmed more than 93,000 coronavirus cases, including nearly 900 deaths.

Total coronavirus cases overtake China

The total number of coronavirus cases in Russia has overtaken that of China, where the virus first emerged late last year. The Russian authorities have confirmed at least 93,558 cases, compared to China's 82,836. The majority of Russia's confirmed cases are in the capital, Moscow. Russia's death toll remains relatively low for the number of cases reported, with just 867 coronavirus deaths confirmed nationally. In the last 24 hours, at least 6,411 cases of infection and 73 deaths have been registered.

Health watchdog raises concerns over coronavirus peak in May

Russian authorities have raised concerns over the potential hike of coronavirus infections in Russia after the public holidays in May. The head of Russian public health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, Anna Popova, has urged people to not violate social distancing rules ahead of the holidays on 1 and 11 May. Russia has already announced the suspension of its Victory Day celebrations due to coronavirus. Coronavirus cases in Russia have already surpassed 87,000, including 800 deaths.

Dozens gathered at Lenin's tomb despite lockdown in Moscow

Dozens of people gathered at the Red Square in Moscow to celebrate the birthday of Vladimir Lenin. People headed to Lenin's tomb despite a strict lockdown being enforced in the capital. Some communist-era monuments have been shut to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Russia has already surpassed 56,000 coronavirus cases, including more than 500 deaths, as lockdown measures are still being enforced across the country. Last week, the government has announced that the country's Victory Day Parade scheduled for early-May has been postponed. 

Hundreds protest lockdown measures in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia

Hundreds of protesters staged a demonstration in southern Russia against regional restrictions introduced to curb the coronavirus. State media reported that demonstrations happened in the city of Vladikavkaz in the Republic of North Ossetia. Protesters demand the end of the economic shutdown that has been introduced in several regions across Russia. Moscow was the first area to introduce strict measures, but later they spread across the entire country after special emergency powers were granted to President Vladimir Putin. In total, Russia has already reported more than 47,000 coronavirus cases - cases in North Ossetia have reached 145, including two deaths.

Thousands of soldiers ordered into quarantine

Thousands of Russian soldiers have been ordered to quarantine after the country's Victory Day events were cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. All of those ordered into a two-week quarantine were taken part in the rehearsal of marches and other logistic features of the events. The defence ministry told local media that the soldiers will be returned to their permanent posts for quarantine. Several members of the Russian military have already tested positive for coronavirus.

Moscow city authorities introduce special digital transit pass

City authorities in Moscow have introduced a new system of transit permits that will apply to those entering and leaving the city. From Wednesday, 15 April, the measure has started to be enforced across the city. The permit will also be required for those travelling to and from the airports. People in the region travelling by car or any form of public transport will need to present a digital pass. The pass can be downloaded free of charge on the Moscow City Council official website. Some reports have identified some scams charging people for permits or offering alternatives to circumvent travel restrictions. People should always follow advice from official sources.

Record rise in covid-19 cases reported

A record rise in the number of covid-19 infections has been reported in Russia, with officials saying that around 2,774 more people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours - taking the total to 21,202 confirmed cases of infection. The death toll stands at 170 people so far.

Coronavirus cases surpass 10,000

Coronavirus cases in Russia have surpassed 10,000 after a record number of cases were confirmed on a single day. According to official reports, more than 1,400 cases were confirmed in less than 24 hours. Reports also indicate that coronavirus deaths have jumped to 76. Russia's government has recently launched strict rules nationwide to address the coronavirus spread. Lockdown measures were initially introduced in Moscow but later implemented in most regions.

Five more die from coronavirus

Five more people have died in Russia after contracting coronavirus - taking the national death toll to at least 63 confirmed fatalities. The latest deaths were all reported during the last 24 hours, along with at least 1,175 new cases of infection. The national total number of coronavirus cases now stands at around 8,672. Yesterday, the Russian authorities opened an investigation into satirist Alexander Thorn for allegedly spreading false information after he made a joke about the coronavirus having been concocted in a secret Siberian lab. Under new laws brought in last week, Thorn could face up to three years in prison.

Russia records highest daily increase on coronavirus cases

Coronavirus cases in Russia have increased by more than 1,000 in less than 24 hours. According to Russian agencies, this is the highest daily increase since the coronavirus outbreak hit the country. According to reports, nearly 7,500 cases have already been confirmed in Russia, including 58 deaths.

Several killed in shooting in Ryazan

At least five people have been shot dead following a neighbourhood disagreement in the western region of Ryazan. According to reports, a man has opened fire at a group of people who were gathered outside their house in the town of Yelatma. Reports indicate that the shooter had complained about noise and later opened fire at his neighbours. Yelatma is located hundreds of kilometres south-east of Moscow. It is a small village which sits on the shores of the Oka River.

Several governors replaced amid coronavirus crisis

Several governors have resigned amid the coronavirus crisis in Russia. In Kamchatka, which is located thousands of kilometres east of Moscow, Vladimir Ilyukhin handed over his resignation after criticising the country's consumer watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor. In Komi and Arkhangelsk, both located in northern Russia, their governors were also replaced. The Russian central government in Moscow has been granted sweeping powers to declare emergencies over the coronavirus outbreak. President Vladimir Putin has urged governors to launch "a concrete set of preventative measures that are optimal for their territories from the point of view of ensuring the health and safety of people, as well as the stability of the economy and key infrastructure".

Coronavirus night curfew imposed in Chechnya

A night-time curfew has been introduced in the southern region of Chechnya as part of new measures to curb the coronavirus spread. Officially, the region has so far confirmed 12 cases of the coronavirus. The curfew will be enforced between 20:00 and 08:00 local time, while its regional borders will be ordered to shut from Sunday, 5 April. Rights groups have raised concerns over the scope of the curfew, which will be the first to be imposed in Russia. All regions in Russia have been urged to launch stricter measures to address the coronavirus spread.

President Putin issues 'non-work month' policy to curb coronavirus spread

President Vladimir Putin has urged most workers in Russia to stay off work as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus. During an address to the nation on Thursday, President Putin issued a so-called 'non-work month' policy where non-essential workers would remain at home until the end of the month. He said that companies should still pay their workers during this period. In a previous address, President Putin had reiterated that businesses and pensioners would receive grants when facing economic distress. Parliament has already given carte-blanche to the Russian government to introduce a state of emergency and nationwide lockdown measures. Russian health authorities have already confirmed nearly 3,000 cases of the coronavirus, including 24 deaths.

President Putin to address nation as coronavirus cases jump

President Vladimir Putin has announced plans to deliver a second special address to the nation over the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement comes after the latest coronavirus figures for Russia showed a jump in the number of cases diagnosed, with 771 new cases reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 3,548. Six new deaths were also reported, taking the death toll to 30 confirmed fatalities. Putin is expected to announce stricter measures in response to the outbreak, following his previous address, in which he declared a "non-working week".

Lawmakers approve bill to grant government emergency powers

Lawmakers have voted in favour of a law that would give the central government in Moscow powers to declare a nationwide state of emergency. In a vote held on Tuesday, the Russian parliament has also approved the introduction of penalties for those violating lockdown guidances. In some cases, people may be jailed for up to seven years. President Vladimir Putin is now expected to sign the bill into law. Moscow was the first city in Russia to declare a mandatory lockdown. The move was followed by other regions, while all the remaining ones may follow suit. Official reports show that more than 2,300 coronavirus cases were confirmed in the country.

Coronavirus lockdown measures expanded across Russia

Enhanced lockdown measures have been imposed across more than a dozen regions after a strict lockdown was introduced in Moscow. A partial lockdown started to be enforced in some regions across Russia, including in St Petersburg. Governors are following the advice of Prime Minister Mikhail Mushstin, who urged all of the country's 80 regions to launch further measures to curb the coronavirus outbreak. His remarks came as Russia recorded the highest daily rise in the number of cases, bringing the overall total to more than 1,800. At least nine people have died. Regions enforcing lockdowns include Murmansk, Kaliningrad, Tatarstan and Chechnya.

Moscow enters coronavirus lockdown

Moscow has entered lockdown as the local government launches drastic measures to counter the coronavirus threat. Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has introduced the measure over the weekend. It will remain in place until further notice. The local government in Moscow had already urged locals to remain indoors, to avoid social interaction and public gatherings. Non-essential shops, cafes and restaurants have all been ordered to shut. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has praised the measures and urged both regional and local governments in Russia to introduce similar measures. According to Russian officials, more than 1,500 coronavirus cases have already been confirmed in Russia.

Coronavirus cases top 1,000

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Russia has surpassed 1,000 after 196 new cases were reported on Thursday morning - taking the total to 1,036. No new deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours and the country's death toll still stands at three. The Russian government recently ordered all restaurants and cafes to close from Saturday and next week has officially been designated a "non-working week" in a bid to prevent the further spread of the virus.

Aerial borders closed amid coronavirus

Russia has closed its aerial borders amid the coronavirus outbreak, with all overseas flights suspended from Friday 27 March. The flight ban does not apply to repatriation flights. The measures comes after President Vladimir Putin postponed a vote on constitutional change which would have allowed him to remain in power for two more consecutive terms. Russia has reported 658 cases of the virus, including three fatalities.

Powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake triggers tsunami warning in the Kuril Islands

A powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake has triggered a tsunami warning in the Kuril Islands, eastern Russia. According to the US Geological Survey, the quake struck on Tuesday afternoon several kilometres off the coast. It hit the area at a depth of 59 kilometres. The US Tsunami Warning Center said: "This earthquake has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami in the source region". The Russian Academy of Sciences' Geophysical Survey reported the quake as a 7.2-magnitude. The alert was mainly issued to the town of Severo-Kurilsk, which houses 2,500 people.

Maximum alert imposed after first coronavirus death in Russia

Regional governments in Russia have imposed their highest alert to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country. The measure was announced by the Rospotrebnadzor, the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing. Rospotrebnadzor's head, Anna Popova, has said that all travellers arriving in Russia will be subject to a 14-day quarantine. People will additionally be requested to provide information towards their travel history and provide some health certificates. With the alert, all public events will be suspended. The measures are introduced after Russia confirmed its first coronavirus death - a 79-year-old woman who was under intensive care in Moscow. So far, 199 cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in the country.

First coronavirus death confirmed

Russia has confirmed its first fatal coronavirus case in a hospital in the capital city of Moscow. The patient is understood to have been a 79-year-old woman with underlying health conditions, including type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. At least 147 confirmed cases of the virus have been identified in Russia so far - the majority of which came from Moscow. President Vladimir Putin has described the country's coronavirus situation as "under control".

EU accuses Russia of fueling coronavirus misinformation

Russia's government has been accused of fuelling a network of misinformation over the coronavirus outbreak in Europe. Reuters reported that internal documents circulating within the EU institutions allege that: “A significant disinformation campaign by Russian state media and pro-Kremlin outlets regarding COVID-19 is ongoing". It was produced by the European External Action Service, a body that mainly deals with EU foreign policy. A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, said: “I can’t comment on this from the point of view of common sense."

Flights suspended to Italy, Germany, France, and Spain amid coronavirus outbreak

The Russian authorities have decided to suspend all flights to Italy, Germany, France, and Spain amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. According to reports, the move came on Thursday after eight new cases of the virus were confirmed in Russia - raising the national total to 28. All of the latest cases have been linked to recent travel to Italy. No deaths have been recorded as a result of coronavirus in Russia yet.

Parliament approves amendment that allows President Putin to remain in power

Russia's State Duma has approved a constitutional amendment that could allow President Vladimir Putin to remain in power for two other terms. Members of parliament overwhelmingly approved the amendment which would allow President Putin to remain in power until 2036. The motion was put forward by Valentina Tereshkova, an influential lawmaker and members of ruling United Russia. The parliament's vote will still need approval in the Constitutional Court. The amendment passed despite President Putin making an unscheduled address raising concerns over the scrapping of term limits in the country. 

President Putin to make unscheduled address to parliament

President Vladimir Putin is expected to make an unscheduled address to the State Duma on Tuesday as Russia prepares for constitutional reforms. President Putin's address comes after some lawmakers from the ruling United Russia proposed plans to scrap presidential term limits to allow the president to remain in power after 2024. President Putin has already said that he is opposed to the proposal as well as against early parliamentary elections. Nationwide ballots will take place in late-April in order to approve the constitutional changes announced earlier this year in the state of the nation address.

More than 700 quarantined in St Petersburg

More than 700 people have been quarantined in St Petersburg as they may have come into contact with an Italian student who tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday. Most of those quarantined are students. There are only seven confirmed cases in Russia and no deaths, although there is growing scepticism over the efficiency of testing. President Putin has dismissed the speculation as foreign propaganda.

Enhanced travel restriction imposed over coronavirus fears

Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova has announced new restrictions on travel amid a coronavirus surge worldwide. Golikova has said on Wednesday that flights to South Korea would be suspended until further notice. She added that only the national airlines, Aeroflot and Aurora, would be allowed to operate flights between both countries. The issuance of visas to some Iranian nationals would also be suspended, while Russians have been advised not to travel to Italy. Russia has already launched contingency measures to avoid the spread of the coronavirus in the country, which already includes the closure of the land border with China and the suspension of visas to Chinese nationals. In total, two cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Russia.

Government to introduce travel ban on Chinese nationals heading to Russia

Russia's government has announced a travel ban on Chinese nationals due to COVID-19 fears. Russia has already announced enhanced measures towards Chinese nationals heading to the country, including the introduction of visas for tourists and the closure of its land borders with China. Similar to the US, Australia and Singapore, Russia has also introduced a travel ban on foreign nationals that have recently been to China. So far, two cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Russia. Recent reports suggest that the patients - two Chinese nationals - have already recovered from the disease.

Former prison officer kills himself in Moscow court

A former prison official has killed himself in court after being sentenced on extortion charges. Viktor Sviridov was sentenced at a court in Moscow to three years in prison for extortion more around 10m rubles from a former deputy director of the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN). Reports indicate that he shot himself in the head.

House fire kills three in Zhurinichi

A housr fire has reportedly killed at least three people in the Zhurinichi area of the Bryansk Oblast. According to reports, the blaze broke out at a private residential property during the early hours of Tuesday morning, shortly after 02:00 local time. Fire crews were dispatched to the scene to extinguish the fire; however, there were no surviors. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

Additional security measures on domestic flights over coronavirus

Additional security  measures have been brought in on domestic flights amid coronavirus concerns as the global total of cases confirmed surpasses 20,000, with 425 people killed. The measure was deemed necessary due to the risk of coronavirus infection. The virus has been detected in 23 countries outside of China, including Russia, prompting the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare an international public health emergency over the outbreak last week.

Government confirms two cases of coronavirus in Russia

Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova has confirmed that two cases of coronavirus have been reported in Russia. Golikova told journalists on Friday that those infected were two Chinese nationals that were already put in isolation. She said that one of the cases was reported in the Far East region of Zabaikalsky and the other in the Tyumen Region in western Siberia. Russia has already launched a number of contingency measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on its territory. It has ordered the closure of the entire land border with China and banned direct flights from Moscow to China.

PM orders closure of entire Chinese border over coronavirus fears

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has ordered the closure of the entire land border with China to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Russia has already closed three border crossings in the country's Far East region. The country has not yet reported any cases of the coronavirus, which broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan. However, a number of measures have already been implemented. The Financial Times reported that the Russian foreign ministry has suspended the issuance of electronic visas to Chinese nationals to enter the country via St Petersburg and other points of entry.

Hundreds of stranded fishermen rescued from giant ice floe in Sakhalin

Over 500 fishermen have been rescued after getting stranded on a massive ice floe in Sakhalin, eastern Siberia. AP reported that a giant piece of ice detached from the island and drifted through the Sea of Okhotsk on Tuesday. The incident happened near Mordvinova Bay. According to reports, this is the third incident in less than a week to be reported in Sakhalin. Authorities have accused local fishermen of reckless behaviour for ignoring safety signs.

Russian tourists returning from China to be screened for coronavirus

Russia's consumer safety watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, has announced that all Russian nationals returning from China will be screened for coronavirus. Rospotrebnadzor said on Wednesday that all Russian tourists will be subject to medical checks. This is the latest measure in Russia to counter the spread of the coronavirus, which originated from in the Chinese city of Wuhan. As a precaution, Russia has closed several border crossings with China in the Far East region. At least four airports in Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Irkutsk enhanced monitoring measures. So far, no cases have been reported in Russia.

Border crossings shut in three Far East regions over coronavirus concerns

Border crossings with China have been shut in three Russian regions in the Far East as a new measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The regions affected in the new order include Khabarovsk, Amur and the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. No cases of coronavirus have been so far confirmed in Russia. Authorities in Moscow have already stepped up efforts in tourist sites, hotels and public transports as a precaution. Russian travel agencies have also suspended the selling of package holidays to China. Recent reports from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has put the risk of the coronavirus as high.

President Putin formally submits constitutional proposals to parliament

President Vladimir Putin has formally sent his constitutional proposal to the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament. President Putin has already laid out plans to reform the Russian constitution during his state of the nation address last week. Among the main changes include giving more power to parliament to nominate ministers and introduce a limit to presidential terms. Although President Putin is considered independent, he enjoys the allegiance of most lawmakers linked to the United Russia party and other smaller parties historically associated with the Kremlin. Critics and the opposition have seen the government's move as an attempt of President Putin to remain highly influential on Russian politics after he leaves office in 2024. Immediate changes have already been made, including the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and the nomination of Mikhail Mushustin as his replacement. 

Eleven killed in building fire

At least 11 people have been killed in a building fire which broke out in the village of Prichulymsky in the Tomsk Region. According to reports, 10 Uzbek nationals and one Russian citizen were killed in the fire. The foreign nationals are confirmed to have had the correct permissions to work in Russia. The building was a private residential property and the fire allegedly broke out during the early hours of Tuesday morning. Only two people were able to escape the blaze. An investigation into  he cause of the fire has been launched.

Several killed after water pipe burst floods hotel in Perm

At least five people have been killed after a hot water pipe exploded at a hotel in Perm. Reuters reported that several people were taken to the hospital after the accident happened on Monday. Reports showed that the burst occurred in the basement of the Mini Hotel Caramel. Investigations on the incident are still ongoing. Local media reported that the same hotel experienced a similar incident in the past. Perm is one of the biggest cities in Russia.

Dozens of Moscow schools and shopping centres evacuated over bomb threats

Dozens of school and shopping centres in the capital city of Moscow have reportedly been evacuated amid bomb threats. According to recent reports, 121 institutions and public shopping centres have been evacuated following anonymous bomb threats, including 85 schools, 16 kindergartens, and 20 shopping centres. The security forces have launched operations to respond to the threats, while metro stations are also being checked. Multiple false bomb threat evacuations have been carried out across various parts of Moscow since late November 2019.

Parliament approves nomination of Mikhail Mishustin as new PM

Parliament has approved President Vladimir Putin's nomination for a Russian new prime minister. In a vote held on Thursday, the State Duma has supported the nomination of Mikhail Mishustin to the post. In total, he received the support of 383 lawmakers, while the remaining 41 abstained. Contrary to outgoing prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, Mishustin is considered a low-profile politician in Russia. His nomination came after President Putin's state of the union speech, which declared a massive government overhaul ahead of the end of his term in 2024.

Gunman kills one in Siberian court shooting

An unidentified gunman has killed at least one person and left a second person seriously injured after opening fire in the Magistrates' Court in Novokuznetsk, Siberia. Initial reports suggested that two people had been injured; however, the death of one person has since been confirmed, while paramedics are attending to the second casualty. The shooter has been detained by police but not publicly identified as investigations into the incident get underway. The motive behind the attack is yet to be determined.

PM announces resignation of government

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has announced the resignation of government following President Vladimir Putin's address to parliament. The president outline planned changes to Russia's constitution, specifically applying to "the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch". Medvedev explained that the resignation of the government in its current composition would enable the president to plan a full restructure to be implemented with the next government. The PM and the cabinet will remain at their posts until a new government is formed. Following this, Medvedev is expected to take up the new position of deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council.

News correspondent found dead in Moscow

A male news correspondent has reportedly been found dead in the capital city of Moscow. The deceased has been identified as Manuel Regalado, a Spanish national who worked as a news correspondent for the Spanish-language news site, Sputnik Mundo. According to reports, Regalado was found with fatal injuries in the south-west of the city on Monday night. The nature of Regalado's injuries has not yet been clarified, as investigations into his death remain ongoing.

Fire at oil refinery injures one in Komi

A fire which recently broke out at an oil refinery in the Komi Republic has apparently left at least one person injured. The blaze reportedly broke out on Thursday afternoon at the Lukoil oil refinery in Ukhta. Preliminary investigations into the cause of the fire have suggested that the depressurisation of a fuel tanker is thought to be what caused the blaze. The casualty is believed to be an employee of the refinery.

Strong earthquake recorded in Chukotka

A strong 6.3-magnitude earthquake has been recorded in the Russian Far East region of Chukotka. According to reports, the quake struck on Thursday morning hundreds of kilometres south-west of Anadyr. Reports from the US Geological Survey (USGS) show that the tremor had a depth of nearly 10 kilometres. The USGS also confirmed that the region was hit by several aftershocks, with the strongest reaching a magnitude of 5.0. According to the local authorities, no casualties were initially reported. Chukotka is a Russian autonomous region. Low-scale earthquakes are relatively frequent in the region.

Greenhouse farm fire kills eight in Moscow suburb

A fire which broke out at a greenhouse farm has reportedly killed at least eight people and left another person injured. The fire occurred on Tuesday at a greenhouse farm in the Nesterovo suburb of Moscow, where the fire broke out in one of the metal construction trailers where workers lived. All eight victims - seven men and one woman - have been identified as illegal migrants from Vietnam who worked at the farm. Initial investigations mistakenly identified the victims as nationals from Tajikistan. Firefighters attended the scene, putting the fire out after an hour. It remains unclear what caused the blaze as investigations get underway.

Shooting reported outside FSB building in central Moscow

Russian media is widely reporting a shooting outside the building of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in central Moscow. Reports indicate that at least two police officers have been injured after a man armed with an assault rifle opened fire on Thursday afternoon. The incident has reportedly occurred near Lubyanka Square. No further information on the incident has been released. People have been advised to avoid the area.

US Senate committee passes bill that would lead to tougher sanctions on Russia

A US Senate committee has approved a bill that would introduce tougher sanctions on Russia. In a vote held on Wednesday, the Republican-led committee approved the next steps of the bill. After passing the committee, the bill could be sent to a full House and Senate vote before being signed by President Donald Trump. Issues the bill addresses include the US stance on Russia's electoral interference, Ukraine's policy and its involvement in Syria. The bill is named Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) was first introduced back in February in a cross-party bid.

Several district courts evacuated due to bomb scares in Moscow

At least a dozen district courts across Moscow have been evacuated due to anonymous bomb threats. TASS news agency reported that unknown individuals claimed that they have planted explosives in 13 districts courts across the capital. All buildings were preventatively evacuated as the security forces carried out inspections. According to reports, the assailants demanded a transfer in cryptocurrency to deactivate the alleged bombs. A number of bomb scares have been reported across Moscow in recent weeks. Despite hundreds of buildings being inspected, all of the threats were proven to be false.

Suspect Ukrainian nationalist detained for plotting attack in Murmansk

A man accused of being a Ukrainian nationalist was detained for allegedly plotting a bomb attack in Murmansk, northern Russia. RIA reported that the Federal Security Service has detained a man believed to be a member of the ultra-nationalist Right Sector (Pravyi Sektor), who was planning a bomb attack against a local government building. The arrest comes as President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, reached a preliminary agreement to cease hostilities in eastern Ukraine. Pravyi Sektor was first established in 2013 as a political movement to oust then Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych. Since then, Russia has accused the group of engaging in violence against pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Man sentenced to life for links to 2017 St Petersburg metro bombing

A man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for his involvement in the 2017 St Petersburg metro bombing. A court ruled on Tuesday that an unnamed man was found guilty of involvement in the attack, which killed 15 people. Additionally, 10 other people were handed sentences between 19 and 28 years. The bomber was killed at the scene. The attack was believed to be connected to a group called Imam Shamil Battalion, which holds alleged links with al-Qaeda.

Russia slapped with four-year ban from major sporting events

Russia has been issued with a four-year ban from major sporting events after a ruling from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The decision was made on Monday in Switzerland. The ruling comes after the organisation claimed that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) altered laboratory results and failed to comply with investigations. RUSADA can still appeal the decision. With the ruling, Russia will not be represented in upcoming sporting events, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the FIFA's 2022 World Cup in Qatar. However, Russian athletes could still compete under a neutral flag - the situation would be similar to the previous 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The case dates back to 2015 after allegations of state-sponsored doping.

Bulgarian embassy advisor declared persona non grata

Russia has reportedly declared a Bulgarian embassy advisor persona non grata. The Russian authorities allegedly notified Bulgarian Ambassador Atanas Krastin that it was designating a Bulgarian embassy official as persona non grata, stating that the measure was a response to Bulgaria's decision to expel a Russian diplomat earlier this year on chargesof spying. 

Suspect shot dead by police in Rostov

A suspect has been shot dead by Russian police officers in Rostov Oblast. The incident occurred on Wednesday, when the police reportedly pulled over a suspect in a car for allegedly violating road safety regulations in the town of Krasny Sulin. However, upon being pulled over by the police, the suspect apparently refused to cooperate with police orders and instead opened fire on officers, leading to a brief stand-off. The suspect was shot dead in the resulting crossfire.

Germany expels two Russian diplomats over Berlin murder

Two Russian diplomats have been expelled from Germany over the murder of a Georgian national in Berlin. The expulsion comes months after 40-year-old Zelimkhan Khangoshvili - a former Chechen rebel commander - was shot in the head from behind in the Kleiner Tiergarten park. A male suspect was quickly arrested but has given little information to the police. German officials believed the killing was ordered by Russia or Russia's Chechen republic and has accused Moscow of refusing to assist in the investigation. In response, a Russian official has condemned the expulsions as "Russophobic hysteria". It's possible Moscow will reciprocate the move.

Woman killed in Perm shooting

A woman has reportedly been killed by her husband in a shooting incident in the city of Perm, Perm Krai. According to reports, the incident occurred on Wednesday, when the suspect allegedly shot his wife and killed her, before opening fire indiscriminately at passers by. It's believed he used a hunting rifle during the attack. At least two other people were also injured in the incident. The police have arrested the suspect, who apparently has a history of being convicted on charges relating to violent crime. The motive behind the killing remains unclear as investigations get underway.

Controversial law change condemned as suppression of free speech

Changes have been made to a controversial law which enables the Russian government to designate independent journalists and bloggers as "foreign agents". The amended law have been heavily criticised as a suppression of free speech and condemned by the EU, Amnesty International and the OSCE international security body. The "foreign agent" label was already applicable to certain media organisations and NGOs engaging in politics and receiving international funds. MP Leonid Levin said that for an individual to be labelled a "foreign agent" two criteria must be met: producing or spreading foreign material, and receiving foreign funding.

Two killed in brewery fire explosion in Stavropol

Two people have been confirmed dead following an explosion at a brewery in Stavropol. The blast occurred after a fire broke out at a brewery in the Pyatigorsk area on Thursday morning. According to reports, the emergency services have responded to the scene, where search and rescue operations remain ongoing. It's believed both fatalities were workers at the brewery. Fire crews are working to determine the exact cause of the accident, which, as of yet, still remains unclear.

Student killed in college shooting in Far East

A student has been killed and several others injured when another student opened fire at a college in the Far East town of Blagoveshchensk. Preliminary investigations suggest that the suspect used a hunting rifle. Russia's Investigative Committee has opened an investigation. Blagoveshchensk is located near the Chinese border.

Three dead in Pristen house fire

At least three people have died after they were caught in a house fire in Pristen, Kursk Oblast. According to reports, the blaze broke out in a property in Pristen on Monday morning, with the emergency services attending to the scene. The deaths of three minors have been confirmed; however, further details regarding the circumstances surrounding the event remain unclear. Investigations remain ongoing to determine the cause of the fire.

Police officer killed in Moscow gun attack

A high-ranking Russian police officer has been identified as one of two men who were killed in a recent gun attack in the Russian capital of Moscow. The victims have been identified as police officer Ibragim Eldzharkiev, and his younger brother. According to reports, the attack was captured by a security camera, showing the shooter approach Eldzharkiev and his brother, shooting them both before fleeing the scene, leaving them critically wounded. Eldzharkiev served as chief of Ingushetia's anti-extremism centre and had reportedly been targeted in another gun attack back in January. An investigation into his murder has been launched and remains ongoing.

Three killed in Primorsky Krai tanker blast

At least three fatalities have been confirmed following an explosion on a tanker in Primorsky Krai. The blast occurred over the weekend in Nakhodka Port waters, on the 'Zaliv Amerika' - a bunker tanker. According to local reports, a number of fuel gas tanks exploded in an empty cargo hold, resulting in the explosion and the subsequent deaths of three crew members aboard the vessel. 

Controversial internet law comes into effect

A controversial legislation that could limit internet traffic in Russia has come into effect. Russia's parliament has passed the sovereign internet law back in April. It will grant the government powers to restrict internet access and isolate the Russian web from the global internet. The government claims that law is paramount to enhance the country's cybersecurity capabilities. Internet providers in Russia had until 01 November to comply with the new rules. The new law will generally reroute web traffic through state servers while moving away from foreign-owned infrastructure. Critics claim that the new law will be used as a pretext to censor government opposition and rights groups based in Russia. The measures will be enforced by the Roskomnadzor telecom watchdog.

Military successfully concludes ICBM test-fire

Russia's military has successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from the Prince Vladimir Borei class submarine. The launch of the Bulava ICBM was conducted in the early hours of Thursday morning. According to the defence ministry, the missile was fired off the north-western region of Arkhangelsk in the White Sea and landed in the far east region of Kura. The Bulava ICBM is estimated to have a range of around 8,300km.

Russian soldier shoots dead eight fellow servicemen

A Russian soldier has reportedly shot dead eight fellow servicemen and injure two more at a military base in Russia's Far East. The incident occurred in the village of Gorny, in Transbaikal (aka Zabaykalsky Krai) on Friday evening. The shooter has apparently been detained, with preliminary reports indicating he may have been suffering from mental health problems. The BBC has reported that the soldier in question had been guarding the base at the time and he is believed to been enlisted to the Russian army under compulsory terms.

South Korean fighter jets tracking Russian warplanes

South Korean fighter jets have been deployed to track Russian warplanes after they repeatedly entered South Korean air space. According to reports, South Korea's air defence scrambled its jets after six Russian military aircraft entered the Korea Air Defence Identification Zone multiple times within a six-hour period on Tuesday morning. According to Reuters, the stand-off is apparently the 20th recorded incidence of Russian planes violating South Korean airspace in the last 10 months.

Iranian hacking group targeted by Russian rivals

A Russian hacking group has targeted a rival network in Iran, according to US and UK intelligence agencies. The Turla group piggybacked on the Iran-based OilRig to carry out attacks on more than 20 other targets. Officials at the UK's intelligence agency GCHQ said that state-backed hackers were developing new techniques to hide their identities and cover their tracks. “We want to send a clear message that even when cyber actors seek to mask their identity, our capabilities will ultimately identify them,” said GCHQ official Paul Chichester.

Dam collapse kills 15 at Siberia gold mine

At least 15 people have been confirmed dead, while 14 people have been injured and 13 others remain missing following a dam collapse at a gold mine in Siberia. The dam is positioned on the Seiba river near a mine in a remote part of the Krasnoyarsk region, where heavy rainfall caused the dam to burst on Saturday, flooding cabins where workers lived. According to reports, an investigation into the dam failure has been launched, with preliminary findings suggesting that the structure had not been built in line with safety regulations. 

US diplomats barred from entering restricted area of Severodvinsk blast

US diplomats have been barred from entering the restricted site of a previous explosion that affected a military base in Severodvinsk, north-western Russia. According to the Russian ministry of foreign affairs, three diplomats were granted permission to travel to Arkhangelsk but instead headed to an alternative base in Severodvinsk, located several kilometres to the west. AP reported that they were stopped after they took a commuter train to a community near the area. Radiation levels in the region were increased after the incident, which reportedly happened when nuclear scientists were testing a rocket engine.

Police raid opposition leader's NGO over money laundering allegations

Russia's Investigative Committee (ICR) has confirmed that several raids were carried out against an NGO run by opposition leader Alexei Navalny. EFE reported that several agencies raided offices of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) over allegations of money laundering. Earlier this month, the foreign ministry designated the FBK as a foreign agency, which, according to a controversial law enacted in 2012, is subject to extensive audits and additional checks as an NGO engaged in politics. Navalny has denied allegations that he received foreign funds and said that the raid is politically motivated.

Fifty arrested amid Novosibirsk fight

Some 50 arrests have been made in Russia's Novosibirsk after a massive fight broke out in the city. The public brawl reportedly escalated from a physical fight near Khiloksky Market when shots were fired, with local health officials claiming at least five people have been injured by rubber bullets amidst the chaos. Unconfirmed reports have also claimed that two cars were set ablaze and were left burning at the site of the clash. It's possible that conflict was sparked by one of the vehicle's being set on fire.

Major protest scheduled to take place in Moscow

A major demonstration is scheduled to take place in Moscow on Sunday. According to the US Embassy in the Russian capital, more than 20,000 people are expected to take part in the protest, which is scheduled to kick off at 15:00 at Sakharov Square. For several weeks, Moscow has been facing protests. Most of them have been unauthorised by the authorities, leading to clashes between protesters and the police. Travellers are advised extreme caution if travelling to the city.

Parliament accuses German-based DW of violating Russian law

German-based broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) is expected to have its Russian works licence revoked after the State Duma found that the company has broken the law. Russian news agencies are widely reporting that lawmakers have found that DW has promoted unauthorised protests in Russia ahead of the local elections held in Moscow. Vasily Piskarev, a lawmaker of the ruling United Russia, has said that the UK-based BBC and the US-backed Radio Liberty will also be investigated for violating Russian law. Moscow had experienced large-scale protests after the country's electoral commission banned several opposition lawmakers from running for office. Thousands took to the streets for several consecutive weeks to pressure courts to overturn the ban.

Twenty-three injured in plane incident

Twenty-three passengers have reportedly been injured following an incident with a plane in Siberia. The incident occurred on Wednesday, when an Azur Air flight had to perform a hard landing at Barnaul Airport after the aircraft's landing gear caught fire. It's been reported that 344 people were on the flight, of whom at least 23 were injured. An investigation into the accident has been launched.

Foreign ministry summons US ambassador over UN visa row

Russia's foreign ministry has summoned the US Ambassador in Moscow after no visas were issued to Russian diplomats heading to attend the UN General Assembly in New York. Russian media reported that the deputy of Ambassador Jon Huntsman met with Russian officials over the issue. Reuters reported that 10 diplomats from the Russian delegation were not issued visas to attend the event. A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry said: “This is an outrageous example of disrespect by the USA for members of the UN, as well as a failure to fulfil its obligations as host country to the world organisation".

Alleged CIA spy officially declared missing

A former Russian government official with alleged ties to the CIA has been declared missing. Russian news agency RIA has confirmed that the current whereabouts of Oleg Smonekov are unknown. Smolenkov went missing alongside his wife and three children while on holiday in Montenegro in 2017. His is accused of being a high-level informant for the CIA. Smolenkov has been described as a close presidential aide, who was reportedly fired in 2016. At the time, diplomatic relations between Montenegro and Russia were strained after Moscow was accused of plotting a coup in Podgorica. Smolensk reportedly fled on a yacht to Italy and then flew to the US, where he bought a house in Virginia.

North Korean fisherman dies in Russian custody

A North Korean fisherman being held in Russia on charges of poaching has reportedly died whilst in custody. According to reports, the man was one of six men who were injured resisting arrest when Russian border forces detained a large group of North Korean fishermen thought to be poaching illegally in Russian waters. Two North Korean fishing boats have been seized and some 161 fishermen have been detained by Russia this week; however, violent clashes broke out when the crew of one of the boats resisted arrest with an armed attack on the Russian forces, leaving six fishermen and three Russian guards wounded.

Regional court sentences six affiliated to the Jehovah's Witness

A regional court in Saratov has sentenced six people affiliated with the Jehovah's Witness. Sentences ranging between two and three-and-half years were handed to several members of the Christian denomination, which has been banned in Russia back in 2017. The group has previously been labelled as extremist. Reuters reported that more than 250 Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia are currently facing criminal charges - the religious group is estimated to have around 170,000 followers in Russia. Rights groups condemned the court ruling, which put into question guarantees for religious freedom in the country.

Police officer killed in Moscow gunfight

A Russian police officer has reportedly been killed and a second police officer has been wounded in a gunfight which broke out in Moscow on Wednesday. Local reports claim that they had been trying to apprehend a fellow police officer, who was suspected of accepting bribes. It's believed an altercation broke out when the suspect resisted arrest and a crossfire was exchanged which left one police officer dead and a second injured. The suspect has since been detained as investigations get underway.

Two terror suspects killed in Kabardino-Balkaria

At least two suspected terrorists have been killed during a security operation in Kabardino-Balkaria. A raid operation was reportedly carried out during the early hours of Wednesday morning in the Chegem area of the republic to target a suspected religious extremist group thought to be operating out of the region. According to reports, the two suspects were shot dead during the counter-terror raid after resisting arrest. It's believed the pair had been planning to carry out unspecified acts of terrorism.

Gas blast reported in major laboratory complex in Koltsovo, Novosibirsk

A gas explosion has been reported at a laboratory complex in the Siberian region of Novosibirsk. Reports indicate that the fire broke out on Monday during renovation works at a sanitary inspection wing of the State Scientific Center Vector in Koltsovo. According to an official statement, a worker was injured. It has been confirmed that no exposure to biohazardous material has occurred. The facility, which is one of the main disease research centres in Russia, is known for storaging a number of viruses.

Clash reported between North Korean vessel and Russian border guards

A clash has been reported between a North Korean fishing boat and Russian border security guards in the Sea of Japan. Preliminary reports from Twitter indicate that a Russian border security vessel was attacked by the crew of a North Korean-flagged fishing boat on Tuesday. At least three Russian border guards have allegedly been injured in the skirmish. It's believed the crew of the fishing boat have since been detained. It's possible the clash was triggered by illegal fishing activity in Russian waters by the North Korean vessel. Just last week, Japan lodged a complaint with North Korea after crew members of a North Korean fishing boat allegedly pointed guns at a Japanese border security boat near Japanese fishing waters.

Several killed in road accident in Yaroslavl

At least nine people have been killed and dozens of others have been injured in a road accident in Yaroslavl, north of Moscow. According to local media, the accident happened when a lorry drove towards a bus travelling in the opposite direction. Preliminary reports indicate that the crash occurred on Saturday morning on the main highway between Yaroslavl and Ivanovo.

Protesters detained in Buryatia

At least 17 protesters have been arrested by the Russian authorities in Buryatia. According to reports, the detainees had been participating in a demonstration which had been organised to call for a local election to be re-done. Protesters first congregated in Ulan-Ude's Sovetov Square on Wednesday and had allegedly camped out in a bus overnight. Some protesters have claimed that the police used tear gas to disperse the crowds, while police officers have also made similar claims against protesters. Sixteen of those detained have since been released, with just one person still in police custody.

United Russia suffers significant hit in regional and local elections

Ruling party United Russia has suffered a significant hit to its majority after the local and regional elections were held nationwide on Sunday. Russians headed to the polls to elect regional and municipal representatives across 85 regions and cities across Russia. Preliminary results show that United Russia secured at least 26 seats at the 45-seat parliament in Moscow, while the Communist Party became the second-largest force in the Duma with 13 seats - United Russia previously had 40 seats. United Russia's losses may be linked to a number of members opting to run as independent and as part of widespread protests that engulfed the capital for several weeks. This was the first vote in Moscow in which online voting was tested. Although the process was peaceful, a number of irregularities and allegations emerged. Russia's communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, accused Google and Facebook of meddling in the election by allowing political ads. Problems were also identified on the online voting system, which was temporarily shut down due to technical issues. Although United Russia continues to hold a majority in most municipal and regional parliaments, the opposition considered the results a success.

Dozens arrive in Moscow as part of historical prisoners swap with Ukraine

Dozens of Russian nationals have been released in a historical prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia. In total, 35 Russian nationals arrived at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport. Contrary to the Ukrainian government, Russia has not yet published a full list of those transferred back to Moscow. However, among them is Volodymyr Tsemakh, known for heading the air defence force of Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine. He is among the main suspects in the internationally-led investigation on the MH17 plane crash. The Netherlands has strongly criticised Ukraine for including Tsemakh on the list.

Blogger sentenced for inciting violence against police officer's children

A 30-year-old blogger has been sentenced for five years in prison for inciting violence against the children of police officers. In a court hearing on Monday, Vladislav Sinitsa was sentenced for publishing on social media a controversial message amid widespread protests in Moscow. The case relates to a group of protesters that used facial-recognition to identify police officers deployed during the protests. According to the police, the message was written after Sinitsa was asked about the use of the images collected. He said: “They’ll look at their cute, happy family photos, study their geo-location, and then the child of the valiant defender of public order will not come home from school one day. Instead, a compact disc with a snuff video will arrive by post". Moscow has faced widespread street protests after an electoral court banned several candidates from running in the upcoming local elections in September.

Major demonstration to take place in Moscow

A major protest is scheduled to take place in Moscow on Saturday. Demonstrators are expected to gather around the Christye Prudy Metro Station from 14:00 local time. Protesters are set to march towards Pushkin Square. An intense police presence is expected as the protest has not been authorised. In recent months, frequent demonstrations have been reported across Moscow. Although most of them are peaceful, some have suddenly turned violent.

Jailed Ukrainian filmmaker transferred amid alleged prisoner swap plans

Russian media reported that a jailed Ukrainian filmmaker has been transferred to Moscow amid alleged preparations of a prisoner swap with Ukraine. Oleg Sentsov has been detained since 2015 for charges linked to terrorism. He denied the charges and claimed that they are politically motivated. Sentsov is known for being an avid critic to the Crimean annexation to Russia back in 2014. He was reportedly detained at a remote prison in the Arctic. Reports of Sentsov's transfer came just after a Russian journalist was released on bail. Kirill Vyshinsky was accused of supporting Russian pro-separatist groups. Reuters reported that allegations of a prisoner swap have not been officially confirmed by either the Ukrainian or the Russian government.

Fresh demonstration scheduled in Moscow ahead of mayoral vote

Moscow is set to face fresh demonstrations amid a wave of civil unrest ahead of the mayoral elections in September. Protesters are set to gather at Sakharov Prospect near Garden Ring Road on Saturday 17 August. The demonstration is expected to kick off at 11:00 local time. Further protests may also occur across the Boulevard Ring Road during the afternoon. The demonstration has been authorised by the local authorities and is expected to remain peaceful. Nevertheless, people have been advised to avoid the area, as the protest will still cause significant disruption and - as with most protests - could escalate quickly and without warning. A wave of protests has been reported in Moscow since the local electoral court banned some opposition candidates from running. Earlier this week, a city court has overturned the ban against a candidate of the opposition Yabloko party.

Scores injured in emergency landing near Moscow

At least 23 people have been injured after a passenger aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing near Moscow. Russian media reported that 234 passengers and crew members were on board the Ural Airlines flight that departed from Zhukovsky International Airport (ZIA). In a statement, Ural Airlines confirmed that the flight to the Crimean city of Simferopol was grounded after several birds caused extensive damage to both engines of the aircraft.

City court overturns electoral ban against opposition candidate

A local court in Moscow has overturned the local electoral commission decision to bar the bid of Sergei Mitrokhin in the city's upcoming legislative elections. TASS news agency reported that the court ruled in favour of the candidate for the centrist Yabloko party, which already has three candidates registered. In July, the electoral commission barred dozens of candidates aspiring to run for a seat in the Moscow city council for reportedly failing to gather enough support. Since then, weekly protests have engulfed Moscow and major cities. Opposition leaders have also taken part in the demonstrations. In September, residents of Moscow will vote to elect 45 members of the Moscow City Duma, which is currently controlled by President Vladimir Putin's United Russia.

FSB raid office of rights organisation in Moscow

Armed officers of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) have reportedly raided offices of a rights groups in Moscow. Reuters reported that FSB agents targeted an office of the Dutch-based Russian Justice Initiative and Astreya, which often work to assist Russian nationals in cases at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). A group's spokeswoman claimed that the officers seized mobile phones and took photos of employees' passports. In 2015, the Russian government adopted the so-called Russian undesirable organisations law, which could prosecute and shut down foreign organisations.

Weather agency confirms massive radiation spike after blast in Severodinsk

Russia's weather service, Rosgidromet, has confirmed a spike in radiation levels in the northern city of Severodinsk. A week after a powerful explosion was reported at a military facility in the Oblast of Arkhangelsk, Russian officials stated that radiation levels reaching up to 16 times higher than usual were reported in multiple areas across Severodinsk. Five engineers of the state nuclear agency Rosatom died in the blast. Although the ministry of defence confirmed that radiation levels have returned to normal, local authorities claimed that the city has suffered from a slight spike in radiation levels.

Fire breaks out at military facility in Arkhangelsk

A fire has broke out at a military facility near Arkhangelsk, north-western Russia. Interfax reported that at least five people have been killed and that local authorities have confirmed the incident. Russian news agency TASS reported that the fire broke out at a military base in Severodvinsk. It is still unclear what the circumstances behind the incident are. Reports released later showed that the victims were nuclear scientists that were testing a rocket engine. This is the second incident reported at a Russian military facility in less than a week. In Krasnoyarsk, more than 11,000 people were ordered to evacuate after a massive blast was reported at a Siberian military base.

Thousands evacuated after explosion at military base in Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk

At least a dozen people have been taken to several hospitals after a powerful explosion was reported at an ammo depot in Krasnoyarsk, south-eastern Russia. Local media reported that several blasts happened on Monday at a military base in the Siberian region. Achinsk district officials said that over 11,000 people living in a 20-kilometre radius from the base were evacuated. RFELR reported that a major aluminium producer in a nearby plant temporarily shut down operations. Russian News Agency TASS reported that one person has died and that a state of emergency has been declared in Achinsk.

Estonia not to recognise Russian passports issued in Ukraine's separatist regions

Estonia's Foreign Minister Urman Reinsalu has announced that Estonia will not recognise Russian passports issued in separatist regions of eastern Ukraine. In a statement released on Monday, Reinsalu said: "Granting expedited Russian citizenship to the residents of eastern Ukraine is another attempt to undermine the independence of Ukraine and perpetuate the current unstable security situation in eastern Ukraine. It goes completely against the spirit of the Minsk agreements." The measure will affect passports issued to non-Russian citizens before late-April 2019, which is the date when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to expedite citizenship requests from Ukrainians living in Luhansk and Donetsk. Estonia already applies a similar measure on those from the annexed region of Crimea. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and a number of areas around the Donbas region are under the control of Russian-backed rebels.

Hundreds detained in new protest over electoral ban in Moscow

More than 800 people have been detained after a new anti-government protest took place in Moscow. Thousands marched across the capital amid a series of demonstrations against an electoral ban to several opposition candidates ahead of the upcoming local elections in September. AFP reported that the protest had spread across several neighbourhoods in Moscow. Several opposition candidates have been barred from running for a seat in parliament after the local electoral commission declared that the signatures they gathered for support were invalid. Last week, more than 1,000 protesters were also arrested.

Russia hit with fresh US sanctions over Skripal poisoning in the UK

Russia has been hit with fresh US sanctions over the alleged Russian involvement in the poisoning against Sergei Skripal in the UK. The US Department of State has said that the measure comes under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act. Among the sanctions, they include a prohibition on US banks "from participating in the primary market for non-ruble denominated bonds issued by the Russian sovereign and lending non-ruble denominated funds to the Russian sovereign". It also stresses that the US "will oppose the extension of any loan or financial or technical assistance to Russia by international financial institutions, such as the World Bank or International Monetary Fund." The sanctions will be in place for 12 months. Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned at a restaurant in the British town of Salisbury in early-2018. Both have already recovered after intensive care. Russia has long denied any involvement. The incident heightened diplomatic tensions between Russia and several European countries.

Military deployed to tackle wildfires across Siberia and Far East

President Vladimir Putin has ordered a military deployment to assist fire-fighting efforts in the Siberia and Far East regions. It is estimated that more than three million hectares of land have already been consumed, while a state of emergency is still in place in several areas in both regions. Some isolated villages located in Krasnoyarsk, Sakha Republic and Irkutsk are being affected as the smoke has significantly affected air quality in some urban areas. Some flights that cross through those regions are also being reportedly affected.  In a statement, the defence ministry said: "After four days of work in the Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk regions, the Russian air force has managed to extinguish forest fires on an area of 753,000 hectares".

Fresh protests scheduled to take place in Moscow

Protests are expected to take place on Saturday afternoon in Moscow. Demonstrators will march along the city's ring road and gather in the Nikitskiye Vorota, Pokorvskiya Vorota, Trubnaya Square, Turgenevskaya Square and Novopushinsky Park. The march is scheduled to kick off at 14:00 local time. Last week, more than 1,000 people were detained after a protest took place in Moscow. Among those detained was opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Several demonstrations have been taking place in the Russian capital after independent candidates were barred from running in the city's council election. Heavy police presence and roadblocks are expected on Saturday's protests. Travellers are recommended to avoid protest areas as tensions may escalate.

US withdraws from Cold War-era INF treaty

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced America's withdrawal from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). After decades of accusations from both the US and Russia over each other's violations to the INF, both countries are currently putting an end to the treaty. Pompeo said: "With the full support of our Nato allies, the United States has determined Russia to be in material breach of the treaty, and has subsequently suspended our obligations under the treaty". Russia has also  The INF was signed back in 1987. It banned ground-launched nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic. It also banned cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres raised concerns over the INF withdrawal and claimed that "this will likely heighten, not reduce, the threat posed by ballistic missiles."

State of emergency declared over wildfires in Siberia and Far East

A state of emergency has been declared in areas across several regions in Siberia and the Far East. According to the Russian Aerial Forest Protection Service, the measure has been implemented in the regions of Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk. Additionally, several areas in the Buryatia and Yakutia republics are also on alert. It is estimated that nearly three million hectares of land have already been consumed by wildfires so far this year. 

Russian tanker seized in Ukraine over Kerch Strait incident

A Russian tanker has been seized for its alleged involving in last November's Kerch Strait incident. Reuters reported that the Nika Spirit was detained just after entering the Ukrainian port of Izmail, located on the border with Romania. Russia's government said that the Nika Spirit's seizure will have serious consequences. Last November, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) seized three Ukrainian Navy vessels and detained more than two dozen crew members. Ukraine confirmed that there were counter-intelligence officers of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) amongst the sailors detained. 

North Korea detains crew of Russian fishing vessel

The crew of a Russian fishing vessel have reportedly been detained by the North Korean authorities. According to reports, North Korean border guards detained 15 Russian and two South Korean crew members from the Xianghailin-8 ship, owned by the Northeast Fishery Company based in Nevelsk, Russia. The crew were allegedly detained last week and are currently being held at a hotel in the North Korean city of Wonsan, where the ship has also been held. The North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs has claimed that the crew and ship were detained for "violating the rules of entry and stay" in North Korean territory. Negotiations between Russian, North Korean, and South Korean representatives are said to be underway to secure the crew's safe release. Russia has maintained relatively close ties with North Korea as one of its main trading partners.

LGBT activist killed in St Petersburg

The body of 41-year-old Yelena Grigoryeva, prominent LGBT activist, has been found in St Petersburg, sparking a murder investigation. It's believed the activist died after being stabbed multiple times and strangled. Her body was discovered near her St Petersburg home. A suspect has allegedly been arrested in connection with the killing. According to the BBC, Grigoryeva had allegedly received death threats recently, although it currently remains unclear if her murder is linked to her activism. Last year, dozens of LGBT activists were arrested amidst a banned protest in St Petersburg, while legislation was passed in 2013 which outlawed 'gay propaganda'.

Typhoon warning issued in Far East

A typhoon warning has been issued in Russia's Far East, where a high alert regime has been launched in at least four regions. Typhoon Danas is forecast to hit the area this week, with the high alert to remain in place until Saturday 27 July. According to reports, the typhoon is approaching the region from the Sea of Japan and is expected to bring severe heavy rainfall, accompanied with strong winds. Widespread disruption is likely to affect large parts of the region throughout the next few days.

Thousands take part in mass protest in Moscow

More than 20,000 people took to the streets of Moscow ahead of the local elections in September. Protesters marched across the capital to demand free and fair elections after dozens of candidates were barred from running for a seat in the Moscow city council. The march was endorsed by several opposition leaders, including Alexei Navalny, an avid critic to President Vladimir Putin. The opposition has threatened to launch another march on Saturday. According to the police, fewer than 12,000 people took part in the protest. The opposition claims that some disqualifications - which are alleged to have included fake signatures, names of dead people and other irregularities - are a fabrication to benefit members of President Putin's United Russia party.

Dozens barred from running in Moscow local elections

Dozens of candidates aspiring to run for a seat in the Moscow city council have been barred from running for failing to gather enough support. The local electoral commission has accepted the bid of 233 candidates to fill 45 seats in the city council, while 57 candidates in total were barred. Thousands of demonstrators have been staging rallies since Sunday to protest the measure. The opposition claim that some disqualifications - which are alleged to have included fake signatures, names of dead people and other irregularities - are a fabrication to benefit members of loyal to President Vladimir Putin. A protest is scheduled to occur on Saturday. Moscow is holding its local elections in September. Moscow City Duma is currently controlled by United Russia party.

Several killed as jeep flips over river in Tuva

Ten people have died after a jeep overturned while attempting to cross a river in the Siberian region of Tuva. Reuters reported that at least six children were inside the vehicle when the accident occurred on Friday. According to the police, the accident happened on the Shui River in the remote Bai-Taiginsky district.

Government approves construction of 2,000-kilometre highway in southern Russia

The Russian government has approved a massive infrastructure project aimed at easing road freight transportation through central Asia. Local media reported that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has approved the so-called Meridian Highway, which will span 2,000 kilometres from the border of Belarus to Kazakhstan. Reports suggest that the toll road will be mostly privately-funded and cost up to 600 billion rubles ($9.5bn). The Meridian Highway is being built to facilitate road connection between China and Europe, providing Russian support for China's global One Belt One Road (OBOR) project. The highway is expected to become an alternative cargo route from the Suez Canal in Egypt and the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Air passenger communications between Russia and Georgia closed

Air passenger communications between Russia and Georgia have been closed as tensions between both countries remain high. As part of a ban signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in mid-June, the measure comes after a wave of unrest engulfed the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. At the time, protests have engulfed the city after a Russian politician hosted a session at the Georgian parliament. The move has forced the resignation of parliament speaker Irakli Kobakhidze. Connections between Russia and Georgia were mostly offered by Georgian Airways and MyWay Airlines. Russian airlines included Aeroflot, S7, Ural Airlines, Pobeda, Red Wings and Nordavia. The ban is feared to have a significant impact on the Georgian multi-billion-dollar tourism industry. A spokesman of the Russian transport ministry said: "The suspension of flights will remain in effect until Georgian Airways and MyWay Airlines provide Russia with an aviation safety program that will have to be audited and approved. At the same time, Georgia needs to fully settle its debt related to air navigation services".

Several crew members killed in submersible fire off Murmansk

At least 14 crew members have been killed in a fire on a deep-sea Russian research submersible. According to the ministry of defence, those aboard died after inhaling hazardous fumes. The vessel was undertaking a military survey in Russian territorial waters when the fire broke out. Reports show that the vessel was based in Severomorsk in the northern region of Murmansk. Reuters reported that the incident happened on Monday and that the vessel was returned to the Russian Northern Fleet's base on the Barents Sea.

Russian airlines cancel flights to and from Prague after permits revoked

Aeroflot and Ural Airlines have suspended flight operations between Moscow and Vaclav Havel Airport Prague (PFG) until further notice, because the Czech Civil Aviation Authority has revoked the permits for the airlines.  Passengers are advised to check with their airline prior to travel, and to consider flying with other carriers.

State of emergency declared due to floods in Irkutsk

A state of emergency was declared after at least seven people were killed and nine others reported missing in the Siberian region of Irkutsk. Local authorities said that flooding damaged over 300 houses and affected 10,000 people as severe weather battered the region for days. Some roads and bridges were also damaged, significantly limiting traffic to and from major cities. Russia's central government already announced the allocation of funds to aid the victims.

Two killed in Nizhneangarsk Airport crash landing

On 27 June, the captain and the flight engineer of an Angara Airlines flight were killed when the aircraft made an emergency crash landing at Nizhneangarsk Airport (UIUN) in Siberia.  According to preliminary reports, the aircraft had suffered an engine malfunction and tried to land but veered off the runway and collided with a building.  The resulting fire completely destroyed the aircraft.  Seven of the 42 passengers on board were also injured in the incident

Offshore earthquake strikes near Kamchatka Krai

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake has been recorded off the coast of Kamchatka Krai at a depth of 10 km.  The incident happened at around 21:00 local time, and there were no reports of damage or casualties.  No tsunami warning was issued, but aftershocks are possible and individuals in the area are advised to monitor the situation.

Russian authorities seize two cruise ships leased to Canadian-based company

Two specialised cruise ships leased to a Canadian company have reportedly been seized by the Russian authorities. One Ocean Expedition (OOE) has said that two of their vessels leased from Russia were seized after being taken to Kaliningrad. Both vessels, the MV Akademik Ioffe and MV Akademik Sergey, were taken to the Russian enclave back in May - according to vessel-tracker Marine Traffic, both ships were moored in Kaliningrad as of mid-May. OOE said that it has already filed a legal complaint. The vessels were leased in 2011 and 2012. They are used in OOE's Arctic and Antarctic expeditions.

Dozens of ethnic Roma families leave Chemodanovka after mass brawl

Dozens of ethnic Roma families have been reportedly forced to leave a village in western Russia after a mass brawl led to the death of a 34-year-old man. Reports suggest that more than 100 people took part in a massive confrontation in the town of Chemodanovka, Penza region. A local community leader said that the families were evicted from the town, while other reports suggest that they fled after tensions escalated. Governor Ivan Belozetsev accused the US of being behind the dissemination of fake news that reportedly led to the incident. Nearly 30 people were arrested for involvement in the clashes.

Lower house approve bill to repeal INF treaty

Russia's lower house of Congress, Duma, has approved a bill to repeal the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). The move comes after a request from President Vladimir Putin in response to the US decision to scrap the Cold War-era treaty. The INF is a bilateral agreement signed back in 1987 between the US and the USSR. US President Donald Trump said in February that the US would repeal the treaty within six months. Both countries have often accused each other of not abiding by INF guidelines. Tensions increased after the US demanded Russia to destroy one of its missiles. Under the INF, both nations were ordered to destroy and cease the production of medium and short-range missiles.

Hundreds detained in Moscow during protest to support jailed journalist

Hundreds of protesters have reportedly been detained during a demonstration in central Moscow. Protesters took to the streets to demand justice for the arrest of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, who was recently released after the police dropped drug charges against him. Reuters reported that at least 200 people were arrested, while local rights organisations claim that numbers may surpass 400 arrests. Golunov was arrested last week. His detention generated condemnation from several journalist and rights organisations in Russia and across Europe.

Three missing after blast on oil tanker in Makhachkala port

Three people have been reported missing after a blast hit an oil tanker in Makhachkala, southern Russia. According to official sources, a fire broke out after the explosion. It is still unclear what caused the blast at the city's commercial port. However, Russian media reported that the blast may have happened in the vessel's engine room. Makhachkala is located along the Caspian Sea and is the capital of the Dagestan region.

Russian anti-corruption journalist arrested for drug offenses

A Russian journalist has been detained for alleged drug offences in Moscow. Ivan Golunov was arrested on Thursday afternoon after the police found drugs at his apartment and in his rucksack. Golunov's lawyer denied any wrongdoing and said that his client has been framed. Golunov is a well-known reporter known for addressing anti-corruption news in Moscow. He works for the Latvia-based online news Meduza. His defence alleges that he was detained for his journalist work.

Protesters clash with police in Shiyes, Arkhangelsk

Violent clashes between protesters and Russian police officers have broken out in Shiyes, Arkhangelsk. According to reports, a group of around 50 activists had gathered outside a planned landfill site in Shiyes to protest against it, forming a human barrier around the construction site, preventing workers from entering. Riot police were allegedly deployed in response, sparking clashes. No casualties have been reported thus far.

Scores injured after blast at explosive factory in Dzerzhinsk

At least 79 people have been injured when a powerful blast hit a major explosives factory in Dzerzhinsk, near Nizhny Novgorod. According to health authorities, most of those affected were local residents, while nearly 40 employees were also treated at the scene. Reports suggest that dozens of houses suffered minor damages. Local authorities initially declared a state of emergency in the areas located around the factory, which is operated by Kristall. The city is located around 400km east of Moscow.

Two terror suspects killed in police raid

Two suspected terrorists have been killed in a counter-terrorism operation in Vladimir Oblast. The police carried out a raid on a residential property in the Kolchugino area on Wednesday morning, killing two suspected Islamic State (IS) militants. Local residents were allegedly evacuated after the security forces were fired upon by the suspects, leading to a crossfire in which two suspects were killed. Various weapons and explosive material were found at the site of the clash.

Avalanche kills seven tourists in Altai

At least seven tourists have been killed in an avalanche in the Siberian region of Altai. Official reports revealed that the avalanche happened near the Kosh-Agach area, where two survivors called for assistance. Reuters reported that the tourists were Russian nationals from Novosibirsk. According to local media, the tourists started their trip on the South Chuya mountain range earlier this month and were planning to stay in the region for at least two weeks.

Scores killed as burning plane makes emergency landing in Moscow

At least 41 people have been killed after a burning Aeroflot aircraft made an emergency landing at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO). Reports suggest that the plane returned to the airport just moments after taking off to Murmansk, northern Russia, on Sunday afternoon. Official reports say that at least six other people were taken to hospital. It is still unclear what caused the fire at the Sukhoi SSJ100 aircraft. Preliminary reports suggest that the fire broke out mid-air. Arrivals and departures from SVO may be affected throughout the evening and Monday morning. Travellers are advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines.

Government passes law to increase internet control

The government has formally adopted a law to allow them to take more control of their domestic internet.  The move comes in a bid to restrict traffic sent by its' citizens to stay within its' cyber borders instead of travelling across international networks.  According to the authorities, the law is needed because of ongoing threats from other nations to retaliate over Russian meddling in elections and politics, but it also lets regulators exert direct control over what citizens can see, post and discuss online where national security is involved.  Russian firms have until 1 November to comply with the law, and there were widespread protests to try and stop the legislation.  Critics have said that it is part of an effort to set up mass censorship, particularly about sensitive subjects, and follows a law making it illegal to "disrespect" government.  

Dagestani minister jailed for embezzlement

Dagestan's economic and territorial development minster, Osman Khasbulatov, has been placed in pre-trial detention, two days after he was arrested at Makhachkala Airport.  He is charged with embezzling more than 20 million rubles in 2015, by organizing a criminal group to supply goods and services to the state at inflated prices in relation to the equipping of a municipal services building.  

Two killed in Kalinka aircraft training incident

On 27 April, the authorities reported that two people had been killed, when a Yak-18 training aircraft crashed in the Khabarovsk district near the Kalinka airfield.  According to reports, the incident happened at 15: local time, but no further information was available. 

Russia approves bill to ease citizenship requests of residents in eastern Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that would facilitate people in eastern Ukraine to receive Russian citizenship. The bill was published on Wednesday and seeks to grant residents in some areas in Luhansk, Donetsk and Crimea the right to become Russian citizens. Previously, those seeking to become Russian nationals were requested to live at least five years in Russia before applying. With the new law, citizenship requests will be processed within three months. The EU, Germany and the US condemned the new law, while Ukraine's President-elect Volodymyr Zalenskiy accused Russia of hindering peace efforts. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, while a number of areas around the Donbas region are under control of Russian-backed rebels.

President Putin to meet with North Korean leader

Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Russia. According to reports, Kim is expected to travel via train across the shared border to meet Putin in Vladivostok, in the Far East of Russia. The meeting will take place on Thursday 25 April and the two leaders are due to discuss North Korea's nuclear program.

Russia officially ceases cooperation with NATO

Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko announced on Monday that Russia has ceased all cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), saying that "NATO has itself abandoned a positive agenda in its' relations with Russia". The alliance suspended military and civilian cooperation with Russia in 2014 after the annexation of the Crimean peninsula, and tensions have also risen over a naval standoff in the Kerch Strait and the US withdrawal from a cold-war-era nuclear treaty.  Mr Grushko's announcement comes a day after US military officers expressed concern that a lack of communication between Russia and the US could lead to nuclear war by "mistake or miscalculation".  

Norwegian border guard jailed for espionage

A Moscow court has sentenced a former guard on the Norwegian-Russian border to 14 years in a labour camp, finding him guilty of collecting information on Russian nuclear submarines.  Frode Berg, who is a 63-year-old Norwegian national, has admitted to acting as a courier for Norwegian intelligence, but has denied any further involvement. He has been held in captivity since December.  A Russian national accused of supplying information to him has been jailed for treason.  

Lower house approves controversial cyber-security bill

Russia's lower house of parliament has overwhelmingly approved a second reading of the so-called digital sovereignty bill, which seeks to strengthen the country's cyber-security policies. In a vote held on Thursday, the bill garnered 320 votes in favour and 15 against. Among many measures, the bill will allow the rerouting of Russian internet traffic from foreign servers. While the opposition claims that the bill will enhance state powers to censor internet content, the government argues that it will allow Russia to become independent and less reliant on foreign web infrastructures. It is set to become law in early-November.

Russian director accused of embezzlement released from home arrest

Russian film and theatre director Kirill Serebrennikov has been released from house arrest. A court in Moscow has ruled that Serebrennikov may leave his residence but may not leave the city. A lower court has previously requested a three-month extension on his arrest. He has been detained for allegedly embezzling up to two million dollars. Serebrennikov denied any wrongdoing and said that the money was used lawfully. He was the head of the state-funded Gogol Centre Theatre and is known for his controversial adaptations of Russian classics. Three of his co-defendants were already released on Monday and last May.

Two killed in Moscow apartment fire

Two fatalities have been reported following a deadly blaze in an apartment building in the capital city of Moscow over the weekend. According to reports, the fire broke out on Sunday, in an apartment which was part of a complex on Kropotkinsky Lane. Firefighters responded to the incident, successfully rescuing four people from the upper floors, although it was later confirmed that two had perished in the fire.

Several injured in blast at military academy in St Petersburg

At least four people have been injured after an explosion at a military academy in St Petersburg. Russian defence ministry told state media that an unidentified object went off at the Mozhaysky Military Space Academy. Reports suggest that the unknown device hit an administrative building. AFP reported that the academy was evacuated, while it is still unclear what the circumstances behind the incident are.

Boeing flight makes emergency landing

A Boeing 737-800 has made an emergency landing in northern Russia following a suspected engine failure. The plane was travelling from the Siberian town of Mirny to the capital, Moscow, when it experienced difficulties and landed in the city of Syktyvkar. The incident comes days after a 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed in Ethiopia, killing 157 people and prompting Boeing to ground the entire global fleet.

Court upholds arrest of former US marine accused of espionage

A court has upheld the arrest of a former US marine accused of espionage. Paul Whelan has been accused of spying for US interests. He has been detained since December after a trip to Moscow to visit a Russian friend. Whelan was arrested at his hotel room just after reportedly receiving a memory stick containing classified information. Whelan claims that he was set up and that the charges are a fabrication. He is set to be arrested until at least May. Whelan is a security director for a US-based company. Besides being a US national, he also holds passports from Ireland, Canada and the UK.

Thousands protest controversial cyber-security bill in Moscow

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Moscow to protest a controversial cyber-security bill. Demonstrators gathered on Sunday at Moscow's Prospekt Sakharova street after lawmakers approved the first steps to strengthen Russia's cyber-security policies. A new vote is set to take place later in the month before President Vladimir Putin approves the bill. The so-called digital sovereignty bill seeks to reroute Russian web traffic from foreign servers. The government claims that the bill will allow Russia to become independent and less reliant on foreign web infrastructures. In recent months, protesters have accused the government of attempting to further control the internet and web data. Roskomnadzor, the country's internet watchdog, has been recently responsible for blocking some websites and messaging services.

Ukrainian archbishop freed in Crimea

A Ukrainian archbishop has been freed by the Russian authorities in Crimea. Archbishop Kliment of Simferopol was reportedly arrested by Russian police in Simferopol over the weekend as he made his way to the court hearing of a Ukrainian citizen being tried for terrorism against Russia. Kliment is the region's top clergyman of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and was accused of stealing silverware from the church and swearing at a bus stop. The archbishop was released without charge on Monday after being detained for around 24 hours, and has since claimed Russia was trying to tarnish his reputation.

Two killed in Moscow light plane crash

Two deaths have been reported following an accident involving a light aircraft in the Kolomensky district of Moscow. The plane reportedly crashed in the Ulitsa Podlipki area of Kolomna on Thursday, some 40 minutes after it had set off from an airfield in Severka. The cause of the accident remains unclear as the emergency services attend the scene and investigations are launched.

Heavy snow causes delays at Moscow's Airport

On 22 February, severe flight disruptions have been reported at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO).  Some flights have been diverted to other airports, and it is likely that because of cancellations, disruption is likely to continue for at least 24 hours.  Passengers should contact their airline before travelling to the airport and allow extra time for any journeys.  

Building at University of St Petersburg collapses

A building at the St Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics (ITMO), collapsed on Saturday.  According to reports the five-storey building collapsed from the fifth to the second floors.  Eighty people were evacuated, but according to preliminary reports there were  no injuries.  The cause of the collapse remains unclear, but it is understood that renovations were taking place at the time of the incident.

Events held to commemorate end of Afghan war

Events and gatherings are expected in several Russian cities on Friday to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the end of the the former Soviet Union's war in Afghanistan.  Some traffic disruptions are likely.

Experiment may lead to disconnection from global internet

Russian news agency RosBiznesKonsalting (RBK) has reported that the authorities are considering disconnecting Russia from the global internet as part of an experiment.  Russian parliament passed a law in December which demands that internet providers in the country guarantee the independence of Russian internet space in the case of foreign aggression.  No date for the experiment has been given, but it is expected to take place before April.  The Russian government has been working on the project for years, with a plan to route 95 percent of all internet traffic locally by 2020.  NATO countries have said that they are considering a response to cyber attacks, with Russia often being accused of carrying them out.  

Demonstration to take place in Samara on 10 February

A demonstration is scheduled to be held in Samara on 10 February, to protest about the restriction of minibus services in the Krasnoglinksy district of the city.  Municipal services still serve the area, but residents claim that the decision has resulted in overcrowding.

Government allocates additional funds to healthcare facilities

On 8 February, the Russian government announced that it had approved a decree to invest 70.7 billion rubles for the construction and renovation of healthcare facilities across the country.  The budget is to be used between 2019 and 2021.

One killed in Tikhov coal mine explosion

One person has been killed and three others injured in an explosion at the Tikhov coal mine in Kuzbass on 8 February.  An investigation has been opened as the cause of the incident is unknown.  

Bomb threats reported in Moscow

The Evropeisky Shopping Centre, the Kievsky railway station and the Embassy of Afghanistan in Moscow were all evacuated on Wednesday following anonymous bomb threats.  The incidents follow similar threats on 5 February when more than 40,000 people nationwide were affected.  Authorities attributed a wave of similar incidents in 2018 to Islamic State.  

Russia ordered to pay family of murdered Minister

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ordered Russia to pay compensation to the family of Chechen Deputy Minister for Emergency Situations, who was killed in a conflict with military personnel in 2002.  Ruslan Yunusov was fatally wounded in  Grozny when conflict broke out between his subordinates and federal servicemen during a special operation.  After the incident, two servicemen were detained, but the investigation was suspended five times, and no trial ever took place.  The court awarded the family 69,000 euros for material and moral damage.  

Seven killed when bus overturns in Smolensk

On Sunday, at least seven people were killed when a bus overturned  between the western city of Smolensk and the Kaluga region.  According to witnesses, the bus came off the road and completely overturned, ending up on its' roof.  Four of those killed were believed to be children, and a further 24 people, many of them minors, were taken to hospital, according to the region's interior ministry.  Preliminary reports indicate that a criminal case has been opened against the driver of the vehicle.  Russia ranks amongst the world's worst countries for road deaths, with many events attributed to alcoholism, poor road conditions and the failure of drivers to follow traffic regulations.

Four killed in Moscow residential fire

On 4 February a major fire broke out at a residential apartment complex on Nikitsky Boulevard in Moscow.  The blaze broke out at around 01:00 local time, and according to preliminary reports, four people were killed and a further four injured.  Over 40 people were evacuated from the building.  Moscow police have opened an investigation into the cause of the fire, which has been provisionally attributed to a faulty gas system..

High profile emails and documents leaked online

On 24 January, numerous hacked emails and documents related to Russian politicians, journalists, oligarchs and religious and social figures were published online.  According to preliminary reports, the material was published by a group called the "Transparency Collective" who are dedicated to "enabling the free transmission of data in the public interest".  

Two cargo ships catch fire off Crimea

Two cargo ships have caught fire off Crimea, sparking rescue operations. The two Tanzanian-flagged cargo ships were transferring fuel near the Kerch Strait when the fire broke out yesterday. According to the BBC, at least 11 fatalities have been confirmed thus far, while 14 others have been rescued. Search operations remain ongoing for a number of sailors who are thought to have jumped overboard when the fire first broke out.

Two jets collide in Far East

Two Su-34 bomber jets have collided in the Far East of Russia during an air exercise. The two jets weren't carrying any ammunition as they took part in a planned training flight over the Sea of Japan. Both crews aboard the jets managed to eject safely and no casualties have been reported. According to reports, the crash happened some 35km out from the coast in the Strait of Tartary, and was caused by the two aircraft making contact mid air during a manoeuvre.

Two killed in anti-homosexual crackdown

At least two people have been killed and some 40 others have been arrested amid a crackdown in Chechnya. According to reports, the crackdown was first launched in December 2018, with the aim of targeting suspected homosexuals in the area. LGBT activists have claimed that two victims allegedly died after being detained and tortured by Chechen authorities, who are supposedly holding detainees at the same facility used during the 2017 anti-gay purge.

Sections of Moscow metro system to close for maintenance

Parts of the Moscow metro system will be closed from 2 to 8 January for routine maintenance.  The Kurskaya-Schelkovskaya and Partizanskaya-Schelkovskaya sections of the blue line will be shut from 6 to 8 January.  The Lermontovsky Prospekt, Julebine and Kotelniki stations on the purple line will be closed from 4 to 8 January.  Replacement buses are available during this period, but travellers are advised to allow extra time for their journeys.  

Death toll in Magnitogorsk blast rises to 31

The death toll in the collapsed apartment block in the city of Magnitogorsk has risen to 31 with around 10 people still missing.  The 11-month-old boy rescued on Tuesday is in a serious but not life-threatening condition in a Moscow hospital.  Officials believe a gas leak was to blame for the blast on New Year's Eve.  The current temperature in the city is -15 centigrade and drops further overnight.

Death toll in Magnitogorsk blast rises to 31

The death toll in the collapsed apartment block in the city of Magnitogorsk has risen to 31 with around 10 people still missing.  The 11-month-old boy rescued on Tuesday is in a serious but not life-threatening condition in a Moscow hospital.  Officials believe a gas leak was to blame for the blast on New Year's Eve.  The current temperature in the city is -15 centigrade and drops further overnight.

Eight killed in blast at apartment block, Magnitogorsk

At least eight people have been killed in an explosion at an apartment block in the central city of Magnitogorsk. Around 36 people are still missing following the blast, which officials said was caused by a gas leak. Temperatures in the city are around -17C, falling even lower overnight.

Surface to air missiles installed in Crimea

On 18 December, Russian military authorities announced that their air defence forces based in Crimea have been armed with S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missiles, which have a range of 400 kilometres.

Law passed on electoral interference

On 18 December, parliament passed a law ruling that foreign interference in any kind of election can lead to deportation.  The crime would be considered a threat to Russia's "constitutional order, defence or security".  In addition, Russian citizens acting on behalf of a banned foreign NGO may be fined, and repeat offenders jailed.

Russian Embassy website hacked

On 17 December, the Russian Embassy in London reported that its' website was hacked, allegedly from the UK.  Reports indicate that the breach involved publications about UK involvement in Ukrainian affairs among other items.  

Students arrested at Moscow University

On 17 December, 12 students were detained when Russian security forces raided a dorm at Moscow University.  According to reports, narcotics and air rifles were seized.  

Moscow airports affected by severe snowstorm

A severe snowstorm has affected Moscow airports causing delays and cancellations.  Travel to and from the airports is also affected.  Passengers are advised to contact their airline for information and allow extra time for their journeys.

Military convoy derails in Omsk region

On 1 December, more than 71 railroad carriages containing military vehicles and equipment derailed in the Omsk region.  No injuries were reported.

Ukrainian President accuses Russia of troop deployment

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said at a military event on Saturday that Russia has deployed more than 80,000 troops and huge weapons resources along their common border.  Tensions between the two have escalated after a naval conflict in the Black Sea on 25 November, in which Russia fired on Ukrainian vessels and then seized them, including their crew.  German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and US Secretary of Defense James Mattis have condemned the Russian move while they are at the G-20 summit in Argentina.  Donald Trump cancelled a planned meeting with Vladimir Putin at the gathering, citing the unresolved stand-off.  A 2003 agreement designates the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait as shared waters, but since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, Moscow has tried to exert greater control over the passageway.  Vladimir Putin has accused Mr Poroshenko of seeking conflict to delay elections, including imposing martial law and restricting the entry of combat-age Russians into Ukraine.

Three suspected extremists killed in Maysky District

On 29 November, three men were killed when they refused to stop at a checkpoint in Maysky District, Kabardino-Blkariya, opening fire on security services.  Police returned fire, killing the men who are believed to be part of a religious extremist cell that was planning to commit a series of attacks against security forces.  One perpetrator was arrested.  

Russian males barred from entering Ukraine

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has announced that Russian males aged between 16 and 60 are barred from entering the country, a restriction he said is intended to prevent Russia from forming "private armies" on Ukrainian territory.  The move comes amid increasing tensions between the countries following the naval incident in the Kerch Strait on Sunday, when Russian ships fired on Ukrainian sailors and captured three ships off the Crimean peninsula.

Thousands evacuated in spate of Moscow bomb threats

On 28 November, a Moscow railway station and almost a dozen shopping centres were evacuated after anonymous bomb threats were received.  The incidents happened at around 12:00 local time.  Thousands of people were evacuated, but no suspicious objects were discovered.  Russia was hit with a spate of similar calls in 2017 during the World Cup, which also turned out to be hoaxes.  

Early-warning radar system to be deployed in Crimea

The Russian authorities have announced their plans to construct a long-range early-waring radar system in Crimea in 2019.  The facility will  monitor airspace against aircraft attacks and ballistic missiles for a range of 3,500 km, and will be built on the site of the former Dnepr radar station near Sevastopol.  

Russia to prosecute Ukranian navy crew

Russia has broadcast television footage of some of the crew of the Ukranian navy vessels captured over the weekend in Crimea, allegedly confessing to intruding into Russian waters.  A court in the Crimean regional capital of Simferopol has remanded 12 of them in custody for two months pending trial on charges of violating the Russian border.  Ukraine has said that its' vessels were operating in line with international maritime rules, while Russia has alleged that they failed to get permission.  A 2003 treaty designated the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov as shared territorial waters, but Russia claimed the strait after annexing Crimea.  Ukraine has demanded that Russia stop using "psychological and physical pressure" on the sailors, and said that the men were "prisoners of war", and displaying them on TV was a crime.  

Magnitude 5.1 earthquake reported in Sakhalin Oblast

On 28 November, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake occurred in the Pacific Ocean in Sakhalin Oblast.  The quake had an epicentre located 267 km from Severo-Kurilsk with a depth of some 79 km.  No tsunami warning was issued.

Russia to deploy surface to air missiles on Crimean peninsula

Amid tensions with Ukraine after they introduced 30 days of martial law, the Russian Defence Ministry has said they will deploy surface-to-air missiles on the Crimean peninsula by the end of the year.  The announcement comes just days after Russia seized three Ukranian navy vessels off the cost of Russian-annexed Crimea.  

Data released for Krasnodar Krai flooding

The authorities have released information about the flooding in Krasnodar Krai which took place between 24 and 26 October.  In total, 722 people were injured, 2,500 houses were damaged and supplies of gas, water and electricity were interrupted.  A state of emergency is still in operation in the area.

Ukraine and Russia in standoff over Crimean waters

On Sunday, tensions between ex-Soviet neighbours Russia and Ukraine were increased after a tugboat of the the Ukranian navy was rammed by a Russian ship as they were leaving the Kerch Strait on a planned transfer from the port of Odesa to the port of Mariupol in the Sea of Azov.  That evening, Russian coast guard ships opened fire on a group of vessels near the peninsula of Crimea, which was annexed four years ago.  Twenty-three Ukranians on board three other boats were captured by Russia near the Kerch Strait and contact with them has been lost.  Russia claims that the Ukranian vessels illegally entered the temporarily closed waters and that the Ukranians had not filed an application for passage.  The Ukranian side said that notification about the transfer plans had been done in advance and in accordance with international rules.  Russia reportedly later placed ships under the Kerch bridge, blocking all commercial shipping through the strait.  The UN Security Council are to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the escalation, while Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko has asked his parliament to vote on whether to impose martial law on the country for two months.  He has said that, despite Russian aggression, he would stick to the Minsk Agreements which are peace deals with Russia and pro-Russian separatists in south-eastern Ukraine that were designed to stop the war that had claimed more than 10,000 lives.

Head of Russian military intelligence agency dies

The Defence Ministry has announced that General Igor Korobov, the head of military intelligence agency GRU has died after a "long and serious illness", aged 62.  The GRU was linked to a nerve agent attack in Britain earlier this year on an ex-Russian spy, allegedly by two GRU operatives that British authorities said was "almost certainly approved by the Russian state".  

Russia loses Interpol presidency to South Korea

Interpol has elected a South Korean as its' president, rejecting the Russian frontrunner, who had been widely tipped to win.  Kim Jong-Yang was chosen by the group's 194 member states at its' annual congress in Dubai, beating Alexandere Prokopchuk, amid concerns that he might use the role to target critics of Russia's President Putin.  The election comes following the disappearance of fomer president Meng Hongwei who vanished on a trip to China in September.  The role of president is largely ceremonial as the day-to-day running of Interpol is led by a Secretary-General.  

Deported Armenian man killed on Moscow runway

A 25-year-old Armenian man who was being deported from Madrid to his home country, was killed on the runway of Moscow airport when he escaped during a stop-over.  The man had caused trouble on the flight from Spain to Moscow, and then left the terminal bus to the Yerevan plane.  The pilot reported that "he had hit an animal" during take off, and since there was no apparent damage to the Boeing 737 aircraft, the flight continued on its' way.  An inspection of the runway at Sheremetyevo airport revealed human remains.

Government critic cleared to leave Russia after barred at airport

Government critic Alexei Navalny has been cleared to leave the country a day after he was barred from boarding a plane at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport. Navalny is heading to France to attend the final stages of a case he filed within the European Cout of Human Rights. He alleges that the successive prison sentences that he faced for taking part in protests are politically motivated. Navalny was stopped by immigration officers after an order of the Federal Bailiffs Service. The federal body claimed that he had outstanding fines, which were reportedly paid after just after the incident.

Snowstorm causes travel disruption in Norilsk

Travel disruption has been reported in the northern city of Norilsk in the Krasnoyarsk Krai region after a snowstorm hit yesterday. Road closures have been enforced along main highways and routes to remote areas have also been severely disrupted. Flight operations at the Alykel Airport were also temporarily suspended due to adverse weather, but have since returned to normal.

Opposition leader barred from leaving the country

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny has reportedly been barred from leaving Russia. Euronews reported that the government critic was detained on Tuesday while going through passport checks at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport. Reports suggest that he was barred due to orders by federal authorities, which may bar Russians from leaving the country due to outstanding debts or fines. Navalny was flying to Germany before heading to the European Court of Human Rights in France, where he submitted a legal case against the government. Navalny was arrested on multiple occasions for attending outlawed protests. He was recently barred from running for office against President Vladimir Putin due to a past conviction.

Taliban attend landmark Russian peace talks

Taliban insurgents have attended landmark peace talks in Russia. It was reported over the weekend, that a group of Taliban representatives attended an international meeting hosted by Russia in Moscow, which aimed to kick-start peace talks following decades of war in Afghanistan. According to the BBC, it's the first time Taliban insurgents have been in attendance at official peace talks, which were also attended by around 12 other countries, including China, Pakistan, Iran, India, and other Central Asian states. The US is said to have had observer status. Members of Afghanistan's High Peace Council - a body overseeing peace efforts but does not represent the Afghan government, which was not in attendance at the Moscow talks in any official manner. The Taliban allegedly reiterated its position that it would only hold direct talks with the US - not Kabul; while Russia has upheld the meeting as a triumph of Russian diplomacy. No immediate results are expected from the Moscow talks.

Chechnya court overrules early release of jailed journalist

Chechneya's Supreme Court has overruled a district court decision to allow the early release of jailed journalist Zhalaudi Geriyev. Gereiyev's lawyers said that the regional Supreme Court has blocked his early-release after his client served more than three-quarters of his three-year sentence. Geriyev is an independent journalist who often reported on human rights violations in the autonomous region. He was arrested back in 2016 for drug-related charges, which he denied. Chechnya is ruled by Ramzan Kadyrov, a close ally to President Vladimir Putin. Rights groups have accused Kadyrov's administration of successively violating Human Rights and targeting government opposition.

Several killed after fire breaks out at a residence in Kemerovo

At least seven people have been killed after a fire broke out in a residential house in the Siberian region of Kemerovo. The emergency services told TASS that most of the victims were children. Reports suggest that the fire broke out overnight on Monday in the town of Yugra.

Six dead and almost 600 injured in Krasnodar Krai floods

Six people have been killed and around 590 injured in floods that struck Krasnodar Krai between 24 and 26 October.  Over 2,500 houses were damaged and utility supplies were interrupted, with some roads and at least one bridge destroyed.  A state of emergency has been declared for the region.


Russia imposes sanctions on Ukraine's political elite

Russia has imposed sanctions on 322 Ukranian individuals as well as 68 organizations amid on-going tensions between Moscow and Kyiv.  The assets of hundreds of politicians and officials as well as dozens of businesses owned by Ukranians were frozen in a decree signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who described the measures as "counter-sanctions".  Kyiv recently imposed its' own financial sanctions on hundreds of Russian individuals and companies.    

Russian Arkhangelsk blast leaves one dead

A 17-year-old has died from his injuries after taking explosives to a Russian FSB federal security service office in the north-western city of Arkhangelsk. Three FSB employees were hurt when the explosives blew up just inside the building at around 09:00 local time (06:00 GMT). The blast caused major damage. It is seen now by officials as a terrorist attack. Governor Igor Orlov said local authorities in Arkhangelsk had taken measures to heighten security in all public buildings.

High-level North Korea-Russia meeting held

A high-level meeting between North Korean and Russian officials has been held in Moscow. According to reports, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Sin Hong-chol met with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov on Tuesday, with the meeting lasting for around three-and-a-half hours. It was speculated that the meeting may have provided an opportunity for Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and it's believed a potential visit by Kim was discussed during the meeting. 

Almost 50 people arrested in unauthorised demonstrations

At least 49 people were arrested in Moscow and St Petersburg on 29 October, for participating in unauthorised demonstrations.  According to local sources the rallies took place to demand the release of 10 people who were detained last year by the Federal Security Service (FSB) for membership of an alleged extremist group.  

IS sleeper cell dismantled in Tatarstan

On 30 October, 18 people were arrested under suspicion of being members of an Islamic State (IS) sleeper cell.  According to preliminary reports, the operation was led by the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Naberezhnye Chelny in Tatarstan, where they seized a weapons cache and IS-linked literature.  The group were allegedly planning to conduct attacks in Russia by recruiting local readicalised fighters.

Italian PM says Russian sanctions should be lifted

Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte said on Wednesday that sanctions against Russia should be lifted.  The European sanctions have been in place since the 2014 Ukraine crisis, and expire in January when they will be up for discussion in Brussels.  Italy is already in conflict with the EU over the country's 2019 budget, which the European Commission says breaks deficit rules.  Conte denied a suggestion that he had asked Russia to buy Italian bonds.

Lawmakers expand scope of ban on foreign NGOs

On Tuesday, Russian lawmakers drafted new legislation that would expand the government's ability to ban foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs), who they accuse of meddling in Russian elections.  And "undesirable" designation would ban them, as well as foreign advocacy groups and news media outlets, from operating inside Russia, with violation punishable by fines and prison sentences. 

Talks on global issues to be held with Belgium

On 24 October, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Russia and Belgium had agreed to bilateral talks on several global issues of mutual interest.  The move comes following Belgium's election as a member of the UN Security Council for the 2019-2020 period.  

Deputy Mayor of Sochi arrested

Sergey Yurin, Deputy Mayor of Sochi has been detained after law enforcement agencies searched the Sochi administration building.  The former deputy mayor and the deputy head of the Rosgonki non-profit organization were also detained.  Yurin took up the post on 4 September, before which he oversaw communications and real estate in the Sochi administration.  Earlier this month, security forces arrested the deputy director of the Sochi City Municipal Department on suspicion of his involvement in municipal contracts for the purchase of apartments in the city that did not have a building permit, and which were never completed, although the funds were not returned.

Hypersonic glider warheads to enter military service

Vladimir Putin announced on 18 October that the new Avangard hypersonic glider warheads are only months away from entering military service.  The weapon is a projectile that can fly and manoeuvre in the upper atmosphere at a speed of over Mach 5, making them much harder to intercept than regular warheads.  President Putin also commented that "Russia is ready to use nuclear weapons in case of an attack on Russia". 

Death toll of Kerch college security incident increases to 18

Crimean officials revealed that the death toll of the Kerch college security incident has risen to 18. Latest reports suggest that the incident unfolded after a bomb was set off in the college's cafeteria. Officials stated that an armed male suspect opened fire at students before killing himself. Local Russian-backed authorities said that the suspect was a college student, while Russian law enforcement said that it is treating the incident as a terrorist attack. No group claimed responsibility for the attack as further investigations is being carried out. Initial reports had revealed that a potential natural gas explosion was the cause of the blast, while Russian authorities confirmed the presence of an unknown explosive device.

Several killed after college explosion in Kerch, Crimea

At least 10 people are feared dead and dozens of others were injured after a blast at a college in Crimea. Emergency services were deployed to the eastern town of Kerch, where the explosion occurred on Wednesday morning. Investigations are still ongoing as it is still unclear what caused the explosion. Preliminary reports suggest that the blast was caused due to a natural gas explosion; however, the Russian authorities told state-agency Tass that it was caused by an “unidentified explosive device”. Kerch is a strategic city located in eastern Crimea. It is the main link between the Russian occupied peninsula and mainland Russia - such was materialised through a recently inaugurated bridge over the Kerch Strait.

Opposition leader released from jail

Alexander Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, was released from prison on Sunday after serving three weeks for organizing anti-Kremlin protests.  It is his second period of detention in two months, serving 50 days in total.  He commented that "this regime is in complete decline", referring to recent embarassments such as the international condemnation of the Russian intelligence service's involvement in the UK poisoning of Sergei Skripal, and the recent launch failure of a Russian space rocket.    Vladimir Putin's approval ratings have been hit since he implemented deeply unpopular pension reforms, and critics have commented that he has since turned up the heat on his critics.  Mr Navalny, who is a Yale-educated lawyer, was barred from running against Putin in a presidential election in March.  

Two militants killed in Daghestan counter-terror operation

According to reports, two militants have been killed in a counter-terrorism operation in the village of Endirei in Khasavyurt District. The suspects barricaded themselves inside a residential property, leading to a protracted gun battle with the security forces.  Three police officers were injured in the incident, which was part of an ongoing campaign to distrupt militancy in the area.  

Ingushetia protest leaders to be prosecuted

On 11 October, activists have reported that the two organizers of the protests against the Ingushetia-Chechnya border deal will face criminal charges of insulting a public official. The border deal was ratified by the Ingushetia assembly on 4 October.  Thousands of protesters have gathered daily in the capital of Magas since that date, claiming that the arrangement amounts to a surrender of territory and favours Chechnya.  

Eleven killed and eight injured in Cheboksary traffic accident

A major traffic accident caused the death of 11 people, and injured a further eight on 11 October on the M7 near Cheboksary.  The crash happened at around 19:00 local time when, according to reports, a truck swerved into oncoming traffic.  An investigation has been launched into the cause of the accident.

Russia to leave PACE in 2019

A Russian MP has said that his country will probably not return to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in 2019 because of the decision to postpone discussions over new rules affecting the national delegation's credentials and voting.  Leonid Slutsky said that this postponement until next year was preventing Russia from applying for participation in the 2019 session.  Russia had already proposed changes to the regulations making discrimination against separate member-states more difficult but the resolution has stalled due to strong opposition from the UK, and ex-Soviet areas such as Ukraine and the Baltic nations.  

Brawl erupts in Siberian maximum security prison

On Sunday, a disagreement between two groups developed into a mass brawl involving dozens of inmates at a maximum security prison in Omsk.  At least 20 inmates were injured and four of them required hospital treatment.  Police special forces were dispatched to the prison to put the facility on lockdown.  The incident follows several media reports, including video, about the alleged beating and torture of inmates by prison staff across Russia.

Three detained in weapons factory raid

The Federal Security Service (FSB) have announced that they detained three men who were part of a criminal network dedicated to the manufacture and distribution of improvised explosive devices, firearms and ammunition.  The raid took place in Petrozavodsk and St Petersburg, where a laboratory for the processing and repair of weapons and a workshop for the modernisation of firearms and manufacture of ammunition, were closed down. 

Trans-Siberian railway power supply upgraded

On 8 October a spokesman for the energy grid company FGC UES announced that the power supply for a 900 kilometre stretch of the Trans-Siberian railway had been upgraded.  They reported that the improvements should help to prevent accidents and allow the identification of faults in transmission lines to be pinpointed  more quickly.  

Ingushetia Parliament approves border deal

Depiste protests against the proposal, the Ingushetia Parliament approved a border deal with Chechnya on 4 October.  Activists argue that the land has not been partitioned equally between the two republics and that the interests of the local residents of Ingushetia have not been taken into account. 

Two arrested in murder and cannibalism case

A 22-year-old man and his 12-year-old girlfriend have been arrested on suspicion of killing, dismembering and partially eating a man in a small village near St Petersburg.  Police believe that the pair and the man, who was their landlord, had a fight during which the older male was stabbed to death.  The girl has been placed in a juvenile facility while the investigation is ongoing.

Multiple foreign aircraft spotted at Russian border

Russian Armed Forces officials have reported that 21 foreign aircraft have been spotted carrying out intelligence activities at the Russian border during the last week.  They also stated that fighter jets had been scrambled on five occasions to prevent the aircraft from entering Russian airspace.

Thirteen killed in crash between two buses in Tver region

At least 13 people have been killed when two buses collided on the Tver-Rzhev highway in west Russia.  Seventeen other people were injured.  Regional Governor Igor Rudenya said that emergency services were at the scene, and the cause of the crash was not yet known.

Russia accused of global cyber attacks

Russia has been accused of involvement in a series of global cyber attacks. The Netherlands have accused four Russians of plotting a hack on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), while the UK has accused Russia of four high-profile cyber attacks, targeting a small British TV network, the US Democratic Party, and Russian and Ukrainian firms. The US claims its anti-doping agency and a nuclear energy company were also targeted and has levelled charges against seven suspected Russian agents. According to the BBC, Canada also suspects Russia was behind attacks on its ant-doping agency and its centre for ethics in sports. Accusations have also been made by the Dutch authorities over seized laptops which were allegedly used in a number of foreign countries. Russia has already dismissed the British and Dutch accusations, calling them "Western spy mania". Another statement is due to follow, although it's expected the Russian authorities will continue to deny any involvement.

Seven intelligence officers charged for cyber-attacks

Seven Russian military intelligence officers have been charged with waging a wave of hackings against anti-doping agencies, which eventually enforced a ban on Russian athletes in several international competitions. Members of Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) reportedly targeted the victims after they condemned an alleged state-sponsored doping programme. The indictment comes hours after the UK and the Netherlands accused the GRU of attempting to target the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) based in The Hague.

Thousands protest against land swap deal in Magas, Ingushetia

Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the regional parliament of the southern Ingushetia region to protest a controversial land swap deal with neighbouring Chechnya. Demonstrators took to the streets of the regional capital of Magas more than a week after parliament accepted the deal. Demonstrators claim that the deal is unfair to residents in Ingushetia. Such comes amid a long-standing dispute between both regions.

UK Foreign Secretary accuses Russia of cyber attacks

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that the Russian military intelligence unit GRU is behind a recent wave of global cyber attacks.  He denounced the "indiscriminate and reckless" attacks against political institutions and businesses, and added that the attacks were an attempt to undermine normal life and interfere in elections.  The Australian authorities have joined the UK in their criticism of Russia.  Early in 2018, the UK , the United States and Australia accused Russia for the NotPetya global malware attacks, and Russia has also been blamed for the Novichok poisoning attack in Salisbury that resulted in the death of a resident.  President Vladimir Putin has refuted all allegations.

Passenger ferry catches fire in Baltic Sea

Rescue operations have been launched after a Lithuanian passenger ferry caught fire in the Baltic Sea. The ship was carrying 335 people from the German port of Kiel to Klaipeda in Lithuania when the fire broke out. As a result, the ship became stranded in Russian exclusive economic waters off the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Initial reports claimed an explosion in the engine or boiler room had sparked the fire; however, the BBC has reported that the ship's operator, DFDS, has denied such reports and simply referred to 'technical problems' behind the incident. All passengers are believed to be safe with no casualties reported. The ship will be towed from near Kaliningrad to its intended destination of Klaipeda.

Anti pension reform demonstration to be staged on 3 October

Anti pension reform demonstrations are due to take place in Moscow on Wednesday 3 October.  Marchers will gather outside the Federal Council building at 09:30 local time as the reform bill is being reviewed by the upper house.  A heightened security presence and disruption to traffic and transport is to be expected in the city.  The Russian Parliament adopted a controversial pension reform bill in late September that would increase retirement ages for men from 60 to 65 and for women from 55 to 60.   Nationwide protests on 9 September led to the arrest of more than 800 people.

Lower house of parliament approves retirement age bill

Members of Russia's lower house of parliament have approved a controversial bill which seeks to raise the retirement age for state pensions. For several weeks, protests have erupted across the country against raising the retirement age for both male and female workers by five years - to 65 and 60 respectively. The bill still has to pass through the Federation Council before being signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. President Putin claimed that the measure comes as the working-age population is shrinking, but unions say that many may not live long enough to claim a pension. Life expectancy in Russia is 66 for men and 77 for women.

Novichock poisoning suspect potentially identified as Russian Colonel

An investigative website has suggested that one of the suspects in the Novichock poisoning case has been identified as a decorated colonel in Russian military intelligence, who once received an award from Vladimir Putin.  The suggestion comes despite Russia denying any involvement in the incident which took place in March and which caused a huge international diplomatic row, including the expulsion of diplomats. On Wednesday, Theresa May addressed world leaders at the United Nations and criticised Russia for its' "desperate fabrication" over the Salisbury spy poisoning, and accusing the country of "flagrantly breaching international norms with the reckless use of chemical weapons on the streets of Britain by agents of the GRU".  

Opposition leader detained moments after release in Moscow

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been arrested just moments after being released from a prison in Moscow. Navalny was serving a 30-day sentence for unlawfully staging political protests. According to his associates, he has been detained again on similar charges and is set to appear in court on Monday. Navalny has been arrested several times for calling for anti-government protests. His fresh detention comes amid a wave of demonstrations against government plans to raise the retirement age. Earlier this month, more than 800 people were arrested in a mass protests.

Electoral commission calls for annulment of region vote in Far East

A senior official of the Central Election Commision has recommended the annulment of a regional election in the Far East region over allegations of irregularities. Ella Pamfilova has called the local electoral commision to annul the vote held in the Primorsky province, where the strategic port city of Vladivostok is located. Governor Andrei Tarasenko was set to be re-elected after garnering a two percent advantage against his main rival. The move was backed by the Russian central government in Moscow. Pamfilova said that the vote may take place within the next three months.

Russian protestor treated in Berlin for suspected poisoning

Pyotr Verzilov, who is a member of Russian protest group Pussy Riot and a vocal critic of the Kremlin, has flown to Berlin for medical treatment after falling ill in Moscow.  Mr Verzilov was one of four to be jailed for 15 days after invading the World Cup Final pitch in July, and he fell ill after attending a court hearing on Tuesday. His supporters suggest that he may have been poisoned 

One arrested on suspicion of the assassination of Zakharchenko

On 15 September, a suspect was arrested on suspicion of being involved in the assassination of the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), Alexander Zakharchenko, who was killed in a cafe explosion in August.  Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has accused Ukranian intelligence services of being behind the incident.

Pussy Riot activist taken to hospital over alleged poisoning

A member of the activist group Pussy Riot has been taken to hospital after reportedly falling ill moments after a court hearing in Moscow. Reports suggest that Pyotr Verzilov's alleged sickness significantly worsened. The group said that he lost his sight and speech while claiming the incident being linked to a poisoning attempt. Pussy Riot is a feminist and anti-government group that has been engaged in various protests in Russia.

Salisbury poisoning suspects claim to be tourists

The two men who are the prime suspects in the Salisbury poisoning case have given an interview to Russian state-funded media channel RT, claiming that they were only in the UK town as tourists.  President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said that the two men are "civilians" and not connected to the Russian military intelligence service GRU, as claimed by the British government.  

Putin says Salisbury poisoning suspects identified

According to press reports, President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia has identified two men suspected of poisoning former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England.  No further information is available at this time.  

Russia launches huge military exercise

Russia has launched its' biggest military exercise since the Cold War, with 300,000 Russian personnel participating together with 3,200 Chinese troops in week-long manoeuvres in eastern Siberia.  Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the drills were justified given "aggressive and unfriendly" attitudes towards Russia.  Relations with NATO have worsened since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and the expulsion of Russian diplomats from NATO countries following the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter with a Soviet nerve agent in the UK earlier this year. President Vladimir Putin has made military modernisation including new nuclear missiles, a priority.  

Hundreds arrested in country-wide pension reform protests

Anti-Kremlin demonstrators took to the streets in several Russian cities on Sunday to protest at the government's plans to increase the retirement age.  Hundreds of people were arrested in the latest of a series of protests across the country, attracting tens of thousands of people.  Retirement ages will rise from next year from 60 to 65 for men and from 55 to 60 for women. Vladimir Putin says that the changes are necessary because of Russia's aging population and an economic deficit, but unions warn that many people will never receive a pension since life expectancy is much lower than in the west.  Opposition leader and vocal Putin critic Alexei Navalny had used social media to call upon people to protest before the forthcoming elections.  Mr Navalny was jailed last month.  The protests come amid regional and local elections in 22 of Russia's 85 regions including the election of the mayor of Moscow.

Putin amends pension changes following protests

Leader Vladimir Putin has amended his pension reforms following angry protests and a slump in his approval rating.  He has confirmed that the retirement age for women will rise from 55 to 60 instead of 63, but that the increase for men from 60 to 65 would remain.  Mr Putin had explained that the working-age population is shrinking making the measures necessary, but unions say that many may not live long enough to claim a pension.  Life expectancy in Russia is 66 for men and 77 for women.  The new plan is to be implemented from 2019 with gradual increases in the age of eligibility. Tens of thousands from all sides of the political debate had rallied across Russia against the changes in recent weeks.

Belgian executive dies in Moscow building fall

A Belgian executive working for Russian steel company NLMK has died after falling from a nine-storey building in Moscow's Serafimovich Street, close to the Kremlin. The circumstances of the incident remain unclear and a police investigation is under way. NMLK is one of Russia's biggest steel companies and is owned by Vladimir Lisin, one of the country's richest men.  Mr Lisin recently lost 4 percent of his income, around $832 million, after Vladimir Putin proposed tax hikes on mining companies to fund an increase in social spending.  Mr Lisin was a vocal critic of the plan.   

Russia accuses Britain of dangerous RAF interceptions

The Russian Embassy in  London has accused Britain of intercepting its' aircraft over the Black Sea in a "dangerous fashion" with the intention of provoking Moscow.  The RAF scrambled to intercept a Russian maritime patrol aircraft on Friday and two fighter aircraft on Wednesday.  Three countries bordering the Black Sea, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, are NATO allies of Britain.  British defence and foreign ministries have declined to comment.  

Shooter near Moscow Foreign Ministry injured by police

A man who opened fire on officers providing security to the diplomatic missions in Moscow, was shot dead by police officers on Thursday near the Foreign Ministry.  The incident happened at around 20:00 local time, when the attacker opened fire at the police, who retaliated with further gunshots, fatally wounding him.  A police office suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the attack.  The man has been identified as a 31-year-old resident of the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria in the North Caucasus.

Russian companies targeted in fresh US-issued sanctions

Several Russian companies have been targeted in fresh sanctions issued by the US Department of the Treasury. Among them are six Russian-flagged vessels that are accused of transferring petroleum to ships bound to North Korea. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said: “Consequences for violating these sanctions will remain in place until we have achieved the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea." The sanctions came on the same day Microsoft said that a number of websites linked to the Russian military were seized for alleged attempting to influence the upcoming US midterm elections.

Europe sees sharp rise in measles cases in 2018

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that there has been a sharp rise in the numbers of measles cases in the first half of 2018, with 41,000 people affected, and 37 deaths.  More than half of the cases were reported in Ukraine, with France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Russia and Serbia had more than 1,000 cases each.  Vaccine scepticism remains high in many parts of Europe, and although measles can be prevented by a vaccine which has been available since the 1960's, health officials say that vaccination rates of 95 percent are necessary to prevent epidemics.  Measles is a highly contagious virus that spreads through coughing or sneezing.  Symptoms include a high fever and a rash on the face and neck.  Most people who fall ill do recover, but measles can be dangerous for young children.

Seven injured in twin-attack across Chechnya

At least seven people have been injured in a twin-attack in Chechnya, south-western Russia. Both attacks targeted police officers in Shali and Grozny. Chechnya President Ramzan Kadyrov dismissed allegations that the attacks were aimed to disrupt the Eid al-Adha celebrations. Local media reported that a police officer was killed alongside two assailants. It remains unclear which group is behind the attack, which was promptly claimed by the Islamic State (IS). IS militants have previously launched attacks in the region. In May, three people were killed when gunmen raided a church in Grozny.

Fire at Avtozavodskaya Station suspends metro operations

On 15 August, a minor explosion and a subsequent fire caused the line between Novokuznetskaya to Orekhovo to be suspended.  The incident happened at about 12:00 local time at Avtozavodskaya Station in Moscow.  Authorities later said that the incident was caused by a short-circuit and normal operations were resumed.

US announces sanctions on Russia

The US has announced a new set of sanctions against Russia over the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skirpal and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, in the UK. The sanctions will come into effect later this month, on Wednesday 22 August. According to the BBC, the Russian rouble has slumped in response to the sanctions, most notably against the US dollar and the euro. Earlier this year, the Skripals were poisoned with the Russian nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury in an attack which Russia are widely seen as being responsible for, although Russia has continued to deny any involvement in the attack. The UK Foreign Secretary has thanked the US following the announcement, while Russia has criticised the new sanctions as 'draconian'.

Gay activists arrested during outlawed protest in St Petersburg

More than 25 gay rights activists have been detained for taking part in an unauthorised protest in St Petersburg. Dozens of people gathered at Palace Square on Saturday afternoon after authorities barred a parade. Russia currently holds strong anti-gay legislation, including a bill passed back in 2013 which outlaws the spread of gay propaganda.

Scores killed in helicopter crash near Igarka, Krasnoyarsk

At least 18 people have been killed after a helicopter crashed in Krasnoyarsk, eastern Russia. According to Western Siberian authorities, the Mi-8 aircraft crashed near the remote town of Igarka on Saturday. Preliminary reports suggest that the helicopter faced technical failure. Sources told Russian media that most of the victims were oil workers. 

US-based hotel chain shuts down its operations in Crimea

One of the last western-based hotel chains still operating in Crimea has shut down operations due to US and EU sanctions after the region was annexed to Russia. Best Western Hotels & Resorts operated the Sevastopol Hotel, which has now been re-branded as "Sevastopol Hotel and Spa". Sources told Reuters that the franchising contract between the hotel and the US-based company ended last year. A number of western-based businesses left Crimea after tensions escalated in 2014. 

IS recruiters arrested in Kaliningrad

On 1 August, Federal Security Services arrested nine people on suspicion of recruitment for IS.  Firearms, ammunition, improvised explosive devices and Islamic religious literature were also seized.  

Protests in Russian cities against increase to retirement age

On 28 July, over 12,000 people took to the streets of a number of Russian cities including Moscow to protest at the increase in the retirement age, in a rare show of public opposition.  Vladimir Putin failed to mention the proposed change in his run up to the elections.  The proposal includes increasing retirement age from 55 to 63 for women and from 60 to 65 for men.  Statistically, life expectancy for men is early sixties, meaning that many may not get to cash in their pensions.  Mr Putin said that he did not wish to increase retirement age, but some crucial decisions were necessary.  

Siberian miners go on hunger strike

Dozens of Siberian miners have reportedly launched a hunger strike. The strike has been organised by miners at the Darasun gold mine in Zabaykalsky as a form of protests against the alleged theft of unpaid wages. Representatives of the 87 miners have stated that the hunger strike will continue until wages are paid. According to The Moscow Times, the sum of unpaid wages amounts to around 35 million rubles (around $557,000). It's claimed the miners haven't been paid since May, sparking an investigation.

Gas cylinder blast kills two in St Petersburg

A gas cylinder explosion has killed at least two people in St Petersburg. The blast occurred in an industrial part of the Kalininsky district, where a gas cylinder reportedly exploded after losing pressure. Some minor damage was caused to several buildings around the site of the blast; however, no further casualties have been reported.

Millions of cyber attacks thwarted during World Cup

President Vladimir Putin has announced that almost 25 million cyber attacks against critical information systems and infrastructure were "neutralized" during the FIFA World Cup tournament.  Speaking at a meeting dedicated to security at the event, Mr Putin thanked the representatives of 55 special services and the law enforcement agencies from 34 countries which collaborated during the month-long tournament.  During the preparations, background checks were run on more than two million people as well as sweeping all venues for potential physical threats.  

Emergency services reported at Stolitsa mall in southern Moscow

The emergency services have reportedly been deployed to the Stolitsa Shopping Centre in southern Moscow. Interfax has reported on Tuesday afternoon that the authorities are monitoring reports of smoke at the building. No further details have been revealed. 

Scores evacuated after fire breaks out at building in Moscow

More than 20 people have been evacuated after a fire broke out at a residential building in central Moscow. The incident happened on Friday morning at Pyatnistskaya Street. No casualties have been reported, but according to TASS, two people were rescued from the building's fourth floor.

One killed in suspected car accident in Sochi

A 63-year-old man has been killed and several others were injured after a vehicle hit pedestrians in Sochi, south-western Russia. Preliminary investigations suggest that the driver fell asleep at the wheel before colliding with pedestrians in the district of Dagomys, nearly 12km away from the city centre. Sochi is located along the Black Sea and is one of the World Cup host cities.

Argentina supporters detained for flying drone at Red Square, Moscow

Russian police have detained two Argentinian supporters for flying a drone at Moscow's Red Square. According to the authorities, both were detained and their drone seized in the southern area of the square. Argentina's Consulate in Russia said that both have since been released but they still await for potential administrative procedures. Drone flying at the Red Square is forbidden for security reasons.

Thousands protest nationwide against increase to retirement age

Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets to protest against a recent bill that increases the retirement age. Protests were called by government-critic Alexei Navalny, and took place across 39 cities - none of them a World Cup host city, where demonstrations are reportedly banned due to heightened security measures. Major protests occurred in Murmansk, Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Orenburg, Belgorod and Arkhangelsk.

Security guards cordon off part of Moscow airport

Security guards at Moscow Domodedovo Airport (DME) have reportedly cordoned off parts of the building on Friday afternoon. Witnesses told Reuters that an individual was seen lying on the floor near one of the terminal exits. DME revealed that a man was detained after a hoax bomb threat. Similar incidents previously triggered evacuations in Samara and Rostov-on-Don. Moscow is still hosting several matches during the knock out stages of the World Cup.

Russia confirms power tests with German-made turbines in Crimea

Russia's energy ministry has confirmed the testing of four German-made electricity turbines in Crimea. The move has generated a serious diplomatic backlash due to current sanctions introduced since the Crimean annexation to Russia back in 2014. Such forbids EU companies of providing energy infrastructures to the region. According to Reuters, the engines fabricated by Siemens were deployed to Crimea without the company's knowledge. The tests were conducted in the city of Sevastopol, while another station is currently being built in Simferopol. 

Hoax bomb threats trigger evacuations in Samara

A series of hoax bomb threats led to the evacuation of three shopping malls in Samara, located nearly 900km east of Moscow. Police reported that all venues were promptly reopened several hours later after they were cleared. Samara hosted four matches of the group stages of the World Cup. A similar bomb hoax has also triggered evacuations in the other host city of Rostov-on-Don, located near the Ukrainian border.

Gas blast wounds five

A gas explosion has wounded at least five people in the Chechen Republic. The blast occurred at a gas station near the village of Grebenskaya on Thursday evening. According to reports, four fuel tanks exploded; however, it remains unclear what caused them to blow up. It's possible one of the tanks was faulty and exploded, creating a massive blast due to its proximity to the other three tanks. The incident is not thought to be terror-related as investigations go forward.

Bomb threats trigger evacuations across Rostov-on-Don

A number of venues in the World Cup host city of Rostov-on-Don have been evacuated due to reports of bomb threats. In a statement, local police said that they have received several phone calls regarding bombs planted across the city. It further confirmed that “police forces made all the necessary checks and no dangerous objects were found. Currently, all the venues are operating normally”. Rostov-on-Don is located nearly 130km from the border with war-torn eastern Ukraine.

Russia rejects call to withdraw from Moldova

Russia has rejected a UN-backed call to withdraw their troops from Moldova. Russian troops were originally stationed in Moldova's breakaway region of Trans-Dniester in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union in a bid to prevent fighting in the Russian-speaking area which claimed independence from Moldova. The measure was backed by Moldova and several other former Soviet Union states and is due to be discussed by the UN assembly in the next few months.

Russia to impose tariffs on US imports

Russia has announced its decision to impose import tariffs on a range of American goods. The measure comes in retaliation to similar tariffs imposed by the US on steel and aluminium imports. According to Reuters, the tariffs are intended to serve as a 'balancing' measure at the 25 percent tariffs enforced the US in an attempt to curb imports from China. Unlike Argentina, Australia, and Brazil, an exemption rule was not extended to Russia - which has reportedly been trying to dispute the tariffs with the US Department of Commerce. 

Taxi hits football fans in Moscow

Several people have been wounded after a taxi mounted the pavement in Moscow. The car veered into a crowd of mostly football fans close to the Red Square on Saturday. The driver, a 28-year-old from Kyrgyzstan, has been arrested and is being questioned by police. The city's mayor said the driver had lost control, although witnesses and CCTV footage suggest it may have been intentional.

British LGBT activist detained in Moscow

A British LGBT activist has reportedly been detained by the Russian authorities in Moscow's Red Square. Peter Tatchell was detained on charges of illegal public protest after he held a solitary demonstration against the alleged torture of homosexual men in Chechnya. The police allegedly told Tatchell there was a ban on public protest near the Kremlin during the World Cup. Sky News has reported that Tatchell has been released on bail after briefly being held at Tverskaya police station.

Russia threatens retaliation over US troops

Oslo announced earlier this week that it would invite 700 US marines to train in Norway next year, and said they would be based along the Russian border.  They said that the move was about NATO training and improving winter fighting capabiliity, and they did not consider their neighbour a direct threat.  Russian has said that the proposal would worsen bilateral relations and escalate tensions, which could ultimately destabilise the situation in northern Europe.

Blackout reported in Crimean peninsula

A major blackout has been reported in the Crimean peninsula, where widespread disruption has been caused. The region-wide power cut has allegedly been caused by an accident at the Taman substation in Krasnodar. While auxiliary power supplies are available in some areas, the majority of the peninsula has no electricity - resulting in severe travel disruption. Operations have been launched to restore the power within the next few hours.

Ten killed in Volgograd boat accident

On 11 June a catamaran and a barge collided on the Volga River at around 22:00 local time, leaving 11 of the 16 catamaran passengers dead.  Preliminary investigations show that the boat may have ignored navigation rules, and did not have the required documentation or identification lights.

EU to vote on Russian human rights

The European Union (EU) is preparing to discuss the current human rights situation in Russia and are set to vote on a resolution by Thursday 14 June. If the situation is found to be in serious need of attention, the EU resolution may support an international boycott of the upcoming FIFA 2018 World Cup.

Ukrainian journalist sentenced over espionage charges

A Ukrainian journalist has reportedly been sentenced to 12 years in prison over espionage charges. Roman Sushchenko is accused of gathering intel in Russia for the Ukrainian government. He was detained in 2016 after landing in Moscow from Paris, where he was based as a correspondent for the Ukrainian state-owned news agency Ukrinform. The ruling comes a week after Ukrainian security forces forged the death of a self-exiled Russian journalist in Kiev, triggering condemnation from Russia.

Eleven terror suspects arrested in Krasnoyarsk

At least 11 suspected terrorists have been arrested by the Russian security forces in Krasnoyarsk. The suspects have all been identified as members of a religious group believed to be associated with the Islamic State (IS). The police suspect the group had been recruiting for the IS. 

Forest fires break out in eastern regions

Forest fires have broken out in the eastern-most regions of Russia. Some 45,300 hectares of land have been affected in Amur Oblast, while around 13,200 hectares have also been affected in the neighbouring Khabarovsk region. No casualties have been reported but high level alerts have been issued to any residents nearby as the emergency services continue to tackle the fires.

Ex-economy minister sentenced to 8 year prison sentence

Former Economic Development Minister, Alexei Ulyukayev has been sent to prison to commence his eight year prison sentence, after a Moscow City court rejected his appeal.  He was also sentenced to a 1.9 million euro fine for bribery, and will serve his sentence at a maximum security prison.  

North Korea to hold summit with Russia

North Korea has reportedly agreed to hold a summit with Russia. Reuters has reported that the news was announced on Thursday evening by the North Korean news agency KCNA. No details have been confirmed at this stage; however, it's likely the summit will be arranged to take place before the North Korean leader meets with the US president, Donald Trump, as it's believed Russia seeks to understand North Korea's position ahead of the US-North Korea summit.

Saratov Airlines suspend operations due to safety concerns

Russia's federal aviation agency has revoked the operations license of Saratov Airlines due to safety concerns. According to officials, the move comes after the company violated a number of safety regulations, including rules linked to fatigue control. Saratov Airlines had already its air operator's certificate (AOC) suspended after 71 people were killed in a crash involving the company's Antonov AN-148 aircraft while en route from Moscow Domodedovo Airport to Orsk. The company has recently been rebranded as Ivolga Airlines.

Submarine test-fires intercontinental ballistic missiles

On Tuesday, the Russian navy reported that it had simultaneously fired four intercontinental ballistic missiles from the Yuri Dolgoruky submarine in a submerged position in the White Sea.  Authorities reported that the mock warheads reached their practice targets at the Kura shooting range on the far eastern peninsula of Russia.  Five further submarines are under construction to replace some of the older Soviet-built ones. 

Bulgarian president to offer Russia new gas link

On 22 May, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said that he was prepared to offer to collaborate with Russia in the creation of a direct gas pipeline across the Black Sea under the title of "Bulgarian Stream".  Mr Radev is due to meet his Russian counterpart in Sochi today.

Ukraine files complaint about Kerch Strait bridge

Ukraine has filed a claim with the International Tribunal against the construction of the Kerch Strait bridge between the Russian Federation and Russian-occupied Crimea, which they claim is illegal.  The complaint is in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the instruction to file the motion was given by President Petro Poroshenko.  The construction of the bridge was also condemned by the United States, Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom.  The consideration of the claim is likely to commence before the end of the year, with a decision in 2019.  The bridge was officially opened by Vladimir Putin on 15 May.

Lawmakers approve bill to counter US sanctions

Lawmakers have overwhelmingly voted to approve a bill which seeks to introduce a series of sanctions against the US. In a response to recent sanctions against Russia, the Russian lower house of parliament agreed to introduce tough restrictions on exports and imports to and from the US and countries considered to be 'hostile'. US sanctions against Russia intensified in recent years after the Crimean annexation and the alleged Russian meddling in the US presidential elections.

Gunmen attack Orthodox church in Grozny, Chechnya

At least three people have been killed when gunmen raided a church in southern Russia's Chechnya Republic. Local media reported that at least four heavily armed assailants attacked the Archangel Michael Orthodox Church in central Grozny on Saturday morning. Security services cconfirmed that all suspects were killed. The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Forty injured in Tyumen storm

On Sunday night, almost 40 people were injured when a storm hit the Siberian city of Tyumen.  Six people were hospitalised, one of them in a critical condition.  The Emergency Ministry had issued a warning for the region, with wind gusts of up to 26 metres per second and rain and hail.

Japanese PM to visit Russia

The Japanese government has announced that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to visit Russia for a five-day trip next week. The visit will last from Thursday 24 May to Sunday 27 May. 

Russian cruise missile ships to patrol Mediterranean

On 17 May, President Vladimir Putin announced in Sochi that, "due to the continued threat of international terrorists in Syria", Russian ships with Kalibr cruise missiles would carry out permanent patrols in the Mediterranean Sea.  The announcement came as the Russian Defence Ministry announced a budget of $24 billion for 2018.

Defence ministry announces $24 billion budget

The Russian Defence Ministry has allocated a total budget of $24 billion for 2018, most of which has already been spent or allocated to defence contracts already signed.  It is thought that the sum will fund the purchase of over a hundred aircraft, 10 surface ships, 14 space systems and 500 missile systems.  

Explosion at ammunition depot triggers evacuations in Pugachevo, Udmurtia

A powerful blast near a former military base forced more than 2,000 people to be evacuated from a village in Udmurtia region, western Urals. Officials told Russian media that a powerful blast occurred after a fire broke out at the ammunition depot. Emergency services were deployed as the fire keeps spreading around the town of Pugachevo.

Russia ordered to pay opposition leader compensation

On 15 May, the European Court of Human Rights found in favour of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in his 2015 claim for compensation after he was refused a passport and his movements were restricted. In 2017 he was finally allowed to seek medical treatment abroad for an attack two years earlier that almost blinded him.  

Telegram block not in force

Moscow City Court has accepted an appeal from the social media app Telegram, against a 13 April ruling to block the messaging service.  However, court officials stated that the appeal contained some errors, and have given the app's lawyers until 4 June to correct them.  Last month thousands of people rallied in the city against social media censorship.  

Putin announces mass-production of missile system

On 16 May Vladimir Putin announced that the S-500 surface-to-air missile system would be mass produced.  This follows plans to arm 14 regiments with intercontinental ballistic missile systems.

President Putin launches bridge between Russia and Crimea

President Vladimir Putin has inaugurated a bridge which links mainland Russia to Crimea. In a ceremony held on Tuesday, President Putin drove a construction lorry through the 12-mile bridge between Russia's Krasnodar region to the to the Crimean town of Kerch. The project was launched ahead of schedule and traffic will be opened on Wednesday. However, a railway bridge is still to be completed by the end of 2019, while a highway between Kerch and the Crimean de-facto capital, Simferopol, is scheduled to be completed on 2020. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Hundreds rally for social media freedom

Hundreds of demonstrators protested on Saturday in Moscow, against the government's blocking of social media app Telegram.  It was the second protest since the app was blocked on 16 April for refusing to comply with an order to give Russian state security access to the encrypted messages of users.  Russian Federal Security Services say that they need access to prevent security threats, but Telegram says that compliance with the order would compromise users' privacy. 

Opposition leader detained over protests during Putin's inauguration

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny has appeared in court on Friday over charges of organising illegal demonstrations last week. Hundreds of people were detained when protests broke out nationwide during the inauguration of President Vladimir Putin. The court case has been adjourned until next week. If convicted, Navalny may face up to two months in prison. Navalny was barred from running in the presidential vote, which granted Putin his fourth term in office.

Dmitry Medvedev confirmed as Russia's PM

Russia's lower house of parliament has confirmed Dmitry Medvedev as the country's Prime Minister. On a vote held on Tuesday, lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favour of Medvedev's nomination - 374 votes were in favour and 56 against. Medvedev was nominated for another term just a day after President Vladimir Putin was sworn in for his fourth term as president.

Putin sworn in for fourth term

Thousands of guests attended a lavish ceremony in the Kremlin on Monday, as Vladimir Putin was sworn in for a fourth term as Russian President.  On Saturday, riot police confronted protestors against his rule in Moscow and other Russian cities, and more than 1,000 arrests took place.  Mr Putin was re-elected president with over 76 percent of the vote, but the country's best-known opposition leader, Alexei Navalny was barred from standing on the grounds of a conviction for embezzlement which he denies.  He was also briefly arrested on Saturday.  When Mr Putin reaches the end of his fourth term in 2024, he will have been in power for nearly 25 years. 

Two terror suspects killed in Stavropol

Two suspected terrorists have reportedly been shot dead during a raid conducted by the Russian security forces in the Stavropol area. The suspects were allegedly planning terror attacks in the region and had embarked on a mission to manufacture improvised explosives devices (IEDs). According to reports, various IEDs were discovered during the raid, along with firearms, ammunition, and grenades.

Thousands protest against internet censorship in Moscow

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Moscow to protest against internet censorship. Demonstrators marched across the central areas of the capital as authorities seek to block the end-to-end encrypted messaging service Telegram. Roskomnadzor, the internet watchdog, already ordered some services owned by Google and Amazon to be blocked earlier in April. 

Massive wildfires engulf Russia's Far East

Nearly 2,000 square kilometres of forest land has been consumed after dozens of wildfires spread across Russia's Far East. According to the Federal Forest Fire Centre, the area most affected was the Khingan Nature Reserve in Amur Region. Wildfires were also reported in Primorsky and Khabarovsk regions, while fire also spread across Trans-Baikal, Omsk and Bashkortostan regions.

Protests and parades scheduled to take place in Moscow

Protests and major parades are scheduled to occur across Moscow from the first week of May. On Tuesday, trade unions are scheduled to march across major squares in Moscow. On 05 and 06 May, two unauthorised opposition-backed protests will occur at Belorusskaya and Revolution squares. Large crowds are expected on the following day due to the presidential inauguration in the Krelim. On 09 May military parades will take place on in Moscow, St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg to celebrate Russia's Victory Day. Travel around central Moscow and St Petersburg will face significant disruptions until 10 May.

Four terror suspects killed in Dagestan

Four suspected terrorists have allegedly been killed in a security operation in Dagestan. The Russian security forces were carrying out a counter-terror operation, targeting suspected terrorist hotspots in the city of Derbent. The suspects were reportedly armed and resisted arrest.

IS cell dismantled in Rostov

An Islamic State (IS) cell has reportedly been dismantled during counter-terror operations in the Rostov area. The operation was led by the Russian Federal Security Services based on intelligence which suggested the group were planning a terrorist attack in Rostov. While three IS suspects were arrested, the leader of the small cell was reportedly killed when he detonated an explosive device.

Investigative reporter dies following apartment fall

A prominent Russian investigative reporter who regularly published stories on crime, corruption and electoral fraud, has died days after he fell from his fifth-floor apartment window on Sunday.  Police are treating his death as a suicide, but his editor at news agency Novy Den (New Day) has expressed doubt that the 32-year-old had taken his own life.  Maksim Borodin was known as an intrepid reporter, and had recently written about a secret Russian paramilitary group fighting in Syria who had suffered severe losses in a US airstrike, an incident which has not been acknowledged by the authorities.

Russia warns of escalation in Syria

Western powers are said to be considering launching air strikes against Syria in response to a suspected chemical attack.  On Thursday, Moscow's UN Amassador Vassily Nebenzia said that "The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war", but accused Washington of risking international peace. Russia, as a Syrian allly, opposes any action, particularly as there is a Russian military presence in the country.  Mr Nebenzia has also called for the UN Security Council to meet again today to consider their options. President Bashar al-Assad's government denies any involvement in the attacks.  

Ukraine to impose sanctions on Russian oligarchs

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said that he will impose sanctions on Russian oligarchs. The move comes just days after the US Treasury announced sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs and more than a dozen government officials.

Russian football gangs issue threats to England World Cup fans

Russian football hooligans have issued a public warning to English fans travelling to the World Cup later this year, that they plan to "unleash hell" during the football tournament.  FIFA were forced to issue a statement that they have confidence in the host country's ability to guarantee the safety of English fans, despite violent incidents in Spain recently involving Russian Ultras in which a police officer died. The ongoing situation between Westminster and Moscow over the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK is likely to create more tension, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised English football fans to prepare for a hostile reception on arrival.

Threats issued to English football fans

Russian Ultras have reportedly issued a series of violent threats to English football fans ahead of the World Cup - due to take place in Russia this summer. The threats were made on social media, warning English fans were 'handing themselves a death sentence' if they attended the event. Further comments included threatening to 'unleash hell on the English'. The threats come shortly after FIFA announced they had absolute faith that Russia could provide adequate protection for foreign fans. The suitability of the location of the World Cup was brought into question after the UK called Russia out for suspected involvement in the Salisbury nerve agent attack - leading to the biggest collective expulsions of Russian diplomats in history.

Russia to publish UK government correspondence

The Russian government has reportedly announced intentions to make some correspondence with the UK government public. The correspondence in question is that of the current UK Prime Minister Theresa May, during her tenure as the British Home Secretary. May was in the role of Home Secretary from 2010 to 2016 before becoming the Prime Minister. The decision to publish the correspondence is seen as the latest in tit-for-tat diplomatic stand-off between the UK and Russia over the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury.

US Treasury imposes sanctions on Russian oligarchs

Seven Russian oligarchs and more than a dozen government officials have been targeted in a fresh round of economic sanctions imposed by the US Treasury. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that "the Russian government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites", with the intention to undermine western democracies through perverse actions worldwide. Diplomatic tensions between both governments have been high since the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.

Russia to block Telegram messaging app

The Russian government intends to block the Telegram messaging app over a dispute regarding the app's encryption keys. Telegram uses encryption keys to protect users' messages from external scrutiny; however, the app has refused to give the Russian government's media regulator its encryption keys, claiming it doesn't have access to them due to how the app is built. According to the BBC, the Russian government demanded the keys so that it could prevent potential terrorist attacks.

One killed in shopping centre fire

A person has been killed in a shopping centre fire in west Moscow. The blaze broke out at Perseus shopping centre, where 300 people had to be evacuated after the alarm was raised yesterday. According to reports, the fire is thought to have originated from a toys stockroom before spreading to the roof of the four-storey complex. The incident comes less than two weeks after 64 people were killed in a shopping centre fire in Kemerovo, Siberia.

North Korean foreign minister to visit Moscow

The North Korean foreign minister, Ri Hong-yo, is due to make a trip to Moscow next week. Reuters has reported that the visit will see Ri meet with his Russian counterpart, Maria Zakharova, to discuss bilateral ties and key international and regional issues. The current situation on the Korean peninsula is expected to be among other issues discussed.

Russia calls UNSC meeting on Salisbury attack

The Russian government has requested that the UN Security Council (UNSC) meet to discuss the Salisbury nerve agent attack which targeted a Russian ex-spy in the UK last month. According to Reuters, allegations from the UK that the Russian state was involved in the attack will be discussed at the meeting. This will be the second such meeting to take place on the topic, after an initial UNSC meeting was held at Britain's request in mid-March.

Russia accuses Ukraine of piracy in Sea of Azov

The Russian government has accused Ukraine of piracy after the Ukrainian border forces seized a Russian-flagged fishing boat in the Sea of Azov. Although the vessel was Crimean-registered and the Ukrainian authorities claim that the Russian boat illegally crossed into Ukraine's maritime borders. The boat was boarded and its 10-member crew were taken into custody in Berdyans'k by the Ukrainian border force, in what the Russian authorities have described as state-sponsored piracy. According to reports, Russia has threatened to respond by deploying the Russian Navy; however, the Ukrainian authorities have suggested the accusations may be front to legitimise establishing a Russian Navy presence in the Sea of Azov.

Thousands protest abolition of mayoral elections

Thousands of protesters flocked to the streets of Yekaterinburg in Sverdlorsk Oblast yesterday to protest against plans to abolish mayoral elections. The regional authorities are set to replace local elections by appointing a chosen mayor. The decision has been criticised as bureaucratic as it encourages more top-down policy over bottom-up, as practised by the electoral system.

British consulate to further reduce diplomatic presence

The Russian government ordered the British consulate to further reduce their diplomatic presence in parity with the Russian diplomatic presence in the UK. Over 50 diplomatic staff have a month to leave Russia in a retaliatory move supplementing the 23 British diplomats expelled last month. The expulsions come after 28 countries joined the UK in expelling over 120 Russian diplomats in solidarity with the UK over the Skripal case. The BBC reported that Russia also expelled foreign ambassadors from 24 other countries in a like-for-like fashion, with retaliatory measures yet to be taken against Belgium, Hungary, Georgia, and Montenegro. 

State of emergency to be declared over toxic fumes in Volokolamsk

A state of emergency is set to be declared in the town of Volokolamsk over unusual levels of toxic fumes being expelled from a local landfill. Local authorities revealed that levels of hydrogen sulphide have reached more than 10 times the permitted levels. Local residents have demanded that the authorities shut down the Yadrovo waste dump, which is located on the town's outskirts. The evacuation of vulnerable people is also being considered alongside the provision of individual protective gear. In late-March, dozens of children were taken to hospital after suffering from sudden nausea and headaches.

Hundreds evacuated as snowmelt triggers floods in Altai Krai

Hundreds of people were evacuated after a snowmelt triggered widespread flooding in the southern Altai Krai region. Reports revealed that the most affected area was the district of Krasnoshchekovski, which is located near the Kazakh border. Four bridges were also completely destroyed in the Solononshenky and Altai districts. Adverse weather conditions are forecast to continue for the next 24 hours.

NATO expels seven Russian diplomats

Seven Russian diplomats have been expelled by NATO in response to the Salisbury nerve agent attack which targeted Russian ex-spy, Sergei Skripal. The decision supports the UK's claim that Russia violated the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and sends a clear message to Russia that there are consequences for violating international law. According to the BBC, 26 countries have now joined the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats.

Thousands protest in Kemerovo

Thousands of protesters have gathered in Kemerovo following a large shopping centre fire which killed at least 64 people. The demonstrators called for the local authorities to conduct a full probe and inquiry into the fire, which broke out in the Winter Cherry Shopping Centre over the weekend. Some protesting groups have claimed the government has disguised the real death toll and demand that those responsible for the blaze be held to account.

Putin cites negligence for shopping centre death toll

Vladimir Putin has visited the site of the blaze at the shopping centre in Kemerovo, in which 64 people are thought to have died, 41 of them children.  He cited "criminal negligence" as the cause of the high death toll, as fire exits were blocked and the alarm system did not function properly.  In addition, the security guard did not use the public address system to advise people to evacuate the building.  Fire broke out on the upper floors f the Winter Cherry shopping centre on Sunday, where a cinema and a children's play area were located.  Investigations are continuing, and according to sources, the owner and manager of the mall are being questioned, together with two people responsible for installing and maintaining the fire alarm system.  

Scores dead in Kemerovo shopping centre fire

At least 53 people are feared to have died, including up to 43 children, in a blaze in a Siberian shopping centre fire that started while many of the victims were in the cinema on Sunday evening.  660 firefighters tackled the blaze over 17 hours, but they were obstructed by smoke and debris from reaching the affected area, by which time the roof had collapsed. The owner of the complex has been detained for questioning together with the manager and three others.  Kemerovo is a coal-producing area lying about 3,600 kilometres east of Moscow.

EU backs Britain in blaming Russia for spy attack

On Thursday, EU members met in Brussels, and announced that the EU backed Britain in blaming Russia for the nerve agent attack on a former double agent earlier this month.  23 Russian diplomats have been expelled from the UK in the diplomatic row, with the same number of UK embassy staff leaving Moscow today.  Lithuania, Germany,  France and other Baltic states said yesterday that they are ready to recall their diplomats in support of Theresa May.  Russia has denied any involvement in the matter and Vladimir Putin described the EU policy as "unfriendly and provocative".  Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain in critical but stable condition in hospital.

57 children hospitalized after gas leak

Children are being evacuated from a town where 57 have already been hospitalized for exposure to gas poisoning from a toxic landfill.  Local residents from the town of Volokolamsk, 62 miles west of Moscow, held a protest earlier this month, demanding that authorities close down the landfill because it was a health hazard.  Town authorities instigated a temporary state of emergency in the town earlier this month, after high levels of hydrogen sulphide were recorded in the area. 

Kaspersky Lab to open Swiss data centre

Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab has announced that it will open a data centre in Switzerland.  The move comes amid European and US fears that Russia uses the company's anti-virus software to spy on customers.  Last year, the US ordered all civilian government agencies to remove the Kaspersky software from their computers.  The company has strongly rejected the accusations and has filed a lawsuit against the US restrictions.  A company spokesman said that there were various factors for opening the Swiss data centre, but that the US ban had been a trigger. 

Counter-terrorism operation takes place in Dagestan

On 20 March, a counter-terrorism operation took place in the Khasavyurt and Kizilyurt cities in Dagestan.  The objective of the operation was to eradicate any militants and their accomplices operating in the region.  

Two dead and several injured in gas blast in Murmansk

At least two people have been killed and several injured when a residential building partially collapsed following a gas explosion in the city of Murmansk on 20 March.  Three floors of the building were destroyed, and all residents have been evacuated while emergency services search for survivors.  Authorities said that an investigation is under way.

29 people hospitalized after gas exposure in Kalinin

More than 20 people, including children, have been hospitalized after exposure to a "gas" in the Russian village of Kalinin, 500 kilometres southeast of Moscow.  The incident occurred when local Romany residents discovered some tanks, and attempted to open them.  A local dispatch of the Emergency Ministry said that the people were exposed to sulphur dioxide, a toxic gas which has severe respiratory effects and can be life-threatening.  Other symptoms include skin and eye irritation, burning of the nose, throat and lungs as well as severe burns.

Russian diplomats leave London embassy

Around 80 people including diplomats and their families left the Russian embassy today and headed to Moscow, following their expulsion by Theresa May in connection with the poisoning of a former Russian double agent.  Moscow is denying all involvement, and is expelling 23 British diplomats from Moscow on Saturday in response.  Later today the UK government will decide whether to impose further sanctions on Russia.  The leaders of France, Germany and the US and well as Japan have pledged support for the UK, and EU leaders will meet in Brussels on Thursday to discuss any potential response to Russia.  Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain in a critical condition in hospital after coming into contact with a Soviet-era nerve agent in Salisbury on 4 March.  

Putin wins landslide victory

President Vladimir Putin has won a landslide victory garnering over 75 percent of the vote, to extend his rule over the world's largest country for another six years.  At the end of his term, he will be 71-years-old, and will have had political dominance of Russia for nearly a quarter of a century, with only Soviet Dictator Josef Stalin having ruled for longer.  His victory had never been in doubt, with his nearest challenger winning only 13 percent of the vote.  Opposition leader Alexei Navalny had been banned from running. The election comes at a time when Russian ties with the West are on a hostile trajectory, and in his victory speech near Red Square, Putin told a cheering crowd that the result was a vote of confidence in his tough stance towards the West. 

Russia to expel British diplomats

Sergei Lavrov, Russia's Foreign Minister, has confirmed that Moscow will soon expel a number of British diplomats in response to Britain's explusion of 23 of the Kremlin's embassy staff in London.  Russia continues to deny involvement in the poisoning of a former Russian double agent with a Russian military-grade nerve agent.

Russia promises military response to any US Damascus attack

Head of Russia's General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, said on Tuesday that Moscow had information that rebels in Ghouta were planning a fake chemical weapons attack on civilians in order to blame it on the Syrian army.  He added that if the US planned to bomb the government quarter in Damascus in "retaliation", that Russia would respond militarily if they felt that their citizens' lives were endangered in any such attack.  

Russia refuses to respond to ultimatum

Russia has refused to respond to Theresa May's midnight deadline to explain how a Soviet-era nerve agent was used to poison a former Russian double agent in Salisbury, until it receives samples of the chemical substance.  The Russian embassy said that Russia was not involved in the incident, and that any punitive measures would elicit a response.  Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a park bench in Salisbury 10 days ago and remain in critical condition in hospital.

May demands answers from Russia over poisoning attack

Theresa May said yesterday that it was "highly likely" that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Salisbury last week, and called for Moscow to explain why a Russian-made military-grade nerve agent was used in the attack.  She added that if there was no "credible response" by the end of 13 March, the UK would conclude there had been an "unlawful use of force" by Moscow.  The Russian Federation Council's Defence and Security Committee have desribed the accusations as "unfounded".  Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury on 4 March, and remain in critical condition in hospital.  A police officer also fell ill attending to them, remains in hospital seriously ill, but is thought to be recovering.

Terrorist attack foiled in Saratov region

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) reported on Sunday that it has thwarted a terrorist attack in the Saratov region.  According to a statement, security forces tried to stop a car when the occupants opened fire and were killed in retaliatory gunfire.  Guns, a hand grenade and a homemade explosive device were found at the scene.

Russia tests hypersonic missile

Russia has reported that it has successfully tested a hypersonic missile, one of the range of nuclear-capable weapons that President Vladimir Putin announced earlier in the month.  The Defence Ministry said that the missile was launched from a MiG-31 type jet out of a south-west Russian airfield, and that it had hit its' target.  Mr Putin is widely expected to be re-elected for his fourth term as Russia's president next week.

Police launch investigation into discovery of human hands

An investigation has been launched after a bag of 54 severed human hands was found near the Siberian city of Khabarovsk on an island in the Amur River.  Local media have speculated on the gruesome find, including theories about medical amputations, punishment for theft or improperly discarded cadavers from hospitals.  The Amur River island is a popular holiday and fishing spot for residents of Khabarovsk near to the border with China.

Cause of Russian plane crash revealed

The cockpit recordings of Saratov Airlines Flight 703, which crashed on departure from Moscow in February killing 71 people, reveal that the crash happened because the plane's pressure measurement equipment had not been turned on.  This caused the two pilots' displays to show different speed readings, and the captain can be heard advising his co-pilot to gain altitude instead of heading towards the ground.  

120 miners evacuated from Vorkuta mine

A smoke alarm prompted the evacuation of 120 miners from the Komsomolskaya mine just outside Vorkuta, although it was not thought any workers were in danger.  Emergency crews said that smoke had been detected inside a defunct tunnel at a depth of 705 metres, and the miners were being evacuated as a precautionary measure. Incidents involving coal mines happen occasionally in Russia.  

At least seven killed in Chechnya helicopter crash

At least seven people are believed to have died when a helicopter crashed in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya.  According to Meduza news website, the vehicle was an Mi-8 helicopter belonging to the Border Guard Service.  Chechnya has seen Islamic insurgency against the Russian state, although has become less common.

Campaign rally held to support re-election of Putin

Tens of thousands of Putin supporters gathered for a campaign rally to support Vladimir Putin on Saturday.  The event was attended by Putin himself, who is seeking a fourth term and faces little opposition in the 18 March elections.

Putin refers to a raft of undetectable nuclear weapons

In his pre-election presidential speech, moved forward to a few days ahead of the elections rather than in December as usual, Vladimir Putin has referred to new an array of nuclear weapons that Russia have developed.  He revealed that the weapons could not be detected, but would only be used defensively, and not with Russia as the aggressor.  Putin is expected to win the 18 March elections to secure his fourth term.

Russia considering withdrawing from European Convention of Human Rights

The RIA News Agency has reported that Russia is considering withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights and ceasing co-operation with the European Court of Human Rights, because they felt that many of their decisions ran counter to Russia's interests.

Putin vows to reduce poverty by half

In a pre-election speech, Vladimir Putin has said that he intends to reduce poverty by half within six years.  Mr Putin is declaring his key policies for the election in 17 days time, in which he is expected to win his fourth presidential term.  There are seven challengers , but these do not include opposition leader Alexei Navalny who has been barred from running, and is calling on voters to boycott the 18 March elections. He also addressed the concerns of Russians, outlining his policies on reducing road accidents, improving conditions of teachers, and providing better medical care in remote areas as well as improving internet connection.

Nine killed in minibus accident

According to police officials, nine people have been killed when a minibus collided with a lorry.  The incident took place in the Bashkiria region.  No further information is yet available, but police have opened an investigation into the cause of the accident.

One police officer killed in domestic shootout

A shootout occurred in a residential apartment block in Kazan on 27 February, when a drunk man with a rifle started shooting outside the property of his ex-wife, injuring three people.  One of them, a special forces police officer was killed.  The man had previously been detained for domestic violence and he had spent 10 days in custody shortly before the incident. There was initially some confusion over whether the perpetrator had an accomplice, but police have now confirmed that the attacker had been detained. 

Explosion kills one in Pozhva

One person has been killed and three injured when a gas cylinder exploded in Pozhva, Perm Krai.  An investigation is under way to determine the cause of the accident.

Thousands march for murdered opposition politician

Thousands of people marched in central Moscow to mark the third anniversary of the murder of Boris Nemtsov, a Russian opposition leader who was shot dead as he walked across a bridge  near the Kremlin on 27 February 2015.  In 2017 a former Chechnyan solider and four others were jailed for his murder, but Nemtsov's supporters insist that those who organized and financed the hit have not been caught.  The 55-year-old was a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin, and had been working on a report on Russia's role in the Ukraine conflict at the time of his death.

Opposition leader briefly detained

On Thursday Alexei Navalny, the opposition leader, was detained by the police for around an hour, with officials warning him that he faces 30 days in prison if he continues to organize illegal protests.  Just last month, Navalny was wrestled to the ground by police during protests calling for a boycott of the 18 March presidential elections, which he is banned from participating in after being convicted of fraud in what many believe was a politically motivated investigation. It seems likely that Vladimir Putin will win the elections as he has held power for 18 years and has approval ratings in excess of 80 percent.  

One injured in Moscow shooting

One person was injured when an unidentified person opened fire on Chertanovskaya Street in Moscow yesterday.  Police have opened an investigation.

Russian destroyer catches fire

A Pacific Fleet spokesman has confirmed that a fire broke out on board a Russian destroyer at the Dalzavod ship repair yard early on Friday.  The destroyer has been in the shipyard for repair work and refurbishment since 2015, and it is thought that the fire started due to welding work being undertaken.  The crew were evacuated and no injuries were reported.

Hackers steal $6 million from Russian banks in 2017

The Russian central bank reported on Friday that hackers had stolen 339.5 rubles ($6 million) in an attack on the SWIFT international payments scheme in Russia last year. Brussels based SWIFT whose messaging system is used to transfer trillions of dollars worldwide each day, said that digital heists were becoming more sophisticated and declined to provide further information. 

Human error likely to have caused plane crash

It is believed that human error may have been the cause of the plane crash on Sunday which led to 71 deaths.  Preliminary investigations have shown that the pilots failed to apply heating to the pressure sensors before take-off, which may have led to the wrong speed data being displayed. The Saratov Airlines jet crashed minutes after taking off from Domodedovo airport in Moscow.  Vigils were held in Orsk and Moscow on Monday.  

Flight investigators search Russian crash site

Russian investigators are searching the wreckage of the Saratov Airlines plane which crashed near Moscow on Sunday. All 71 passengers and crew onboard the An-148 were killed in the crash, which occurred minutes after it took off from the Domodedovo airport. Officials are looking into whether a technical fault or weather conditions were to blame for the accident, with no indication that the incident was terrorism-related.

Four dead in Moscow bus crash

Four people have been killed after a bus crash into the entrance to a Metro station in Moscow. Eleven people were also wounded in the incident, which occurred at the Slaviansky Boulevard station on Monday. The driver told police he lost control of the vehicle and there are no indications that the incident was terror-related.

Lower house passes law on life sentence to terror-linked activities

Russia's lower house of parliament has passed legislation which rules to introduce life sentences for terrorist recruiters. The bill aims to harden punishments for individuals linked to terror activities in Russia, which includes tougher measures against people who incite or are generally involved with terrorism. The new bill seeks to introduce sentences ranging from eight to 20 years or a life sentence. Since the recent terrorist attack at the St Petersburg metro, Russia's security agency, FSB, has intensified raids to capture terrorists and recruiters allegedly linked to the Islamic State (IS).

Bus crash kills 15 in Mari El

At least 15 people have been killed and several others were injured when a passenger bus crashed into a lorry in Mari El, western Russia. Local officials revealed that the accident happened on Thursday on a regional highway near the village of Vyzimyary. It has been reported that the collision occurred after the bus was attempted to take over another vehicle amid heavy snow conditions. 

Lawmakers approve bill that labels international media as foreign agents

Russian lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to approve a new controversial media legislation that rules that international media networks operating in Russia should be registered as foreign agents. 414 members of the parliament's lower house unanimously approved the bill, which came after the US government ordered the Russian-state news company RT to be registered as a foreign agent in the US. President Vladimir Putin is set to sign the bill into law later in the month. It is expected that state-funded western media networks would be the initial targets - the full list will be gradually released by the Ministry of Justice. RT has been accused of meddling on behalf of the Russian government in the 2016 US presidential elections.

Several killed in light aircraft crash in Khabarovsk, Far East

Six people have been killed after a light aircraft crashed in Russia's far eastern region of Khabarovsk. Russian news reported that the accident happened in the early hours of Wednesday morning while en route to Nelkan. Five passengers along with two crew members were on board the L-410 aircraft, which was being operated by the regional Khabarovsk Airlines. A three-year-old child survived the crash but remains in a critical condition.

Police officer found dead near Moscow university

A police officer has been found dead near a university in Moscow. The officer's dead body was found with a gunshot wound in a park near the Moscow State University in the Ramenskoy district of Moscow. According to local reports, several weapons were found alongside the officer's body; however, the circumstances behind the death remain unclear. Investigations are ongoing.

FSB detains dozens of Islamist group members in Moscow

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has announced on Tuesday that 69 suspected members of an Islamist movement have been detained during a raid near Moscow. According to the FSB, the suspects were members of the outlawed missionary movement Tablighi Jamaat and most of them are from Central Asian nations. Tablighi Jamaat was banned in Russia back in 2009 after the Supreme Court declared it an extremist organisation.

Russian journalist stabbed at Moscow office

A prominent Russian journalist has been stabbed in the neck at her office in the capital, Moscow. Tatyana Felgenhauer, deputy editor of Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow) radio station, is in a serious condition following the incident, which took place at around midday on Monday. The assailant used pepper spray on a security guard to gain access to the building. Vitaly Ruvinsky, Ekho’s website editor, said the attacker has been arrested. The station is considered one of the few remaining independent news outlets in Russia, and often provides a platform for critics of the Kremlin.

Moscow station evacuated amid bomb threat

A bomb threat has sparked a full evacuation of a train station in central Moscow. Hundreds of travellers were forced to leave Yaroslavsky train station after law enforcement agencies received information regarding a credible bomb threat. According to reports, as many as 450 people have been evacuated from the station - including all staff and passengers - as the emergency services respond to the scene. A bomb disposal unit has reportedly been dispatched, along with a specialised canine team. The train station is usually busy and the evacuation will cause significant disruption which could have an affect on services throughout the duration of the day.

Russia imposes restrictions on North Korea

The Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree imposing restrictions on North Korea. According to Reuters, the decree is part of a wider set of sanctions from UN members, delivered to comply with a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution agreed in response to missile tests conducted by Pyongyang late last year. North Korea and Russia share an ideological history in Communist regimes; however, their relationship has become strained in recent years amid mounting pressure on Russia from the international community to condemn North Korea's actions. The signing of the Russian decree comes on the same day it was the EU announced a total ban on investment in North Korea.

Anonymous bomb threats prompt mass evacuations

On October 6, Russian officials reported that anonymous bomb threats were causing mass evacuations throughout the country. Officials reported that more than 1,500 people were evacuated from at least five schools in Moscow, the Moscow Oblast legislature, and other buildings as more than 30 anonymous bomb threats were received in the space of one hour. Similar calls were made regarding public buildings in St Petersberg, including the Ohta Mall where hundreds of people were evacuated.

Seventeen killed as train crashes into bus in Vladimir

At least 17 people have been killed when a train crashed into a bus in the Vladimir Region, about 190km east of Moscow. According to the Kazakhstan's foreign ministry, 55 Uzbek passengers were on board at the time of the crash. Preliminary reports suggest that the driver of the Kazakh-plated vehicle failed to stop at a red traffic light and broke down while crossing the rail tracks.

Armenian businessman shot dead in Moscow

An Armenian businessman, Arsen Papazyan, has reportedly been shot dead in the Voronezh region of Moscow. According to reports, the victim was targeted by an unidentified assailant armed with a machine gun. The gunman reportedly opened fire on Papazyan near his apartment building on Myasnitskaya Street. Papazyan was a local businessman and the chairman of the Committee on Nationalities Affairs of the local public chamber. The police are treating the incident as a murder case and have launched investigations to identify the attacker and determine the motive.

Opposition leader faces new prison sentence over protests

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been detained ahead of fresh anti-government protests in western Russia. Navalny, who was previously detained on two occasions, was sentenced to 20 days in prison for violating laws on public meetings. He was set to take part in a protest in the provincial city of Nizhny Novgorod located around 420km east of Moscow. He is also being sentenced days ahead of calling a demonstration in St Petersburg during President Vladimir Putin's birthday on Saturday. Navalny - despite being declared as ineligible by the electoral commission for previous fraud allegations - is one of the main challengers against Putin ahead of the 2018 presidential elections, which Putin seeks to win a new six-year-term in office.

Christian extremist jailed for links to Moscow arson attack

The leader of a hardline Christian group has been preventively jailed over links to an arson attack in Moscow. Aleksandr Kalinin was detained last week for his alleged involvement in attacks targeting several vehicles parked outside offices linked to the controversial movie Matilda, which was heavily criticised by radical Russian Orthodox groups. A court spokesperson said that: "At the request of the investigator, Kalinin has been remanded in custody until November 22." Matilda is being directed by Aleksei Uchitel and portraits a romantic case involving Nicholas II, Russia's last tzar. Kalinin's Christian State-Holy Rus has issued a number of threats against the movie ahead of its premiere next month.

Russian submarine fires missiles at terrorist targets in Syria

The Russian Ministry of Defence has claimed that a Russian submarine has fired a series of Kalibr cruise missiles at terrorist targets in Syria. The missiles are thought to have targets in the Idlib governorate and were reportedly launched as a military response to a terrorist attack on Russian troops in the neighbouring Hama governorate on Tuesday. Russian news sources have claimed the missiles were fired from the 'Veliky Novgorod' attack submarine in the Mediterranean Sea, targeting key strategic terrorist positions, such as operational command points and training camps.

Ruling party secures massive regional elections win

Candidates of the ruling United Russia party have secured victory in all 15 regional offices in Sunday's gubernatorial elections. As the official vote count is still to be announced, the ruling party and government allies also garnered key municipal seats. However, opposition and independent candidates claimed an unprecedented victory in several municipal seats mainly in the capital Moscow. This was the latest major vote to be held in Russia before the 2018 presidential elections, where President Vladimir Putin seeks to secure a fourth term in office.

Gubernatorial elections to be held across Russia

Russians are set to head to the polls on Sunday ahead of the country's gubernatorial elections. A record 7,500 candidates will run for 1,500 seats in the district councils, while 16 regions will be electing their governors. Gubernatorial elections in Russia are often accused of benefiting the ruling United Russia Party. However, opposition and independent candidates hope for better results this year compared with the previous elections held in 2012, mainly due to an increasing distrust in official institutions.

Four wounded in school shooting near Moscow

At least four people have been wounded in a shooting incident in a school near Moscow. The incident occurred on Monday in the Ivanteyevka area on the outskirts of the Moscow region. According to reports, a 15-year-old student attacked a teacher with an axe before opening fire on fellow pupils with an air gun and throwing homemade smoke grenades. The teacher has reportedly suffered injuries to the head, while at least three students were wounded in the ensuing panic caused by the incident. The teenager has been detained and is currently being held in police custody for questioning. The motive behind the attack remains unclear; however, it's believed the suspect may have been suffering from poor mental health.

Hundreds evacuated in Elbrus mountain landslide

Hundreds of people have had to be evacuated and rescued after a massive landslide has occurred in the mountainous Kabardino-Balkaria region. A landslide which started in the Adyl-Su ravine on Elbrus mountain has blocked the A-158 Federal Highway - the main road leading to tourist resorts in the area. Over three kilometres of road have been blocked and five settlements have been cut off with at least 525 tourists on Elbrus mountain at the time of the incident. Helicopters have been deployed as rescue operations continue and Relief Web has reported that as many as 49 tourist groups - over 300 people in total - remain in the emergency zone around the landslide. No casualties have been reported and over 15 tonnes of emergency supplies have been dispatched to the area. The cause of the landslide has been attributed to heavy rain loosening unstable terrain high up the mountain.

Hundreds trapped due to mudslide in Kabardino-Balkaria

More than 500 people have been trapped after a massive mudslide hit the mountainous Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, south-western Russia. Local media reported on Friday that around 350 tourists are among the affected after a powerful landslide struck from the slopes of Adyl-Su gorge. It is believed that more than 7,700 people are also blocked from leaving the region due to the erosive soil along the roads in Elbrus region. Emergency services announced that search and rescue operations have already been launched.

Film director's studio attacked with Molotov cocktails

Arsonists fired Molotov cocktails at the building of the controversial film director Alexei Uchitel, who is set to release a movie portraying a romance between Tsar Nicholas II and a ballerina. The incident was reported on Thursday at the Lendok building in St Petersburg, while it remains unclear who is behind the attack. The movie is being heavily criticised by conservative and religious groups as the Tsar is designated as a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church.

Two IS suspects detained in Moscow

Two suspected Islamic State (IS) terrorists have been detained after allegedly plotting terror attacks in Moscow. According to reports, the Russian security service arrested two Asian nationals suspected of planning to carry out at least two terror attacks in Moscow on Friday 01 September. One suspect allegedly planned to carry out a suicide bombing and was found to be in possession of parts used in the manufacturing process of an improvised explosive device (IED). The other suspect was found to be in direct contact with IS recruiters and had also uploaded a video online in which he pledged allegiance to the IS.

Parliament deputy shot and killed in Chechnya

A parliamentary deputy, Mukhmad Askhabov, has been shot and killed in an incident in Chechnya. The incident occurred on Friday along the Achkhoi-Martanovskoho highway, where Askhabov was travelling to work in his car when unidentified gunmen opened fire on him - causing Askhabov to crash his car. Askhabov was pronounced dead at the scene and a criminal investigation into the targeted attack has been launched. 

Police officer killed in Dagestan stabbing

A police officer has been killed and another has been wounded in a stabbing incident in the Republic of Dagestan. The attack occurred in Kaspiysk, where two armed assailants allegedly targeted and attacked police officers whilst bearing Islamic State (IS) banners. The attackers were reportedly shot dead by other police officers. No direct link tot he IS has yet been confirmed; however, the terror group has claimed responsibility for similar incidents in the past. The attack is the third such incident to result in police casualties in Dagestan this year.

Four killed in Dagestan counter-terror operation

At least four people have been killed in a recent counter-terror operation conducted in the Republic of Dagestan. The operation was carried out by counter-terror police officers on the outskirts of Khasavyurt city, targeting a suspected militants hideout. At least two Khasavyurt militants were allegedly killed after they resisted arrest and opened fire on the police officers. Two police officers were also killed in the crossfire. Various heavy and light weapons and ammunition were confiscated from the property, while a cache of explosive weapons was also destroyed.

Fourteen killed in Krasnodar bus crash

At least 14 people have been killed in a bus crash in the Krasnodar Territory. The passenger bus had been transporting a group of construction workers to the pier in Volna village of the Temryuk district when the accident occurred. According to reports, the bus fell into the sea on the outskirts of the village. Emergency response rescue operations rescued at least 24 people from the wreckage; however, at least 14 people have been confirmed dead. Investigations into the cause of the accident have been launched, with local authorities suspecting the crash was caused by a criminal traffic violation.

Theatre director's arrest sparks outrage in Moscow

Hundreds of protesters gathered around the Bosmany court in Moscow during the hearing of the prominent theatre director Kirill Serebrennikov. Protesters and journalists attempted to join Serebrennikov's court audition after he was detained on Tuesday under embezzlement charges - he and some of his associates are accused of stealing 68m rubles (£900,000) in government funds. Serebrennikov was sent on Thursday to house arrest until mid-October before facing a criminal trial.

Four terror suspects killed in counter-terror operations

Four terror suspects have been killed in counter-terror operations being conducted in the Republic of Ingushetia. The Russian security forces surrounded a house believed to be a militant hideout on Aziryyeva street in the village of Psedakh in the northern Malgobeksky district. According to reports, the suspects resisted arrest and opened fire on the security forces from within the house - leading to a fatal shootout. The surrounding area has been cordoned off and closed to traffic as investigations are launched.

State of emergency declared over fires in Rostov-on-Don

At least 500 people have been ordered to evacuate as a fire has quickly spread across a residential area in Rostov-on-Don, southern Russia. Local authorities have declared a state of emergency in the city after around 10,000 square metres and more than 25 residences were engulfed by the flames on Monday afternoon. Regional authorities revealed that three people were hospitalised, while at least 25 others were assisted at the scene. Emergency services revealed that the fires were completely extinguished in most areas by the end of the afternoon.

US Embassy to suspend visa emissions amid rising diplomatic tensions

The US Embassy in Moscow announced on Monday a brief suspension on the emission of tourist visas. The measure will become active from Wednesday and is set to last until early-September. However, according to the Washington Post, such services will remain indefinitely suspended in the consulates in St Peterburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok. The move comes after the US was ordered to dramatically reduce its embassy and consulate staff stationed in Russia in a retaliatory move amid rising diplomatic tensions.

Putin nominates Anatoly Antonov as new Ambassador to the US

Russian President Vladimir Putin has nominated Anatoly Antonov as Russia's new ambassador to the US. As diplomatic tensions between both countries remain high - mainly due to Russia's alleged collusion in the 2016 US presidential elections - Antonov is set to replace Sergey Kislyak, a long-time diplomat reportedly involved in the scandal. Antonov has been deputy foreign minister since December and is set to assume office almost at the same time as the new US Ambassador to Russia John Huntsman - who faces a mission to manage a heavily limited diplomatic contingent after 755 US staff were ordered to leave the country.

Two killed in Khasavyurt explosion, Dagestan

Two people have been killed and two others were injured when an unidentified device went off in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan. Russian media reported that the blast happened in a field near Khasavyurt's Novogagatli village, while the circumstances behind the incident remain unclear. Interior Ministry sources confirmed the explosion and announced that investigations are ongoing.

Seven injured in Surgut knife attack, Siberia

Seven people have been injured when a knifeman attacked pedestrians in the Siberian town of Surgut, Khanty-Mansiysk. Preliminary investigations suggest that the attacker was a 23-year-old local resident with a history of mental illness. Russian authorities are treating the incident as an attempted murder and have not issued further details regarding a potential terrorist attack despite claims of responsibility from the Islamic State (IS) group through its official news channel Amaq News Agency.

Four terror suspects detained in Moscow

Four suspected terrorists have been arrested by the Russian intelligence service (FSB) on suspicion of plotting an explosive terror attack. According to reports, the FSB has confirmed that one of the detainees has been identified as a Russian citizen, while the other three suspects are believed to be from the Central Asian region. The group are thought to have links to the Islamic State (IS) and were allegedly preparing to carry out suicide bombing attacks in public places in Moscow - such as transport systems and shopping centres. 

Court sentences journalist to three-and-half years in prison

A Russian investigative journalist has been sentenced to three-and-half years in prison for alleged ties to political extremism. Alexander Sokolov and three others were arrested back in July 2015, when they planned to organise an online referendum amid embezzlement investigations linked to officials in Russia's Far East. Sokolov is being accused of creating the 'For Responsible Government' campaign which aimed to make politicians more accountable. Reporters Without Borders condemned the charges, while rights organisations considered Sokolov and his peers as political prisoners.

President Putin visits breakaway region of Abkhazia, Georgia

President Vladimir Putin has visited the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia. On Tuesday, Putin met with Abkhazia's leader Raul Khadzhimba to assure his commitment to militarily support the region. Putin said: "We reliably guarantee the security, self-sufficiency and independence of Abkhazia. I am sure that will continue to be the case". The visit - highly criticised by NATO and the Georgian government - came nearly a week after US Vice-President Mike Pence visited Georgia's capital Tbilisi and condemned foreign support for separatist rebels.

Sixteen missing due to floods at far eastern diamond mine

More than 150 workers have been evacuated after a flood engulfed a pumping station of a diamond mine in Yakutia, Russia's far east. Mir's mine owner Alrosa confirmed that the incident happened on Friday afternoon and that 16 miners are still missing. Local authorities are still investigating the incident, while preliminary reports suggest that a 300,000-cubic-metre water pit may be the source of the flooding.

US President signs Russia sanctions bill

US President Donald Trump has signed a bill that imposes fresh sanctions on Russia over its alleged collusion on the US Presidential elections last year. The bill overwhelmingly passed through both houses of US Congress and triggered a series of retaliations from Russia, including the departure of 755 US diplomatic staff stationed in the country. The new piece of legislation will also include renewed sanctions on North Korea and Iran. The bill struggled to come to its final format and it was feared to be rejected by Trump as it limits his powers to eventually lift such sanctions in the future.

Moldova declares deputy PM persona non grata

Moldova's Foreign Ministry declared Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin persona non grata. Rogozin is banned from entering and crossing the country as Russian-Moldovan diplomatic relations further deteriorate. Rogozin had his flight re-directed on Friday after Romanian authorities barred him from entering EU airspace, while he was on his way to Chisinau - Rogozin currently faces EU sanctions imposed after the Crimean annexation to Russia in 2014.

Three killed, five wounded in Moscow courthouse shooting

As many as three people have been killed and five others have been wounded in a shooting incident in a Moscow courthouse. The building has been evacuated as police arrive at the scene. According to the BBC, a group of defendants were due to stand trial in the courthouse when five suspects attacked court security personnel - attempting to grab their firearms and take hostages. Three of the suspects were killed as they tried to escape, while two others were wounded. Three security personnel were also wounded, including two police officers and a Russian National Guard.

Deputy PM barred from entering EU airspace

Russia's Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin has been barred from entering EU airspace after Romanian authorities ordered his commercial flight to divert from its route. Rogozin, who faces an EU visa ban, was heading to Moldova's capital Chisinau when his flight was denied transit through Romania. Russia's Foreign Ministry confirmed the action and said that: "Moscow is treating the incident as a deliberate provocation, which seriously damages the bilateral relations".

Russian President orders 755 US diplomatic staff to leave Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered 755 US diplomatic staff out of Moscow in retaliation for recent US sanctions. The decision will more than halve the staffing levels at US diplomatic quarters in Moscow - leaving just 455 staff in place. President Putin announced the decision on Friday and has since confirmed figures and further details - stating that the expelled US staff must leave by Friday 01 September. The BBC has reported that the expulsion is believed to be the biggest of its kind in modern history. The US has allegedly called the expulsion order a "regrettable and uncalled for act" which will have widespread limitations and consequences.

US ordered to reduce diplomatic staff in Russia

The US has been ordered to reduce its diplomatic staff in Russia by the end of the year. The order from Moscow comes as a retaliatory move to new US sanctions imposed on Russia, along with Iran and North Korea. Bloomberg has reported that the US embassy has been told by the Kremlin to cut its diplomatic personnel to just 455 staff and has been denied access to several buildings. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that "the passage of new law on sanctions shows with all obviousness that relations with Russia have become hostage to the domestic battle within the US".

Hundreds protest against internet censorship in Moscow

Hundreds of demonstrators marched on the streets of Moscow to protest against government-sponsored internet censorship. Demonstrators took to the streets of the capital on Sunday to demand the resignation of Aleksandr Zhakov, the head of the state agency internet regulator Roskomnadzor. The protest came just days after the parliament approved a bill that bans the use of anonymous messaging services accounts and forbids the use of Internet proxy services, such as virtual private networks (VPN).

Powerful 7.8-earthquake trigger tsunami alert in Kamchatka

A tsunami alert has been issued for some areas of the Pacific after a strong 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Far East Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. According to the US Geological Survey, the powerful quake was recorded late on Monday some 125km off Nikolskoye, in the Bering Island. An alert was also issued for Alaska's remote Aleutian Islands. This region in the north-western Pacific is prone to strong earthquakes, mainly due to the interaction between the Pacific and North America tectonic plates.

Seven dead as fire destroys workshop near St Petersburg

At least seven bodies have been recovered after a massive fire broke out at an industrial area in Saint Petersburg. The emergency services rushed to Kolpino overnight on Wednesday when flames consumed a cobblestone workshop. Local media reported that all victims were Uzbek nationals. While it remains unclear what caused the fire, preliminary investigations suggest it was triggered by the electrical systems short-circuiting. The incident comes just days after more than a dozen people were injured in a fire at a Moscow shopping centre.

Five Chechens convicted for murdering opposition leader

A Russian court has sentenced five Chechens for the murder of the opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, killed in Moscow in early-2015. Among the convicted was Zaur Dadyev, a key security member for the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov - who was a close ally of President Vladimir Putin. Dadayev was sentenced to 20 years in prison, while his accomplices received up to 19 years. Nemtsov, an avid Putin critic, was shot dead while on a bridge outside the Kremlin. Despite investigations initially suggesting an assassination, the court and prosecution systematically delayed the matter for months.

Fourteen wounded in shopping centre fire, Moscow

As many as 14 people - including a seven-year-old child - have been wounded after a fire broke out in a shopping centre in Moscow. The fire broke out on Monday afternoon at the Rio shopping centre near the Dmitrovskoe Highway in north-east Moscow. The fire spread to cover a 1,000 square metre areas before the emergency services managed to contain the blaze. Investigations into the cause of the fire are now underway. The shopping centre remains closed as the building is being ventilated after filling with thick black smoke.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny released from prison

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been released after spending 25 days in prison for his role in recent anti-government protests. Navalny, an avid government critic, was arrested just before widespread demonstrations across Moscow in mid-June. Navalny was previously banned from running for president due to a previous embezzlement conviction. Navalny's release came just one day after security forces raided his pre-election campaign offices in the capital.

Investigators raid opposition leader's election offices

Russian authorities raided on Thursday the elections headquarters of Alexei Navalny, a fierce government critic who has been recently arrested for calling widespread protests in Moscow. Navalny's supporters told Reuters that the authorities seized pre-election material - to be distributed in a campaign on Saturday - from a warehouse. Navalny has been banned from running for 2018 presidential elections due to his criminal conviction for embezzlement.

Three killed in Norilsk mine explosion

Three people have been killed and at least five others remain unaccounted for following an explosion in a mine in Norilsk. A powerful blast occurred in the Zapolyarny coal mine on Friday morning, prompting the evacuation of 135 mine workers. Rescue operations are underway; however, the five missing people have likely been killed due to their proximity to the explosion. The cause of the accident remains unclear as investigations are ongoing.

Hundreds of troops undertake military drill in Kislovo, Pskov

More than 2,500 troops have been deployed along Russia's Baltic border to take part in an airborne military drill. State news agencies reported that the counter-terrorist exercise started on Wednesday in the Pskov region, near the border with Latvia and Estonia - both NATO members. The drill will involve Russia's elite paratrooper division (VDV) near the town of Kislovo. Tensions are high in the region since the Crimean annexation to Russia in 2014, where NATO fear a potential Russian aggression targeting its allies along the Baltic region.

Several killed in bus crash near Zainsk, Tatarstan

At least 14 people have been killed and several others injured when a passenger bus crashed with a lorry in Tatarstan region, south-western Russia. Local authorities revealed that the accident happened near Zainsk in the early hours of Sunday when the bus was travelling from Samara to Izhevsk. Preliminary reports revealed that the bus driver was blinded by oncoming headlights before the crash. Both drivers were brought into custody as investigations are ongoing. Deadly road accidents often occur in Russia, mainly due to poor road conditions and reckless driving.

President Putin extends embargo on Western food

President Vladimir Putin announced on Friday an 18-month extension on Russia's embargo on food products from Western countries. The measure, which was extended until 2019, will ban Russian imports of dairy, meat and other food products mainly from the EU and the US. The embargo came into force in 2014 after the US and the EU established economic sanctions - which were recently strengthened - during the emergence of the Ukrainian crisis. The announcement comes as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov informed to halt further payments to the Council of Europe.

Oil and steel companies hit by major cyberattack

The Russian steel company, Evroz, and the state-owned oil company, Rosneft, have both been hit by major cyberattacks. Both companies have reportedly suffered computer outages and IT systems failures similar to those experienced by Ukrainian, Spanish, Russian, Danish, and British companies - prompting speculation the attacks are linked. According to the BBC, preliminary reports have suggested that the attacks appear to be a form of ransomware called 'Petrwap' - an updated version of 'Petya' ransomware - similar to the WannaCry which hit dozens of companies worldwide earlier this year.

Businessman shot dead in Moscow

A businessman has been shot dead in an incident in central Moscow. The victim - the owner of a construction company - was targeted near his office on Vereyskaya Street, where he was shot at several times, receiving a fatal shot to the chest. Police investigations have been launched to determine the motive behind the murder and to identify the perpetrator(s).

Dozens of wildfires remain active in Russia's Far East

The Regional Forestry Department announced on Monday that at least 40 wildfires remain active in the country's far east. Most incidents are in Yakutia, while the remaining others have been reported in the Amur region. Since the start of the year, more than 1,000 wildfires were reported in the far eastern region of Russia, most of them in isolated forest areas.

Russia threatens to ban messaging app Telegram

The Russian government has threatened to ban the messaging app Telegram after the company refused to give information to the communication regulator giant Roskomnazor. Such would force the end-to-end encryption app to provide chat histories and encryption keys to authorities. Reuters reported on Thursday that Russia demanded access to source codes of security products of Western companies such as Cisco, IBM and SAP. Last June, the parliament approved the anti-terror Yarovaya law, which rules telecom companies to provide a six-month communication record of users' data.

EU to extend economic sanctions against Russia

EU leaders agreed on Wednesday to extend economic sanctions against Russia for another six months. The decision came during a two-day summit in Brussels, where the 28-member bloc decided to proceed with further actions due to Russia's involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. Since the Crimean annexation to Russia in 2014, the EU has been renewing economic sanctions on Russia every six months. The move came just days after the US Senate approved plans to reinforce further economic sanctions over Russia's links to the Syrian regime.

Three wounded in Moscow train collision

Three people have been wounded in a train collision in a Moscow train station. The incident occurred at Kursky train station in Moscow, where a fast-travelling train en route to Nizhny Novgood collided with a low-speed train. The collision caused four carriages to derail, injuring at least three passengers. Over 550 passengers were evacuated from the trains and the station was temporarily closed following the incident. Investigations have determined that a mechanical fault may have caused the collision.

North Korean vessel allegedly hijacks Russian yacht

A Russian yacht has allegedly been hijacked by a North Korean ship in the Sea of Japan. The Russian Foreign Ministry is reportedly investigating the situation after receiving a distress signal from the yacht in the north-western region of the Sea of Japan on Wednesday. The sea rescue and coordination centre in the Primorsky region has allegedly confirmed that the ship has been seized for unknown reasons. The yacht had at least three Russian citizens aboard and was en route from Taiwan to Vladivostok via the South Korean port of Pohang. No communication has been had with the yacht since the distress signal. Another Russian yacht was detained by a North Korean vessel last year and was held for several days before being released with no explanation. 

Opposition leader banned to run in 2018 elections

Russia's election commission chief revealed on Wednesday that the opposition leader Alexei Navalny will not be allowed to run in the 2018 Presidential elections. He told the independent news outlet TV Rain that the decision comes due to a previous conviction for embezzlement. Navalny has been a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin through the organisation of several protests in Moscow. He is currently serving a 30-day prison sentence after allegedly violating protest organisation guidelines.

Lawmakers approve controversial bill to scrap Soviet-era buildings

Russian lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to approve a controversial law aimed to demolish Soviet-era buildings in Moscow. The bill, which is part of an urban development project in the capital, was approved on Wednesday by the Russian state parliament with 399 votes out of 450. Several protests have taken place recently against the project, which is claimed to hinder the rights of some local residents and small-business owners who refuse to be resettled.

US Senate agree to reinforce sanctions on Russia

The US Senate reached an agreement on Monday to harden existing economic sanctions on Russia. The decision has been heavily supported by both Democrats and Republicans amid an ongoing row which blames Russia of involvement in the 2016 US Presidential elections - and among other issues such as Syrian regime backing and Crimea's annexation. The bill still has to pass the House of Representatives and to be signed by President Donald Trump. 

Hundreds arrested in anti-government rallies nationwide

More than 200 people were arrested on Monday during anti-government rallies in Moscow. The government had previously allowed protests to be organised on the outskirts of the city but demonstrators stormed the capital's main streets and headed towards the Kremlin, where they were suppressed by riot police. Protests also took place in St Petersburg, where international media reported more than 500 arrests. Moments before the unrest, opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested in Moscow over claims of violation on protest rules - he was later sentenced to 30 days of detention.

Opposition leader arrested ahead of Moscow protests

Russian police have arrested opposition leader Alexei Navalny amid a wave of nationwide protests on Monday. Navalny, who is a fierce government critic and is seeking to run for president in 2018, was detained after leaving his apartment in Moscow as thousands of people take to the streets in anti-corruption rallies. Despite Russian authorities allowing the protest, the opposition claims government interference attempted to disrupt it.

Dozen killed in bus crash in Russia's Far East

At least a dozen people have been killed and scores injured in a bus crash in Russia's far east. Regional authorities revealed on Monday that the vehicle overturned on the road between Irkutsk and Chita while carrying more than 50 Russian Orthodox pilgrims to visit local monasteries in Urluk. Deadly road accidents often occur in Russia, mainly due to poor road conditions and reckless driving.

Russian authorities assist terror arrests in Abkhazia

Five terror suspects have been detained by law enforcement authorities in the disputed Abkhazia territory. The State Security Services (SSS) of Abkhazia and the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) carried out a joint operation to apprehend five Tajik nationals on suspicion of terrorist activity. The suspects have been handed over to the Russian authorities and will be investigated for links to the Islamic State (IS). Abkhazia - which lies between Russia and Georgia - is recognised by the UN and Georgia as a separatist republic of Georgia. Russia is one of the few countries worldwide to recognise territory as an independent republic.

Man killed in police shootout, Dagestan

A man has been killed in a shootout with police officers in Dagestan. The suspect allegedly attacked police officers in the Laksky district, where he reportedly threw a hand grenade at the police forces before opening fire with an automatic firearm. The police forces responded in kind, shooting the assailant dead.

Hundreds protest demolition of Soviet-style buildings in Moscow

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Russian parliament to demand government plans to demolish thousands of outdated Soviet-era buildings in the capital. The demonstration came during Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin's address to the house's lower chamber over an urban redevelopment project. Previous protests argued that the project will mainly hinder the rights of some local residents and small-business owners who refuse to be resettled.

Earthquake strikes near Kamchatska Peninsula

An earthquake has struck near the Kamchatka Peninsula in far eastern Russia. The 5.1-magnitude earthquake had a depth of 49km and its epicentre was located approximately 84km east-north-east of Severo in the Kuril'sk area. No damages or casualties have been reported and no tsunami warning has been issued. Powerful earthquakes have occurred in the area in the past due to its proximity to the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench where the Pacific Plate pushes against the Okhotsk Plate.

Ukrainian librarian in Moscow sentenced over extremism

A 59-year-old Ukrainian librarian has been sentenced to four years in jail for extremism. A Russian court ruled on Monday that Natalya Sharina - who has been under house arrest since 2015 - has been accused of inciting hatred against Russians by displaying banned Ukrainian nationalist books at a Moscow library. She denied the stocking of forbidden anti-Russia literature, while Amnesty International condemned the action. 

Nine killed at house party massacre in Redkino

Nine people have been shot dead at a house party in Redkino, near Moscow. AP reported that the incident happened as a drunken man left the house during an argument and returned shooting with a hunting rifle. Authorities revealed on Sunday that the suspect was arrested, while the altercation's motives remain unknown.

Several killed as severe thunderstorm hit Moscow

Sixteen people were reported dead and dozens of others injured as a severe thunderstorm ravaged Moscow and its Metropolitan region on Monday. Winds recording up to 70 mph led to widespread damages to structures and electric cables. This was reported as the deadliest storm in the last 100 years.

Five Moldovan diplomats expelled from Russia

Five Moldovan diplomats have been expelled from Russia just days after the Moldovan government expelled five other Russian diplomats. According to the BBC, the Russian military attache linked to former Moldovan MP Yuri Bolbochan - arrested in March for espionage - is believed to be among the expelled diplomats. 

Estonian diplomats ordered to leave Russia amid diplomatic brawl

Two Estonian diplomats have been ordered to leave Russia on Wednesday amid ongoing diplomatic tensions. The action comes in retaliation to Estonia's foreign ministry which ordered two Russian diplomats to leave the country due to undisclosed motives. Tensions remain high after a Russian national was sentenced to five years in prison in early May over espionage linked to the Russian intelligence Army agency.

Russia threaten harsh response as Moldova expels diplomats

A harsh Russian response has been threatened in retaliation to the expulsion of five Russian diplomats from Moldova. The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister has condemned the decision to expel the diplomats - which was made by Moldova's pro-EU government. According to the BBC, the pro-Russian President of Moldova has also criticised the decision, suggesting the expulsions were influenced by "the West" - insinuating American involvement.

Two Russian diplomats expelled from Estonia

Two Russian diplomats are to be expelled from Estonia. The spokeswoman for the Estonian Foreign Ministry has stated that two Russian consuls are due to be expelled from the country. The reasoning behind the explusion has not been released and it remains unclear if Russian authorites have been notified as no official Russian response has been reported as of yet.

Businessman found dead in Moscow

A businessman has been found dead in a flat in Moscow. Boris Kulchitsky, a senior manager at a large construction company, was found dead in his apartment on Friday, sparking a murder investigation. The police are yet to identify potential motives or suspects.

Journalist shot dead in Siberia

A Russian journalist has been shot dead in Siberia. The victim - identified as Dmitry Popkov - was found dead with several gunshot wounds in his private residence in the city of Minusinsk on Wednesday night. Popkov was the chief editor of the Ton-M newspaper - a media outlet established by Popkov in 2014 - which has been critical of local authorities and government delegates. The police have confirmed that investigations are considering Popkov's work as a possible motive for the attack.

Two terror suspects detained in Bashkortostan

Two terror suspects have been detained in Bashkortostan by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). One of the detainees - arrested in the Dyurtyuli district on Wednesday - is suspected of recruiting for the Islamic State (IS), while the other suspect was detained on suspicion of having fought with an IS-affiliated terrorist group in Syria. 

Internet regulator blocks BlackBerry websites

A Russian internet regulator has blocked all BlackBery websites. Roskomnadzor - a large telecom internet regulator - has blocked all access to websites used by the mobile phone company. Thousands of people have been blocked from accessing personal accounts, settings and other personal details as a result. The block comes just two days after a government proposal to grant Roskomnadzor legal access to personal data.

Four killed in Dagestan counter-terror raid

Four terror suspects have been killed in a counter-terror raid carried out by the security forces in Dagestan. The raid targeted suspects in the Karamakhi area of the Buynaksk district. Investigations have led the security forces to suspect that the militants were members of the Kadar gang. The suspects were believed to be responsible for multiple terrorist and criminal acts.

Ukraine accuses Russia of cyber attack

Ukrainian authorities in Kiev have accused Russian officials of organising a cyber attack on the Ukrainian president's website. The alleged cyber attack has been viewed as Russian retaliation for the latest set of sanctions implemented by Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, on Russian internet service providers and social media websites.

Two killed in landmine explosion, Chechnya

Two Russian soldiers have been killed and another has been wounded in a landmine explosion in Chechnya. The incident occurred during an ordnance-clearing exercise in the Shatoy district. Three soldiers suffered severe injuries from the blast, with two dying from their wounds in hospital. The area is known to have a high concentration of landmines and the military often carry out clearing exercises there.

One killed in failed bank robbery, Voronezh

One person has been killed in a failed bank robbery attempt in the Voronezh region. The suspected robber was shot by police after attempting to carry out an armed raid on a bank on Plekhanov street, Voronezh. The incident occurred on Tuesday and the area has since been cordoned off whilst the security forces carry out investigations.

IS suspect arrested in Bashkortostan

A suspected Islamic State (IS) militant has been arrested by the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Bashkortostan. The suspect was arrested by FSB officers in an arrest operation in the Dyurtyulinsky area of Bashkortostan. The 32-year-old suspect will face charges of active involvement in terrorist activity after investigations found cause to believe the suspect had been recruiting for the IS.

Suspected militant killed in police shootout, Dagestan

A suspected militant has been killed in a shootout with the police in Dagestan. The crossfire broke out during an arrest operation in Makhachkala. According to reports, the suspect resisted arrest and opened fire on the police forces - prompting the police officers to retaliate. The suspect was thought to be a member of a local militant group.

Cafe targeted in grenade attack, Makhachkala

A cafe in the Makhachkala area in the Dagestan republic has been targeted in a grenade attack. A hand grenade was thrown at the cafe on Hamidov street on Thursday and was allegedly fuelled by a dispute between the perpetrator and the owners of the cafe. Some casualties and damages have been reported and one man has allegedly been killed in the incident. Searches for the suspect have been launched.

Patrol police post attacked in Ingushetia

A police officer has been severely injured and two assailants killed when at least three criminals targeted a Road Patrol Service (DPS) post in Ingushetia, near the Georgian border. Three to five armed assailants attempted to attack the DPS post in the Malgobek district of Ingushetia in the early hours of Friday morning. A gunfight ensued in which two attackers were killed and one police officer was wounded. A source at the Ministry of Interior told Russian agencies that one of the assailants was a wanted criminal.

President issues decree to limit nationwide rallies

President Vladimir Putin issued on Wednesday a decree that establishes a six-week restriction to demonstrations nationwide. The measure comes into effect in June, ahead of the FIFA Confederation Cup tournament scheduled from 17 June to 02 July. The government claim the move comes in order to increase security, while critics believe it is aimed at hindering a nationwide protest called on 12 June by opposition leader Aleksei Navalny.

Heightened security measures for football events

Heightened security measures are to be put in place for major football events to occur in 11 cities. The Confederations Cup - to be held in Kazan, Moscow, Sochi, and St Petersburg between 17 June to 02 July 2017 - and the FIFA World Cup - to be held in Kaliningrad, Kazan, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Saransk, Sochi, St Petersburg, Volgograd, and Yekaterinburg between 14 June to 15 July 2018. The heightened security measures will include restricted access areas and the restricted use of airspace. Transport infrastructure, the registration of citizens, and the sale of alcohol and weapons are also likely to be significantly affected.

Several injured as fire breaks out at a Moscow high-rise

Over 30 people have been injured when a fire broke out on Saturday at a high-rise in Moscow. Eleven people have been taken to the hospital, while more than 150 were evacuated. The incident comes just weeks after two people were killed and 19 others were injured in a north-eastern Moscow's apartment building fire.

Large fire breaks out in Moscow

A large fire has broken out in central Moscow near the Kremlin and the Red Square. The fire initially started on Friday morning as a pile of burning rubbish between the Lubyanka and Kitay Gorodo metro stations; however, the small fire has grown uncontrollably. The blaze now covers an area of 3,000 square metres and air assistance has been called in to help put out the blaze. No casualties have been reported thus far; however, those in the area have been advised to keep windows closed due to a large amount of smoke.

Security measures heightened ahead Victory Day celebrations

Security measures will be heightened ahead of Victory Day celebrations between Sunday 07 and Tuesday 09 May in Moscow. Moscow's Deputy Mayor Maksim Liksutov told news agency TASS that security on metro stations especially will be increased through increasing bag screenings and deployment of additional inspectors. Rising concerns come after several people were killed in a twin blast at a Saint Petersburg metro station in April.

German Chancellor meets Vladimir Putin in Sochi

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, south-western Russia. The meeting, scheduled to discuss the eastern Ukraine and Syrian conflict, will also attempt to ease the fragile Russia-Germany relations. This is the first meeting held in Russia between Chancellor Merkel and President Putin in over two years.

Gay-rights activists arrested in St Petersburg

A group of 10 gay-rights activists have been arrested during May Day protests in St Petersburg. Several groups stormed the streets near Anichkov Bridge to protest against the persecution of gay people in Chechnya. Reports reveal that dozens of people are being held in prison camps in Chechnya, claims that have been dismissed by the government.

State of emergency declared amid wildfires in Irkutsk Region

A state of emergency has been declared in the Irkutsk Region after several wildfires have broken out. The fires have allegedly broken out due to reckless handling of fires - leading to massive fires engulfing residential houses and buildings in at least five settlements. Approximately 78 houses and a convenience store have been destroyed in Irkutsk as almost 1,500 hectares of forest continue to burn throughout Siberia in the Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, and Zabaykalsky regions collectively. No casualties have occurred as a result of the fires as of yet; however, many groups of people have evacuated houses and relocated.

Opposition leader attacked with green dye in Moscow

Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has been targeted in renewed attacks in Moscow. Navalny had his eyes damaged after being hit by a green dye when leaving the capital's headquarters of the Anticorruption Fund. Navalny is seeking to run for president in 2018, being one of the main opponents of President Vladimir Putin. This is the second incident targeting Navalny in recent weeks. In March, he was attacked when opening a campaign office in the Siberian city of Barnaul.

Anti-corruption directorate former chief sentenced to 22 years in prison

Russia's interior ministry anti-corruption directorate former chief, Denis Sugrobov, has been sentenced to 22 years in prison under corruption charges. Sugrobov was arrested in 2014 on suspicion of involvement with organised crime, bribery and abuse of office. The sentence was issued by a Moscow court on Thursday.

Russian warship collides with freighter in Black Sea

A Russian warship has collided with a freighter near the Turkish Black Sea coast on Wednesday. According to Turkish authorities, 78 crew members of the Russian reconnaissance ship were evacuated. The conditions of the crew on board the Togo-flagged vessel remain unknown. Due to NATO's Sea Shield exercise in the Black Sea, Russian media reported that Russia's Navy would be mobilised to observe it.

Prosecutor issues ban for two foreign-based NGOs

Russia's General Prosecutor Office declared on Wednesday a UK-registered NGO as an 'undesirable organisation'. The NGO, Open Russia, and its US-based sister NGO, Open Russia Civil Movement, were both banned over allegations of inspiring unrest and destabilisation on domestic politics. The move was fully criticised by Amnesty International - who condemned the crackdown on foreign-based organisations that alleged hinder national interests.

Twelve terror suspects detained in Kaliningrad

At least 12 terror suspects have been detained by the Russian security forces in counter-terror operations, Kaliningrad. All suspects are affiliated with Jamaat Mujahideen - an outlawed jihadi terrorist group - and are suspected of recruiting for the group. The detainees are being investigated for further connections to terrorist groups in Syria and will remain in police custody for questioning.

Two terror suspects arrested in Sakhalin

Two terror suspects have been arrested in the far-eastern Sakhalin region. The suspects were apprehended by the counter-terror security forces in the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk city of the remote Sakhalin region. It's believed the suspects have affiliations to the Islamic State (IS). At least one improvised explosive device (IED) was discovered in the possession of the suspects - leading to suspicions the suspects had planned to carry out terror attacks on behalf of the IS using IEDs.

FCO warns over restrict zones to foreign nationals

The UK Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued a warning over restricted zones to foreign nationals within Russian territory. Most areas concern military and border zones, where prior permission to enter such areas is necessary. Otherwise, visitors may be subjected to heavy fines, arrest or deportation. Travellers who are in any doubt or or require further information have been advised to contact the their nearest Russian consulate.

Child killed by blast at school in Agvali, Dagestan

One child was killed and 11 others were injured when a grenade accidentally went off in a classroom in Dagestan, Russia's North Caucasus region. According to the police, a teenager brought to the school an explosive device which he allegedly found on the streets of Agvali. At least three victims remain in critical condition while the guilty part was arrested.

Two IS suspects killed in Stavropol

Two members of an Islamic State (IS) cell have been killed during a police shooting in Stavropol, south-western Russia. According to Russia's National Anti-Terrorism Committee, the incident happened as both suspects opened fire on the police when ordered to stop their vehicle, where bomb-making material was recovered.

Three killed as gunman opens fire on security forces, Khabarovsk

Three people have been killed and another has been wounded after a gunman opened fire on security forces near the far eastern Khabarovsk area. The incident took place at a security checkpoint outside the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) office on Friday. The unidentified gunman killed an FSB officer and a visitor before being shot dead himself by the security guards. Another visitor was also wounded during the incident. Investigations are underway to identify the gunman and to assess the motives behind the attack.

Jehovah's Witnesses outlawed as extremist organisation

The Russian Supreme Court has officially outlawed Jehovah's Witnesses as an extremist organisation. The court made the ruling on Thursday - grouping the religion with terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda. The religious group appealed to the court to reconsider the group as a victim of political repression; however, the appeal was rejected.

UN reject Ukraine request to halt Russian funding to rebels

Judges at the UN-backed International Court of Justice (ICJ) have rejected Ukraine's request to impose a ban on alleged Russian support to separatist forces in eastern Ukraine. The ICJ ruled that no sufficient evidence was presented over Russian involvement with rebel forces. Russia claimed that such allegations were unfounded and accused Ukraine of mishandling the guidelines under international treaties.

Two terror suspects killed in police operations, Vadimir Oblast

At least two terror suspects have been killed in a shootout with the police forces during police operations in the Vladimir Oblast area - just east of Moscow. The police forces had been attempting to conduct an arrest operation when the suspects allegedly opened fire on the police - prompting fatal retaliatory fire. Several weapons and ammunition were recovered from the site.

Nearly a dozen feared missing after ship sinks, Crimea

Nearly a dozen people are feared missing after a cargo ship sunk off the Crimean coast on Wednesday morning. Russian authorities told Interfax that the vessel broke in half during a strong storm, which later made search efforts more difficult due to strong winds and turbulent waters. Most of the crew were Ukrainian nationals reportedly heading to Turkey.

Rights groups condemn alleged gay prison camp in Chechnya

Rights organisations in Russia have strongly condemned the detention of dozens of gay men in Chechnya, southern Russia. More than 100 gay men were allegedly arrested and put in prison camps, where violence and abuse are recurrent. Human Rights Watch stated that the government has been holding anti-LGBT campaigns across Chechnya for several weeks, including some forced disappearances.

One wounded in small explosion, St Petersburg

A teenage boy has been wounded in a small explosion in St Petersburg on Thursday. The explosion occurred when the boy picked up an abandoned bag outside Chemyshevsky library near the metro station. The explosives were triggered when the boy picked up the bag. Police investigations are underway.

ECHR rules Russia's failure in 2004 deadly school siege

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Russian officials - including President Vladimir Putin - failed to avoid the 2004 Beslan school siege, where more than 330 people were killed. According to the ECHR Russia failed to act on intelligence gathered over an imminent attack on the school and exercised excessive force to solve the hostage situation. Russia denied any wrongdoing and will appeal the result. In September 2004 dozens of rebels took 1,000 hostages over demands to Russia to withdraw from Chechnya.

Dozens wounded in train collision, Moscow

Dozens of people have been wounded in a train collision in western Moscow. The incident occurred on Sunday night when a long-distance train travelling from Moscow to the Belarusian city of Brest collided with a commuter train - derailing at least four carriages. No final casualty figures have been confirmed as of yet; however, it's believed that anywhere between 20 to 50 people may be wounded. There are likely to be delays, disruptions and diversions to train services until the wreckage is completely cleared from the track.

One wounded in school explosion, Rostov-on-Don

One person has been wounded in an explosion which occurred in a school in the Rostov-on-Don area. According to reports, an improvised explosive device (IED) had been disguised as a torch and planted at the school - detonating when it was picked up. The IED emitted a small explosion; however, the blast was strong enough to completely destroy the victim's hand. The area has been secured and investigations are underway. No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack and it is not believed that the victim was the main target.

Explosive device discovered in St Petersburg apartment block

A suspected explosive device has been discovered in an apartment block in Saint Petersburg - just days after the city's metro system was hit by two bomb explosions. The entire building - located in the Tovarishcheskiy area - has been evacuated and the security forces have responded to the alert. Local reports state that the device has now been located and safely defused by experts. There has been no explicit confirmation that the device in question was an explosive device.

Nationwide anti-terror demonstrations to take place

Nationwide anti-terror demonstrations are expected to take place in major towns and cities across Russia on Saturday 08 April. The demonstrations have been organised in response to the terror attack on the metro system in Saint Petersburg on Monday - which killed at least 10 people. Travellers should avoid the demonstrations, as tensions are likely to be high and the police are likely to be dispatched in heavy force due to the high risk of outbreaks of violence.

Two policemen killed in Astrakhan shooting

Two policemen have been killed in a recent shooting incident in Astrakhan. According to reports, the police responded to reports of a vehicle collision in Astrakhan; however, when police arrived on the scene the assailants allegedly opened fire on the security forces, killing two policemen in the gunfight. Police investigations are underway and four suspects have been detained.

Somon Air Tajikistan-Russia flights suspended

Somon Air flight between Tajikistan's Dushanbe and Khujand airports and Moscow airports have been suspended. The flight suspension has come about following a dispute over the classification of Zhukovsky International Airport near Moscow. Tajiki airport officials claim that Khukovsky airport should be classified as Moscow's fourth international airport and that the number of flight services from Moscow to Tajikistan should be adjusted accordingly. Passengers should expect some flight disruption.

St Petersburg bomber suspect identified as death toll rises

Russian media has revealed the identity of the alleged attacker believed to be responsible for the bomb attacks in St Petersburg. According to Interfax news agency, the suspect has been identified as 22-year-old Kyrgyz national, Akbarzhon Jalilov. It is still under investigation if he was linked to any extremist groups as no immediate claim of responsibility was made. So far, the attack in St Petersburg's metro has claimed 14 lives while scores more remain injured.

Twin explosion in Saint Petersburg Metro

A twin explosion has killed at least 10 people and wounded at least 50 others in a Saint Petersburg Metro station. The blasts occurred in train carriages at Sennaya Square station and Teknologichesky Institute station in Saint Petersburg. Preliminary reports indicate that while the precise causes of the explosions are undetermined, thick smoke has spread quickly - prompting evacuations and immediate emergency response. Several other metro stations in the city have now been closed.

Dozens arrested in Moscow protests

At least 36 people have been arrested in attempted protests in Moscow over the weekend. According to the Associated Press, 29 people were detained by Moscow Police on Sunday after they attempted to march on Trumphalnaya Square. A further seven people were also arrested after attempting to march on Manezhunaya Square, adjacent to the Kremlin. Police forces have blocked off access to Pushkin Square and enforced intensified security measures around Red Square. 

Interior ministry official killed in Moscow

A Russian Interior Ministry official has been shot dead in the capital Moscow. Nikolai Volkov was the head of the Interior Ministry's Renovation and Construction Department and preliminary reports suggest he was shot during a robbery attempt on Osennyaya Street on Monday 27 March. 

Strong earthquake strikes Kamchatka peninsula

A strong 6.6-magnitude earthquake has hit the far-eastern Kamchatka peninsula in Russia. The earthquake struck at 04:09 UTC at a depth of 22.8km, located approximately 78km north-north-east of Ust' in the Ust-Kamchatsky district. While larger-than-normal waves are expected, there is no significant risk of a tsunami according to Russian authorities. The US authorities have also confirmed that there no collateral tsunami risk has been detected on eastern American shores. The earthquake was caused by the Pacific plate sliding under the North American plate in a subduction zone which lies in close proximity to the Kamchatka peninsula. No major damage or casualties have been reported.

Protests to take place in Moscow

Protests have been scheduled to take place in Moscow on Tuesday 02 April. Activists have organised to gather at midday in the Red Square in Moscow - where previous protests have recently been held on the same issue - to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev over corruption allegations. Over 900 people have already been arrested by Russian police - including opposition leader Alexei Navalny - in recent illegal protests calling for Medvedev's resignation. Previous protests failed to gain state approval due to a refusal to negotiate on venues. As the next scheduled protest plans to revisit the previous venue it will also be deemed illegal and will likely be met with police force and may become violent. Travellers and foreign nationals should avoid the demonstrations where possible.


Severe weather causes flight disruption, Moscow

Bad weather has caused disruption to flight services operating from Moscow. Thirteen flights have been cancelled overall from Moscow airports.  Passengers have been advised to go to the relevant airline or airport websites to check the status of the flights. The weather conditions are expected to get worse, which could bring further cancellations and delays.

EU demands protesters be released from Russian police custody

The European Union has demanded that 500 protesters who were detained by Russian police during mass nationwide protests on Sunday be released immediately. Protests took place without state approval yesterday in Moscow, Novosibirsk, Saint Petersburg, Tomsk and Vladivostok and called for the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev amid accusations of corruption. The protests were organised by opposition leader Alexei Navalny - who was among those arrested by police for protesting illegally. According to the BBC, the detainment of the protesters has been criticised by the EU as an infringement on "basic freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly" - civil rights enshrined in the Russian constitution.

Opposition rally to take place in Moscow

An opposition rally has been scheduled to take place on Sunday 26 March in Moscow. The rally has been organised by opposition politician Aleksei Navalny and has not been granted state approval. There is a high risk of the outbreak pf violence should the rally go ahead as planned, as the Russian police will be deployed in force to disperse the illegal rally. The rally has allegedly failed to receive approval due to refusals to negotiate on location on Navalny's part, as he insists on holding the rally near the Kremlin despite alternative venues being approved by the authorities. Demonstrations will begin at 14:00 local time on Tverskaya Street near Red Square and the Kremlin. Traffic disruptions should be expected and travellers should avoid the demonstrations as they are likely to become violent.

A dozen killed as militants raid military base near Grozny, Chechen

A militant attack on a Russian National Guard base in the restive Chechen Republic has led to the death of six Russian officers and six other militants early on Friday morning. The attack happened in the Naurskaya area, near Grozny, when a group of militants attempted to raid the military camp. In December, seven assailants were killed during a fierce shootout in Grozny, after an attack targeting police officers.

High risk of social unrest in North Caucasus

There is a high risk of demonstrations due to social unrest in the North Caucasus region. Authorities have warned travellers to be aware of high political tensions which may lead to violent social unrest in the Kabardino-Balkaria area of North Caucasus. Demonstrations and protests are likely to be fuelled by a general discontent in the local communities due to poor economic performance, and political and ethnic disagreements.

Former Russian lawmaker shot dead in Kiev

A former Russian lawmaker of the Communist Party, Denis Voronenkov, has been shot dead in Kiev. Voronenkov was shot at 11:25 local time on Thursday outside the Premier Palace hotel. According to The Moscow Times, two others were also wounded in the incident, as Voronenkov's injured bodyguard returned fire on the shooter, wounding him also. Police investigations are underway, with suspicions that the shooting was a contracted killing. Voronenkov had been a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin's regime and had fled to Ukraine for safety. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has described the incident as an "act of terrorism by Russia", claiming the attack displayed the typical trademarks of a covert operation carried out by Russian actors. 

Counter-terror operations launched in Khasavyurt

Counter-terror operations have been launched in Khasavyurt, Dagestan over the weekend - marking the second official counter-terror operation in the area since the start of 2017. Local reports state that the operations are targeting illegal armed militant groups and suspicious individuals - mostly in the Khasavyurt district, but also in the Kazbek and Kizilyurt districts of Dagestan. No casualties have been reported yet.

US State Department condemns Crimea annexation to Russia

Three years after Russia held a controversial referendum on the Crimea peninsula, US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner condemned the Crimea's annexation by Russia. In an official statement, he said that: "We call on Russia to cease its attempts to suppress freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, association and religion. (...) The United States again condemns the Russian occupation of Crimea and calls for its immediate end". Toner also ensured that sanctions will remain in place until Russia hands the territory back to Ukraine.

Three killed in tourist bus crash near Russian-Finnish border

Three people have been killed and as many as 20 others have been wounded after a tourist bus crash crashed near the Finnish border in the north-western Leningrad region of Russia. According to preliminary reports, the sightseeing bus overturned approximately 18 miles from Vyborg town. Five rescue helicopters were dispatched to the scene. The precise cause of the accident has yet to be determined as investigations are underway.

Georgian separatists to be incorporated into Russia's military

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has signed an agreement to incorporate South Ossetia's - a separatist region of Georgia - armed forces into the Russian military. Despite the increasing Russian influence in South Ossetia, Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze stated that "any agreement between the Russian Federation and de-facto leadership is illegitimate." 

Terror attack foiled in Moscow

A Tajik terror suspect who had been detained for airport security checks has admitted to attempting to carry out a terror attack. The suspect was apprehended on Wednesday 08 March - International Women's Day. Sputnik News has reported that investigations found that the suspect had planned to conduct a suicide bombing at International Women's Day celebrations in Moscow, but was prevented from doing so after he failed to make it through airport security. Police investigations are ongoing as security officials search for a sleeper cell and other accomplices. The suspect has been transferred to Tajikistan's security forces.

EU extends sanctions further six months

The EU has decided to extend sanctions against actors prolonging the crisis in eastern Ukraine for a further six months. Of 150 individuals and 37 entities subject to the sanctions, the majority are believed to be Russian as the country continues to support the separatist rebel resistance - which is seen by the EU as being largely responsible for the continuation of the violent conflict with the Ukrainian government. The renewed sanctions will extend previous asset freezes and travel bans and will be enforced amidst economic sanctions which were renewed for another six months in December 2016. According to reports, the Russian government has allegedly criticised the sanctions are counter-productive and ineffective in bringing the conflict to an end.

Belarus-Russia train travel update

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (British FCO) has issued advice for those wishing to travel from Belarus to Russia via train. Due to the plans of the Russian government to introduce biometric fingerprint scanning as a security measure to enter the country, there is expected to be a change in procedure in train travel between the two countries. The British FCO had advised all foreign travellers to contact train companies to enquire after the expected security procedures and to ensure they have all the appropriate travel documents prepared and ready for travel.

Ukraine accuses Russia of sponsoring terrorism

Ukrainian government officials have accused the Russian government of sponsoring terrorism through their support of the separatist rebels fighting the Ukrainian military in Crimea. The accusation has been presented as a case to the primary judicial branch of the United Nations - the International Court of Justice (ICJ), situated in The Hague in the Netherlands. ICJ judges will determine whether or not the Russian support of the pro-Russian separatist rebels should be interpreted as discrimination against non-Russians and subsequently, whether or not the Russian government should stop funding the rebels in Crimea.

Prime Minister accused of corruption

Prime Minister Medvedev has been accused of corruption by a leading opposition activist, Alexei Navalny. Medvedev stands accused of extensive corruption charges by Navalny - who has allegedly accused Medvedev of acquiring high-value property assets through corrupt means. The government has dismissed the allegations as strategic electioneering on the part of Navalny - who has announced intentions to run for presidency in the Russian presidential elections next year.

China, Russia, and Bolivia prevent UN block on chemical weapon use in Syria

China, Russia, and Bolivia have voted against a United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution which planned to sanction the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Out of the 15 current members of the council, only nine voted in favour of the sanction. Bolivia joined the permanent members, China and Russia in decisively voting against the sanction, while Egypt, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan decided to abstain from voting. A successful UN resolution requires autonomous approval from all five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States).

Russian military to aid defence along Tajik-Afghan border

The Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed with the Tajik President Emomali Rahmon that the Russian military will aid Tajik military efforts to bolster border security along the Tajik-Afghan border. The agreement has been made on the basis that a stronger defence of the Tajik-Afghan border on the Tajikistan side will provide further safety from terrorism in Afghanistan and will also prevent the utilisation of Tajikistan as a potential access route to Russia's southern borders.

Thousands march to commemorate former opposition leader's death, Moscow

Thousands of people stormed the streets of Moscow to mark the two-year anniversary of Boris Nemtsov's death. The march largely criticised President Vladimir Putin's blaming the government of censorship and endorsing war. Nemtsov was the former opposition leader and an avid critic of Putin. Five people went on trial for his assassination near the Kremlin; however, the verdict is yet to be released.

March to take place in Moscow

A march has been scheduled to take place in Moscow on Sunday 26 February. The march will commemorate the two-year anniversary of the murder of the opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov. The march will start at 14:00 pm local time and will last until 18:00 in the evening. Heavy travel disruptions are expected throughout central Moscow at the time of the march, as approximately 30,000 people plan to take part. The march will start on Strastnoy Boulevard near Chekhovskaya station, and the route will pass along Sretensky Boulevard and Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge, ultimately ending on Academician Sakharov Avenue. Travellers have been advised to avoid the large gatherings and to rearrange journeys to account for anticipated congestion and to avoid encountering the march.

Russian ambassador to the UN dies in New York

The Russian ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, has died in undisclosed circumstances on Monday night in New York City. The 64-year-old senior Russian representative for the UN was a career diplomat and had been stationed in the post since 2006. He held strong positions on the Security Council over controversial issues regarding Syria and Ukraine. 

Potential presidential candidate convicted for embezzlement

A Russian judge ruled on Wednesday that Alexei Navalny - a prominent opposition leader - was found guilty of embezzlement. According to Interfax News Agency, the decision may force Navalny to drop his plans of running for 2018's Russian presidential elections as he could be banned from running for 10 years. No remarks were made by the Russian government. 

Five killed, two wounded in militants clashes, Chechnya

Five people have been killed and two others have been wounded in clashes between the police forces and militants in the Chechnya area. Police forces attempted to halt a group of suspicious individuals approaching a security check post in the town of Shali, when the approaching group opened fire on the police forces and threw a grenade at the check post. Two police officers were killed in the attack, and three militants were killed in retaliatory fire from the police forces. Two civilians were also wounded in the crossfire. Police officials have confirmed that the militant group have been identified, and are believed to be connected to a member of the Iblis State - an outlawed Islamic State-loyalist terror network operating in Russia.

Three militants killed in counter-terror operation, Khasavyurt

At least  three militants have been killed in counter-terrorist operations carried out in the Khasavyurt area. The operations were launched on Sunday 29 January, and targeted a property in Khasavyurt. Two militants reportedly locked themselves inside the property and alleged opened fire on the operatives. The counter-terror team returned fire, and during the gunfight the property was set ablaze. It remains unknown precisely how many people were inside the property, however it has been confirmed that three militants were killed.

One wounded in gas explosion at thermal power plant, Penza

One person has been wounded in an explosion at a thermal power plant in Penza city. The blast reportedly caused a partial collapse of the power station building. A roof area of 600 square metres is believed to have collapsed after weight-baring metal structures were destroyed by the explosion. The explosion is believed to have been caused by a highly reactive mixture of gases in a gas tank. The city's power supply is not expected to be affected by the incident. Rescue teams have commenced efforts to clear the debris and search for any trapped people. Earlier reports claimed that one person had been killed, however the regional Emergencies Ministry did not confirm this, instead stating that one person had been wounded.

Two terror suspects killed in anti-terror operations, Dagestan

Two terror suspects have been killed in special operations carried out by the anti-terror security personnel in the Dagestan republic. The operations targeted a suspected militant hideout in the Vpered village near Kizlyar in Dagestan. The three suspects have been identified as members of the Khasavyurt subversive-terrorist group. The anti-terror security alert regime was announced on Saturday - those in the Dagestan area should be prepared for further operations against militancy. 

NATO troops deployed along Lithuania-Russia border

NATO troops have been deployed along the Lithuania-Russia border near Kaliningrad. A force of approximately 500 armed troops - consisting of 450 German troops and 50 Dutch and Belgian troops - will be stationed in Lithuania with 26 tanks and 170 armoured vehicles. The move comes as part of the deployment of NATO troops to Baltic regions near Russia. The deployment has followed the announcement of plans to build a 2.3 metre high wall along the Lithuania-Russia border near Kaliningrad. Those in the area should be aware of the high military tensions between the two states.

Lithuania-Russia border wall to be built

The Lithuanian authorities have issued a statement confirming that a wall will be built along the Lithuania-Russia border. The wall will be centred around the Kaliningrad border, and will be 2.5 metres high with extensive surveillance systems built in. The official reason presented for the need for a border wall was to tackle inter-border smuggling and other crime. Lithuanian authorities have acknowledged that a border wall would be little defensive value in a military assault, and has instead suggested the wall provides a territorial resistance to the growing assertion of Russia. 

Three terror suspects arrested in special operations, Chechnya

Three terror suspects have been arrested during special operations carried out by the Russian police in the village of Geldagan in the Grozny area of Chechnya. One of the suspects has been identified as Datsayev Imran - a criminal believed to have connections to the Islamic State (IS). Police forces allegedly asked the suspects to surrender, however Imran resisted arrest, throwing a grenade at the security forces. The police were able to detain all three suspects alive, and no casualties have been reported. All three will face charges of terror and supporting the IS.

Five killed in security operations, Chechnya

Five people have been killed and one other has been arrested in recent security operations carried out by the Russian security forces in the Kurchaloy area of Chechnya. The head of the Chechan Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, has announced the the death of four militants during the operations, as well as the death of a member of the security forces. One militant allegedly managed to escape by taking advantage of the lack of daylight and thick fog in the area, however Kadyrov stated that the threat posed by the last militant would neutralised as manhunt operations are launched in the area.

Delays anticipated at Estonia-Russia border crossing

A travel warning has been issued to travellers to anticipate delays at the Narva border crossing between Estonia and Russia. Officials have stated that the border crossing is likely to experience high volumes of traffic as holiday makers return following the Christmas holiday period. Travellers have been advised to take extra time for delays into account when planning their journeys, and to prepare all the necessary border-crossing documents beforehand in order to help speed up the process. Slow traffic through the crossing will be expected to last until Sunday 08 January.

Suspicious package found at Kharabrovo Airport, Kaliningrad

A suspicious package has been found and removed by the security forces in Kharabrovo Airport in the western city of Kaliningrad. Reports state there has been no cause for evacuation of the airport, however tightened security measures have been implemented whilst the airport continues to operate flights. Passengers have been advised to expect delays, as seven departure flights have been delayed and five other flights have reportedly been made to wait for landing following the incident. There remains a chance that several more flights continuing en route to Khrabrovo could be diverted to land at alternative airports. The package has been removed for inspection - no analytical findings have been reported as of yet.

Seven injured in gas cylinder explosion in Moscow

At 11:20 local time, on 22 December, seven people were injured when a gas cylinder exploded during welding at Kolomenskaya station in Moscow. Four people have been hospitalised and three others were treated at the scene. Emergency services have been deployed and passengers have been prevented from passing through the station. 

Thirty-two injured in military plane crash in Siberia

At 04:45 local time, on 19 December, a Russian Ilyushin Il-18 military plane carrying 39 people crashed near Tiksi, Siberia, injuring 32 of those on board. Sixteen of those are reported to be seriously injured, with some in a critical condition. An investigation into the crash has been launched, but Alexei Kolodeznikov, the deputy head of the regional government, has stated that high winds could have caused the crash. 

Eleven militants killed near Grozny

On 18 December, Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya's leader, stated that 11 militants were killed over the weekend near Grozny. Said-Ibragim Ismailov, the leader of one of the militant groups who engaged in firefights with security forces over the weekend and who had connections to the Islamic State (IS), was reportedly killed alongside six others from the same group. Four other extremists were also captured in two separate gun battles near Grozny. One policeman was killed and one other was wounded during the operations. 

Russian diplomat shot dead at home in Moscow

On 20 December, Petr Polshnikov, a Russian diplomat, was found shot dead in his apartment in Balaklavsky Prospekt, Moscow. Initial investigations suggest that he was killed by a gunshot wound to the head. The details of the attack are unclear and police are continuing their investigation. It is also not yet known whether the attack is related to the shooting of the Russian ambassador in Ankara on 19 December. 

Forty-eight people die from bath lotion poisoning in Irkutsk

On 19 December, the prosecutor for Leninsky District in Irkutsk Stanislav Zubovsky stated that at least 48 people have died and 57 others have been hospitalised from poisoning after they drank a bath lotion containing alcohol in Irkutsk, Siberia. The bath lotion, called Boyaryshnik, was found to contain methanol, and investigators state that a warning that it should not be swallowed was ignored. Reports state that the victims were poor people, aged between 35 and 50, and were not drinking together. Two people have been arrested and police are removing the bottles from shops. A state of emergency has been declared in Irkutsk and an enquiry has been opened into the incident. 

Russia to increase mobile missile patrols

On 15 December, a Russian military commander, Col Gen Sergei Karakayev, stated that the army will be expanding their mobile missile patrols in European regions of the country in 2017. New pontoon technology means that nuclear missiles can now be moved to new areas and "overcome practically any water obstacle". The statement comes amid a period of increased tension between Russia and NATO, due to the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Ukraine. 

European Union extends sanctions against Russia over Ukraine

On 16 December, European Union (EU) leaders agreed to extend economic sanctions against Russia for a further six months. France and Germany have both complained that the Minsk peace deal for Ukraine was still not being fulfilled. The sanctions target Russian arms exporters, banks and individuals blamed for the pro-Russian insurgency in Ukraine. 

Russia says IS terror plot foiled in Moscow

The Russian intelligence service - the Federal Security Service (FSB) - has foiled an Islamic State (IS) terrorist plot in Moscow.  The cell “included several Tajikistan nationals and a Moldovan national and plotted a series of high-profile terrorist attacks in Moscow involving the detonation of powerful improvised explosive devices,” the FSB said in a statement on Thursday.  Four people were arrested, and a cache of weapons has been seized.

Tens of thousands of extremist and terrorist online sources discovered

On 13 December, the Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), Alexander Bortnikov, stated that 26,000 extremist and terrorist sources have been found online so far in 2016. The intelligence and law enforcement services reportedly managed to crack a Russian branch of an international internet community which had been spreading radical ideas, recruiting militants for international terror organisations and raising money for terror groups, including the Islamic State (IS). Russian authorities have also killed 129 terrorists and prevented at least 42 terror attacks since the start of 2016.

Russian activist Navalny to bid for presidency

On 13 December, Alexei Navalny, a prominent activist and anti-corruption campaigner, announced that he will stand for the Russian presidency in 2018, stating that those in power have stopped listening to criticism. He won more than a quarter of the vote when he stood for mayor in Moscow in 2013. Navalny has accused Russian officials of attempting to prevent him from running by putting him on trial for a second time on charges of embezzlement, after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that his right to a fair trial had been violated in 2013. 

FSB arrests dozens of suspected terrorists in Moscow

On 7 December, officers from the Federal Security Service (FBS) arrested more than 25 suspected terrorists in a large-scale operation in Moscow and the surrounding suburbs. The suspects were arrested under suspicion of terrorist activities, aiding terrorists and for having links to an Islamic "Wahabbist underground" in the Moscow region. 

Hundreds of people stuck at Upper Lars checkpoint due to bad weather conditions

On 6 December, 232 vehicles and 330 people were stuck at the Upper Lars border checkpoint between Georgia and Russia due to bad weather and a risk of avalanches. They have been provided with food and medical assistance. Light vehicles have been able to pass through the checkpoint if equipped with snow chains on their tyres. 

IS leader killed by Russian security services

A suspected Islamic State (IS) leader has been killed by the Russian security forces in the North Caucasus.  The FSB said it had "neutralised bandits" - including Rustam Aselderov - during operations in Makhachkala on Saturday.  Aselderov was known as the IS emir in the region and was wanted in connection with the 2013 terrorist attacks in Volgograd.

Roscosmos COO Vladimir Evdokimov arrested for fraud

On 1 December, Roscosmos COO, Vladimir Evdokimov, was arrested on charges of fraud after being accused of stealing more than $3 million from the Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG. He faces up to ten years in prison if convicted. The investigating officer at Moscow's Basmanny district court stated that Evdokimov should be placed in a pre-detention centre so that he does not flee the country and go into hiding like other defendants in this case have. 

Electricity blackout in Murmansk

At 15:45 local time, on 30 November, a powercut left the centre of Murmansk without electricity for the second time in three weeks. The government building of the Murmansk region, governor Marina Kovtun's office, the museum and several apartment buildings were all left without power. The cause of the blackout is not yet known but the relevant authorities are investigating. 

Federal Protective Service General arrested

On 25 November, General Gennady Lopyrev, a member of President Vladimir Putin's personal security detail, was arrested in the Caucasus region. Lopyrev, who heads the Federal Protection Service (FSO) was arrested on suspicion of "serious violations of the law" during a routine internal check. His home was allegedly searched as part of an investigation into the distribution of land for the construction of Olympic facilities at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. 

FSB arrests Russian Navy officer in Sevastopol

On 22 November, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested a former Black Sea Fleet officer in Sevastopol who they accuse of spying for Ukraine. He is suspected of collecting secret information on the Black Sea Fleet and giving it to Ukraine. 

Four killed in a clash with militants in Nazran, Ingushetia

On 24 November, two officers from the Federal Security Service (FSB) and two suspected militants were killed in a firefight in Nazran, Ingushetia during a counter-terrorism operation. The National Anti-Terrorism Committee stated that security forces received intelligence about a militant presence and surrounded a house in Nazran. The two militants refused to surrender and opened fire, killing two officers before being shot dead. The counter-terrorism operation has now been completed. 

Hundreds evacuated in fire at department store in Moscow

Over 1,000 people were evacuated after a fire broke out at a department store in central Moscow. Firefighters rushed to the scene on Wednesday morning and isolated the area affected. According to emergency services, the fire was caused by a fat residue that caught on fire in a basement near a cafe's kitchen.

Member of Hizb ut-Tahrir sentenced to twelve years in prison

On 21 November, the court of St Petersburg sentenced a 46-year-old man to 12 years in prison after finding him guilty of being a member of the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamist group and of organising actions for them. Isa Ragimov is the eighth member of the group to be sentenced in Russia since 2014. Hizb ut-Tahrir has been designated as a terrorist organisation by Russia since 2004. 

Russia claims Ukraine has abducted two Russian soldiers in Crimea

The Russian Defence Ministry has accused Ukraine of abducting two of its servicemen from the Crimean peninsular on 20 November. Ukraine claims the two soldiers, named as Ensign Maxim Evgenyevich Odintsov and Junior Sergeant Alexander Vyacheslavovich Baranov, are deserters who defected to Russia from the Ukrainian military following the annexation of the region. The men have reportedly been taken from Crimea to the Mykolaiv region, with the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) claiming that the two men were arrested after crossing into Ukrainian-controlled territory. 

Russia announced deployment of Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad

On 21 November, Russian officials announced that they will deploy nuclear-capable Iskander missiles and S-400 surface-to-air missiles to Kaliningrad in retaliation for NATO's military presence in eastern Europe. Until now, Russia has only deployed the missile systems to the area for routine military drills. The Iskander missile system has a range of 440 miles, meaning it can carry out a nuclear strike on Berlin.

Road access between Belarus and Russia not authorised to third country nationals

On 18 November, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) stated that they had been informed by the Russian government that there are no legal grounds to allow third country nationals, including British nationals, to cross between Belarus and Russia by road. Any travellers planning on entering Russia by road must do so through a different country. The FCO is not aware of any difficulties encountered by British nationals when travelling between Belarus and Russia by air or rail, but urge travellers to ensure that they have all the necessary visas required for the duration of their travel. 

Two Tartars arrested in Crimea

On 17 November, two Crimean Tartars were arrested in Crimea after searches for banned literature, drugs and weapons. Both men were arrested in the Bakhchisarai district, with another search being carried out simultaneously in Simferopol district. It is not known if the two searches are related. 

FSB kills suspected terrorist in raid in Nizhny Novgorod

On 14 November, personnel from the Federal Security Service (FSB) killed a suspected terrorist during a raid on a property in Nizhny Novgorod. He was suspected of preparing to carry out a terrorist attack in the area. Weapons, grenades and TNT explosive were found in the raid. The operation was part of an investigation into an attack on security forces in the area on 23 October. Two of the attackers were killed after shooting at security personnel. 

Ukrainian national arrested with weapons in Crimea

On 15 November, a Ukrainian national, suspected to be a member of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry's defence intelligence unit, was arrested by Russian law enforcement in Simferopol, Crimea. A grenade, firearm and components to make an improvised explosive device (IED) were seized. 

Russia withdraws from International Criminal Court treaty

On 15 November, President Vladimir Putin approved an order to withdraw the country from the process of joining the International Criminal Court (ICC). Russia signed the Rome Statute, which governs the ICC, in 2000 but never ratified the agreement to become a member. The decision came after the ICC ruled that Russian activity in the Crimea region of Ukraine amounted to an "ongoing occupation". 

FSB arrests five Islamic State militants preparing to carry out attacks in Moscow and Ingushetia

On 15 November, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested five members of a group affiliated to the Islamic State (IS). They are believed to have been preparing to carry out attacks in Moscow and the Republic of Ingushetia. During the raids, the FSB confiscated five cases of firearms; two ready-made improvised explosive devices (IEDs), each equivalent to approximately 10kg of TNT); and the components of a sniper rifle. 

Russian MiG-29 fighter jet crashes in Mediterranean

On 14 November, a Russian MiG-29 fighter jet crashed into the Mediterranean Sea as it attempted to land on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier. The pilot safely ejected from the plane and was picked up by a rescue team. The Russian defence ministry has said that his "health is not in danger." It is believed that the crash was caused the result of a technical malfunction during a training flight. Flight operations have not been suspended.

Economy Minister Ulyukayev arrested over bribe

On 15 November, Russian Economy Minister, Alexei Ulyukayev, was arrested in connection with an alleged bribe. The Investigative Committee (SK), Russia's main anti-corruption body, stated that Mr Ulyukayev accepted a payment of $2m. As a result, his ministry had given a positive assessment that led to the Rosneft oil company acquiring a 50 percent stake in another oil company, Bashneft. The highest-ranking Russian official to be arrested since the 1991 coup attempt in the then-USSR, Mr Ulyukayev faces between eight and 15 years in prison if found guilty. 

Ten suspected terrorists arrested in Moscow and St. Petersburg

On 12 November, the Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested ten suspects planning to blow up targets in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The suspects, all of Central Asian origin, were arrested in collaboration with security services in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Four powerful improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were confiscated in the raids, along with an assortment of firearms. The suspects reportedly confessed to having links with the Islamic State (IS) and were planning a series of gun and bomb attacks in public places in the two cities. They have identified accomplices and a support base in Russia and other countries. 

Russian FSB detains group of Ukrainian saboteurs in Sevastopol

On 9 November, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) reported that they had detained three Ukrainian military personnel who were planning to attack military sites and infrastructure in Crimea. They reportedly seized explosive devices, weapons and maps. The Ukrainian government has dismissed the Russian reports as a fabrication. 

Russian warships chase off Dutch submarine in the Mediterranean

On 9 November, the Russian defence ministry reported that two navy destroyers forced away a Dutch submarine in the Mediterranean in order to stop it spying on an aircraft carrier. The submarine was reportedly 12 miles away from the Admiral Kuznetsov at the time. NATO has made no comment on the incident, but one report placed the Admiral Kuznetsov  around 62 miles north-west of the Syrian port of Latakia. A NATO official stated that the organisation was monitoring the fleet in a "measured and responsible way."

Air agreement reached between Russia and Tajikistan

An air agreement has been reached between Russia and Tajikistan regarding the dispute over Tajikistan's refusal to receive flights from Russia's Zhukovsky airport. The agreement states that Tajikistan will allow Russian flights twice a week to Dushanbe and Khujand airports in Tajikistan, and Russia will allow Tajik flights to Ufa, Chelyabinsk, and Barnaul airports.

Four dead and fourteen injured as industrial plant collapses in Ekaterinburg

On 9 November, a roof in the industrial plant in Ekaterinburg collapsed, killing four people and injuring another 14. A rescue operation is underway and an investigation into the collapse has begun, with initial reports stating that the roof collapsed as a result of heavy snow. 

Members of Hizb ut-Tahrir arrested in St. Petersburg

On 8 November, the Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested several men during anti-terror raids in St. Petersburg. The men, who's identities have not been released, are reported to be members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamist group. The men are set to be charged under Russian laws banning the organisation of terrorist groups. 

Power blackout in Murmansk due to blast in power station

On 8 November, more than 300,000 people in Murmansk were left without electricity after an explosion at a power station started a fire. No one was injured in the blast and it was quickly extinguished by firefighters. The cause of the blast is not yet known but an investigation into the incident has been launched and the power is being restored. 

Flights cancelled in Moscow Airports

Approximately 20 flights were cancelled, and up to 60 were delayed in airports across Moscow due to severe weather conditions. Dense fog and intense snowfall limited visibility on the runways, resulting in the cancellations and delayed flights. The Russian Federal Service for Civil Aviation advised flyers to arrive at affected airports well in advance to allow time for delays.

Several Hizb ut-Tahrir militants arrested in St Petersburg

An operation carried out by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has led to the arrest of an undisclosed number of suspects linked to terrorism. The operation took place on Tuesday morning in St Petersburg, where, according to official sources, the members of the outlawed Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir group were arrested preventively under "Russian laws which ban the organization of terrorist groups". The Hizb ut-Tharir is a political organization which is banned in several countries.

Four militants killed during operations in Dagestan

Four suspected militants have been killed during a police operation in Daghestan, south-western Russia. The operation took place near the city of Khasavyurt close to the border with Chechnya. According to the National Antiterrorist Committee (NAK), the leader of the group, Marat Makhmudov, was among the casualties. The region is known for being the base of operations for Islamist groups connected with separatist rebels in Chechnya.

Three people arrested in Volgograd region for financing terrorism

On 7 November, the FSB intelligence service arrested three people in the Oktyabrsky district of Volgograd region for financially supporting members of terrorist organisations. The suspects were all members of Oktyabrsky Jamaat, an Islamist group. During a search of the property, federal agents confiscated computer equipment, money, credit cards, money transfer receipts, firearms, grenades and explosive detonators. 

Six killed and eight injured in gas explosion in Ivanovo

On 6 November, six people were killed and eight were injured, four of them seriously, after a gas explosion in an apartment building in Ivanovo. The explosion reportedly destroyed a large section of the wall and collapsed part of the second storey. One of the deceased was reported to be a four-year-old girl. The building was occupied by 21 people at the time of the explosion, and the authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of the gas explosion. 

March in Moscow for Unity Day

On 4 November, approximately 80,000 people gathered in Moscow to celebrate National Unity Day. They gathered near the Kremlin and marched through downtown Moscow. At the same time, 1000 Russian nationalists carrying flags and wearing far-right symbols, gathered in the Lyublino district to protest against President Vladimir Putin. No incidents were reported during the rallies. 

Four terrorists killed in Dagestan

On 3 November, police in Khasavyurt, Dagestan, shot dead four suspected terrorists. The shooting occurred when the officers attempted to stop a vehicle in the centre of the town and the occupants opened fire. All four militants were killed at the scene and police recovered firearms and grenades from the vehicle. One of the dead men was identified as Marat Makhmudov, a high-profile militants in the region.

Russia considers suspending flights to Tajikistan

On 4 November, the Russian Transport Minister stated that the country may suspend all flights to Tajikistan from 8 November, due to a dispute with Tajik authorities. The Tajik government has been reluctant to agree that Russian airlines can fly into the country from Zhukosky International Airport.

Ministry of Defence increases military presence on Western borders

On 2 November, the Russian Defence Minister, Sergey Shoigu, stated that the US and Nato are building up their offensive capabilities on the western borders of Russia and Belarus, prompting Russia to reciprocate. The Russian military has supplied state-of-the-art weapons systems to army units guarding the western borders, and has increased combat training for its forces. 

Amnesty International office in Moscow sealed off by authorities

On 2 November, Amnesty International's office in Moscow was sealed off by city authorities and staff were prevented from entering. Staff found official seals placed across the office entrances, the locks had been changed and the power had been cut off. No warning or explanation had been given to the organisation.

Two killed in helicopter crash in Sochi

On 1 November, two people were killed when a light helicopter crashed into a building in the Adler district of Sochi. Both the pilot and one of the passengers of the Eurocopter AS350 were killed and the five other passengers have been hospitalised with serious injuries. The Federal Air Transport Agency has begun an investigation to determine whether the crash was caused by pilot error or a technical malfunction. 

Media headquarters evacuated in Moscow over bomb threat

On 2 November, the headquarters of the Sputnik news agency in Moscow was evacuated following a bomb threat. An unidentified woman phoned the Moscow police department and told them that there was an explosive device in the Sputnik HQ on Zubovsky Bulvar. Bomb disposal units and fire crews were deployed to the site, but a search of the premises found no evidence of an explosive device. The police have stated that it appears to be a hoax and Sputnik employees have reoccupied the building.

Judge shot dead in North Caucasus

On 27 October, Ruslan Botashev, a local judge, was shot dead as he was driving his car in the village of Pervomayskoye, in the Karachayevo-Cherkesia region of the North Caucasus. An unidentified gunman shot Botashev five times before fleeing the scene. Police have launched an investigation into the murder. 

Hundreds of people hospitalised in Dagestan after drinking contaminated water

On 30 October, more than 350 people were hospitalised with intestinal issues after drinking contaminated water in Dagestan. Russian authorities have stated that recent flooding from heavy rains probably enabled germs to contaminate the water supply. At least 250 of those admitted to hospital were children. Local authorities have advised people to boil water before drinking it or using it for washing in the next few weeks whilst the water supply system is cleaned and sterilised. 

Supreme Court confirms sentences of two Ukrainians accused of fighting in Chechnya

On 26 October, the Russian Supreme Court upheld the sentences of two Ukrainians accused of fighting alongside Chechen separatists in the 1990s. In May 2016, Chechnya's Supreme Court convicted Mykola Karpyuk and Stanislav Klykh to 22 and 20 years in prison, respectively. Both men have continuously denied the charges. 

Russia has withdrawn request to refuel fleet in Cueta

On 26 October, the Spanish foreign ministry announced that Russia has withdrawn a request for three warships to dock at Cueta port for refueling. The cancellation came as Spain has been put under pressure from Nato allies to deny permission for the ships to refuel on their way to Syria. Nato is concerned that the Russian battle group will be used to help bomb civilians in Aleppo, Syria.

Bulgaria and Russia settle debt over cancelled Belene nuclear plant

On 26 October, Bulgaria and Russia signed two agreements to settle debt over the cancelled Belene nuclear plant. The international arbitration court in Geneva ruled that Bulgaria will have to pay the debt in full to Russia before 15 December, 2016. In exchange, Russia will not ask for the $25.09million (€23million) interest on the debt. The Belene Nuclear Power Plant Project was scrapped in 2012 by the Bulgarian government. 

First joint military drills with Russia to begin on 15 October

On 12 October, an Egyptian military spokesperson announced Egyptian and Russian troops will take part in the first ever joint military exercise in El-Alamein, west of Alexandria. The drills, called Protectors of Friendship 2016, will commence on 15 October and will last nine days, until 26 October.

Police shoot dead eight militants in Chechnya

At midnight on 9 October, police shot dead eight militants in Chechnya. The men, travelling in two cars, reportedly opened fire on police with automatic weapons and grenades when asked to stop at a checkpoint, wounding four police officers. Police returned fire, killing all eight militants. Their vehicles caught fire in the battle, burning the bodies. Police believe that Ali Demilkhanov, the leader of the militant group, could be among those killed, but will have to wait for the results of a DNA analysis to identify the severely burnt bodies. 

Russia deploys nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad

On 9 October, Russia deployed nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, which borders Poland and Lithuania. Russia's defence ministry have stated that the new deployment was part of military exercises and has happened before. The Polish defence ministry has said that the deployment is of the "highest concern" and that they are monitoring the situation. A US intelligence official stated that the move could be to express displeasure at NATO's decision to deploy four battalions to Poland , Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia next year. The Iskander missile system has a range of 440 miles and could reach Berlin. 

NATO jets scramble to intercept Russian bombers

On 22 Septemer, NATO jets from four European countries scrambled to intercept two Russian Blackjack bombers as they flew from the direction of Norway to northern Spain and back. Details of the incident were only released on Tuesday by the French Ministry of Defence. Norway, the UK, France and Spain all scrambled jets as the TU-160 Blackjack bombers skirted their airspace. Two Norwegian F-16 fighters were scrambled to escort them towards the north of Scotland, where the RAF sent Typhoon interceptors from RAF Lossiemouth to interdict the bombers. Two French Rafale fighters picked the bombers up 100km off the coast of Brittany and were relieved by two more Rafale fighters who shadowed the bombers as they flew south. Spain then sent two F-18 fighters to intercept the Russian bombers north of Bilbao. The bombers then turned around and flew back to Russia. It is not believed that any further interceptions occurred. 

Russia suspends nuclear agreement with the United States

On 3 October, President Vladimir Putin suspended a nuclear agreement with the United States on the disposal of surplus weapons-grade plutonium. Putin offered the US several conditions that must be met in order to continue with the deal. He wants the US to reduce its military presence in NATO countries near to the Russian border back to the levels they were 16 years ago; sanctions placed on Moscow over their involvement in Ukraine to be lifted; and for the US to compensate Moscow for losses due to sanctions. Immediately after the announcement, Washington suspended talks with Russia on ending the violence in Syria.

Russian Embassy shelled in Damascus

On 3 October, the Russian embassy in Damascus was shelled from areas of the city controlled by the al-Nusra Front and Faylaq al-Rahman militant groups. Mortar shells exploded on the embassy area near the residential department and more shells landed just outside the embassy grounds. The diplomatic mission sustained material damage but the Russian Foreign Ministry has reported that no one was injured in the attack. 

Suspected Ukrainian spy arrested in Russia

A Ukrainian national, Roman Sushchenko, was arrested by the Federal Security Service (FSB) on charges of espionage. Sushchenko claimed to be a journalist but arrived in country without a journalistic visa. The FSB alleges that Sushchenko is a member of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry's chief intelligence office, and that he was collecting state secrets on the activities of the Russian Armed Forces and National Guard troops. Ukraine's chief intelligence office has stated that Sushchenko does not work for them and is simply a journalist. 

One killed in building fire in Ufa

On 30 September, one person was killed and five others injured when a fire broke out at a ten-story building still under construction in Ufa. The man is reported to be a construction worker from North Korea, and died after he jumped from the building to escape the flames. An investigation has been launched by the regional investigation committee.

Some foreign nationals prevented from crossing Russia-Belarus border by road

Some foreign nationals have been prevented from crossing the border between Belarus and Russia when travelling by road, especially on the M1 Highway to/from Smolensk. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises that those travelling by road should consider seeking an alternative route. 

Eight firemen killed in warehouse fire in eastern Moscow

Eight firemen were killed as they tackled a huge warehouse fire in Moscow last night. They had previously been listed as missing since the roof collapsed whilst they were inside the plastic goods warehouse, but their bodies were found this morning. The fire was extinguished at 07:44 local time and involved at least 160 personnel and more than 40 equipment units. Rescuers reportedly prevented the explosion of 30 cylinders of household gas in the warehouse. They also removed 67kg of ammonium from a compressor facility. Russia's Investigative Committee has launched an inquiry into the incident. 

State courier service officials attacked and robbed in Moscow

On 9 September, unknown armed assailants attacked a State Courier Service vehicle in the Domodedovo district of Moscow province, robbing the officials of four pistols and assorted documents. The authorities have launched an investigation into the attack. 

One officer wounded in counter-terror operation in Dagestan

On 9 September, one police officer was wounded in a counter-terror operation in the Magaramkentsky District of Dagestan. A security source stated that the shooting occurred "in the area of Samur forest, when unknown insurgents opened fire from the forest at the employees of the federal forces."

Greenpeace volunteer firefighters attacked in Kuban

On 9 September, volunteer firefighters from the Greenpeace organisation were attacked by a group of masked Cossack men at a camp in the Kuban region. The men reportedly began attacking them and their cars, with several people having to be taken to hospital as a result. The volunteers had helped to extinguish several fires in the Krasnodar region the previous day.

Criminal duo killed during anti-terror operation in Dagestan

Two wanted militants and a police office were killed during a special anti-terrorism operation in Dagestan, south-western Russia. According to the country's National Anti-terrorism Committee, both militants were suspected of terrorism related crimes. The region is know to have a heavy gang presence, with special detachments of the police often carrying out anti-terror operations to tackle extremists based near the country's southern borders.

Car bomb attack foiled in Ingushetia

A car bomb loaded with 50kg of TNT equivalent was defused in Ingushetia on 30 August. investigators believe the bomb may have been intended to kill the imam of a mosque near to where the bomb was discovered. The device was armed and ready to be remotely detonated, and was found in a car park near the mosque of Ali-Yurt village. Police evacuated homes around the device, relocated it to an isolated location, and carried out a controlled detonation. 

Amid high tensions President Vladimir Putin visits Crimea

Following the accusations that the Ukrainian government was behind military armed incursions in Crimea, Russia's President Vladimir Putin headed to visit the disputed peninsula on Friday. According to a Russian news agency, RIA, Putin is set to meet with his security council and to attend a youth forum. This is the fifth visit of the Russian president to Crimea, annexed from Ukraine in March 2014. At the same time, the news source announced that naval and ground forces are executing military logistical training in the area. President Petro Proshenko stated this Thursday that tensions in the region remain high and the situation has worsened, as he can "not exclude a full-scale Russian invasion".

Suspected IS fighter arrested in Samara

An alleged Islamic State (IS) militant has been arrested during a police raid in Samara, southern Russia. The operation also led to the seizure of Islamist propaganda material, a Kalashnikov rifle and a set of explosives, along with a bomb manufacturing guide. A statement released by the authorities said that the wanted Russian national confessed the planning of a terrorist attack. The incident comes days after the IS claimed responsibility for the attack at a police station near Moscow, where at least two officers were wounded.

Two terrorists shot dead during operation in Saint Petersburg

A special operation executed by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) killed two suspected terrorists in a residential area of Saint Petersburg. Security sources told local news that two other assailants were detained during the operation. In May, a Tajikistani duo were arrested under suspicion of carrying out recruitment for the Islamic State (IS) and supporting the group in terrorist plots across Russia.

Two police officers wounded in attack on police station

At least two police officers have been injured, one seriously, following an attack on a traffic police station on the Schelkovskoe Highway, near Moscow. The attack happened when a suspicious vehicle was stopped to allow a check of documentation, and the two male occupants then attacked the station with axes and guns. One of the attackers was killed during the attack, and the other was killed when he tried to resist arrest. The attackers are reported to have been from the North Caucasus region. The authorities are still trying to determine the motivation behind the attack.

Ukraine puts troops on alert over Russia tensions

Ukraine has ordered the security forces to be combat ready amid rising tensions with Russia.  “I ordered a high level alert of all units in the region of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and along the entire contact line in Donbas,” President Petro Poroshenko said after meeting with his national security council.  On Wednesday Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed Ukrainian troops had carried out cross-border operations in Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

Hundreds protest in Moscow over new counter-terrorism bill

Hundreds of Russians gathered at Moscow's Sokolnik Park on Tuesday to protest over the new counter-terrorism legislation, approved in July by President Vladimir Putin. Opposition members and rights activists claim that the bill will facilitate government repression and restrict the population's basic freedoms and privacy. The law, proposed by the pro-government politician Irina Yarovaya from the United Russia party, aims to toughen the counter-extremism legislation through heavy penalties and permission for people as young as 14 years of age to be criminally prosecuted. Other controversial measures include the obligation of network operators to retain phone calls, images and messages for up to six months.

Two security personnel shot dead in Crimea

The Russian Intelligence Agency (FSB) announced on Wednesday that two security personnel were killed in separate terror-linked incidents in the Crimean Peninsula. The FSB stated that one of its agents died in an attack by alleged Ukrainian militants in Armyasnk, where several explosives and a cache of ammunition were found. In a separate incident, the FSB reported that one Russian soldier was killed when a group of Ukrainian officers with armoured vehicles tried to execute a raid in the area. The incident raised some concerns over the ongoing conflict, triggered by Russia's annexation of Crimea.

State of emergency declared in Yamal-Nenets over wildfires

A state of emergency has been declared in Russia's northern Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District due to wildfires in the area. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Commission for Emergencies, which stated that the measure was declared because further high temperatures were forecast across the region. Reports show that the most affected areas are the villages of Hanim, Pur district, and Ratta in Krasnoselkupsky district. 

State of emergency declared due to hurricane near Moscow

The regional Ministry of Health reported that one person was killed and 17 others injured by hurricane on the outskirts of Moscow. According to the local media, the deceased citizen was killed in Ruza district while the other casualties were reported in the nearby Mozhaisk area, where several people were taken to the local hospital after sustaining serious injuries. Authorities declared a state of emergency in the region until Monday.

Seven criminals killed during special operation in Dagestan

An operation carried out by Russian special forces led to the death of seven people in Dagestan on Thursday. Members of the Makhachkala gang, responsible for attacks against Russian security forces, were intercepted by security officers triggering an intense confrontation, where one soldier was also killed and three others injured. The operation comes one week after a car exploded on a highway in the Karabudakhentskiy district, where a suspected Islamist militant was killed.

German tourist missing in Kabardino-Balkaria avalanche

A German tourist is missing following an avalanche in Russia's republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.  The tourist was climbing around Mount Elbrus with a friend when the avalanche hit.  "We have found one of the tourists, and the second is missing. The search of the area where the man may stay is currently underway. An additional team of 10 people has been dispatched to the search area", a medical source told the TASS news agency.

Car bomb kills two in Dagestan

At least two people have been killed in a car bomb attack in the restive southern region of Dagestan.  The vehicle exploded on a motorway in the Karabudakhentskiy district on Monday.  One of the victims was a suspected Islamist militant and the authorities suspect that the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) which detonated prematurely.  

Twelve killed after storm hits boats in Karelia

At least 11 children and an adult have been killed after their boats capsized during a storm in the Republic of Karelia in north-western Russia.  A group of around 50 were sailing on Lake Syamozero when the bad weather hit on Sunday morning.  Many of them were school children from the capital, Moscow, who were on holiday in the region.  Sergei Sobyanin,  the mayor of Moscow, said: "A great tragedy has occurred in Karelia."

Moscow train stations evacuated over bomb threat

Five major train stations in Moscow were evacuated on Tuesday night after bomb threats were received by the security forces.  Hundreds of people were evacuated from the Kursky, Belorussky, Leningradsky, Kazansky and Yaroslavlsky stations as police searched for explosives.  No devices were found and the stations have since reopened.

Two IS recruiters arrested in St. Petersburg

Two alleged Islamic State (IS) recruiters have been arrested by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) in St. Petersburg. Both Tajikistani citizens were suspected of carrying out recruitment for IS and assisting the group to prepare terrorist attacks in the Moscow metro area during the May holidays. Earlier this month, the FSB arrested several Central Asian nationals in Krasnoyarsk, western Siberia, on suspicion of planning attacks against public transport during the holiday period.

Three dead in Moscow cemetery brawl

At least three people have been killed and more than 20 others wounded after a mass brawl erupted at a cemetery in the Russian capital, Moscow.  Police said two of the victims died after being hit by a car during clashes involving around 200 people.  More than 50 people were also arrested at the Khovanskoye cemetery in the south-west of the city.  The violence was reportedly sparked by a dispute over jobs and involved immigrants from former Soviet central Asia and residents of Russia's volatile North Caucasus.

Several terrorist suspects arrested in Krasnoyarsk

Several people have been arrested by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) in counter-terrorism raids. A statement issued by the FSB said that officers from the elite force carried out operations in Krasnoyarsk in western Siberia, targeting Central Asian suspects who were planning attacks on public transport during the May holidays. The exact number and nationalities of the detainees has not been released.

Three suicide bombers target police station in Stavropol

Three suicide bombers have attacked a rural police station in Russia's southern Stavropol region, according to the Interior Ministry.  Local media reported that one of the attackers blew themselves, while the other two were killed in the blast in the village of Novoselitskoye in the Stavropol region.  No civilians or police were wounded.

Russian journalist found dead in St Petersburg

Prominent Russian journalist Dmitry Tsilikin has been found dead at his home in St Petersburg.  Tsilikin, a 54-year-old culture and arts critic, was found with stab wounds on Thursday evening after his family said he had gone missing.  “This is a great tragedy for the entire journalistic community, because he was a very well-known, great journalist who wrote on culture and art,” St. Petersburg Union of Journalists chairwoman Lyudmila Fomichev said.  Police have opened a murder investigation.

Police officer killed in Dagestan blast

One police officer has been killed and two others wounded in a bomb attack in the Dagestan region in southern Russia.  The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the blast via the Amaq news agency, while the group said 10 security officers died.  The explosion hit two police cars near Makhachkala, the capital city of the Republic of Dagestan.  Earlier this month three IS-linked suspects were arrested in the village of Mutsalaul over plots to carry out attacks in the region.

FlyDubai plane crashes in Rostov-on-Don

At least 62 people died when a FlyDubai passenger jet crashed in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Dov on Saturday.  The Boeing 737-800 crashed during an attempted landing following an aborted first attempt.  Local reports suggest high winds and poor visibility were the cause of the crash, although officials are still investigating the circumstances.

Car bomb explodes near mosque in Nazran

At least two people were injured when a car bomb exploded outside a mosque on Friday. The attack happened in the southern Russian town of Nazran after worshippers were leaving the mosque following Friday prayers. It is believed that the target of the blast was the mosque's imam. In 2009 at least 20 people were killed and dozens more wounded when a vehicle filled with a large amount of TNT went off in the same Caucasus town. 

Coal miners trapped underground in Vorkuta

Up to 90 coal miners have been trapped underground in the northern Komi Republic. The Severnaya mine, located in Vorkuta, is proving difficult to access due its location beyond the Arctic Circle. A regional branch of Russia's Emergencies Ministry is carrying out the evacuation. 

Several detained in protests in Derbent

Russian police arrested 20 people on Wednesday during a protest to demand the release of the local Salafi Imam.  Around 400 people joined the demonstration in front of the police office in the Caspian city of Derbent, while the clashes erupted when the security forces tried to disperse the protesters by firing smoke bombs and using batons. The unrest comes after several local mosques were accused of having links to Islamic extremist  groups.

Deadly shooting at UNESCO site in Dagestan

At least one person has been killed and 11 others wounded in a shooting at a UNESCO World Heritage site in southern Russia.  A gunman opened fire on a group of tourists at the Derbent fortress in Dagestan on Tuesday evening.  The region has been battling an insurgency from Islamic militants for several years; however, the identity and motive of the assailant has not yet been established.

Four wounded in Moscow bus stop bombing

At least four people have been wounded after a small bomb exploded at a bus stop in central Moscow.  Moscow police spokesman Andrei Galiakberov said the device exploded on Pokrovka street, around 1.6km from the Red Square.  The police have not provided any details on the potential culprits or motivation behind the attack.

Police officer shot dead in St Petersburg

A police officer has been killed and another wounded in a shooting in St Petersburg.  Russia's interior minister said unknown assailants carried out the attack in the Krasnogvardeiskii neighbourhood in the north-east of the city.  Security forces are now hunting the suspects.

Russia begins airstrikes against IS in Syria

Russia has started carrying our airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria. The head of Russia's presidential administration, Sergey Ivanov, said the Federation Council had approved President Vladimir Putin's request to deploy the air force. "The operation's military goal is exclusively air support of the Syrian armed forces in their fight against ISIL," said Ivanov. A US defence official said Russian jets had targeted the western city of Homs.

Serviceman kills two soldiers and an officer before killing himself

A Russian serviceman has taken his own life after shooting dead an officer and two soldiers. Two other soldiers were reportedly injured in the shooting. The shootout happened in a military field camp in the Kostroma Region on Wednesday. According to preliminary investigations, the shooter was guided by personal motives.

Russia sends Estonian security officer to prison for spying

A Russian court has sentenced an Estonian security service officer to 15 years in prison for spying. Estonia says that the officer, Eston Kohver, was abducted by unknown gunmen and taken across the Russian border. Russia claims that Kohver was detained on its territory after illegally crossing the border. On Wednesday, the regional court in the western city of Pskov found Kohver guilty of spying, arms smuggling and violating border regulations. Russian news agencies quoted Judge Yulia Ulanova as saying that the court would hand over cash, a gun and a recording device found on Kohver to the Russian Federal Security Service. Estonian authorities said Kohver was investigating a smuggling operation involving agents from the Russian intelligence agency.

Caucasus Emirate leader killed in Dagestan region

On August 11, Russia's National Anti-terrorist Committee (NAK) reported that the current leader of the Caucasus Emirate group, a pro-Islamic State group, Magomed Suleimanov, was killed in a raid in the Dagestan region. Four militants were killed in the operation.

Pregnant mother and six children found dead

Six Russian children and their pregnant mother have been found dead in the city of Nizhny Novgorod. Their dismembered remains had lain undiscovered, said Pavel Astakhov, the country's ombudsman for children. Police are hunting for the children's father, the main suspect in the case. Staff at the childen's pre-school reportedly raised the alarm after they failed to turn up in July. The children are thought to all be aged under six.

Eight ISIS militants killed in North Caucasus

Russian special forces have killed eight militants in the Northern Caucasus region, including one of the organisers of the attack on government buildings in Grozny, Chechnya, in December 2014. The operation took place in a forest in the Sunzha district of the Republic of Ingushetia, southwest Russia. A statement from the National Anti-Terror Committee (NAC) said that "the militants killed in the operation had recently pledged allegiance and became members of the Islamic State international terrorist organisation." A large number of automatic weapons, hand grenades and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were seized at the site, along with over 2000 rounds of ammunition. 

Islamic State (IS) militant killed in Dagestan

Russia's anti-terrorism committee said police have killed a militant linked to the Islamic State (IS) group in Dagestan.  Officials said Suleiman Zainalobinov was shot dead after he opened fire on police on Saturday night.

Police arrest dozens at LGBT rally in Moscow

Russian police have arrested dozens of people during an unsanctioned gay rights rally in central Moscow. Gay rights activists insisted on holding the march on Saturday despite a ban issued by a Moscow court, the AFP news agency reported.  The authorities blocked the campaigners request to hold a gay pride rally for the 10th year in a row.

Russia and NATO begin rival military exercises

Russia has launched a massive military exercise involving some 250 aircraft and 12,000 service personnel, which the defence ministry describes as a "massive surprise inspection."  The exercises will take place on the same day that NATO launched its own long-planned military drills in the Arctic.  Tensions between the two have been increasing over Russia's involvement in Ukraine, which have resulted in the EU and US imposing sanctions on government officials and Russian businesses.

Rebel leader killed in North Caucasus

Russian security forces have killed the leader of Islamist rebel group during operations in the the North Caucasus.  The National Anti-Terrorism Committee said that Aliaskhab Kebekov, head of the Caucasus Emirate, was "neutralised" along with four other suspected militants. Fighters from the Caucasus Emirate also confirmed Kebekov's death Monday, according to the Kavkazsky Uzel (Caucasian Knot) news site.

Opposition leader shot dead in Moscow

A leading opposition politician has been shot dead near the Kremlin in the Russian capital, Moscow.  Boris Nemtsov, who was due to lead an opposition march on Sunday, was shot four times in the back on Friday evening.  The killing sparked widespread anger in Russia, with Mr Nemtsov's allies accusing President Vladimir Putin's government of involvement.  Tens of thousands of people joined a mourning rally through the centre of the city on Sunday. As public demonstrations can be unpredictable, the general advice for all visitors is to avoid them.

Thousands join mass ant-Charlie Hebdo rally in Chechnya

Several hundred thousand people have rallied in the North Caucasus region of Chechnya against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.  Last week the magazine published cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad after its offices were attacked by gunmen, leaving 12 people dead. "This is a protest against those who support the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed," said Ramzan Kadyrov, the region's leader during the state-sponsored rally in Grozny.

Russian footballer shot dead in Dagestan

A Russian footballer has been shot dead near his home in Dagestan in the restive North Caucasus.  The 20-year-old, who played for Anzhi Makhachkala, was driving on Saturday night when unknown gunmen opened fire on his car.

Human rights office torched in Chechnya

A human rights group have had their offices torched in Chechnya after they criticised the republic's leader, Ramzan Kadyrov. "The damage [to the offices] is serious. All the equipment has been smashed. That was caused not by the fire but by vandalism," activist Dmitry Utukin of the Joint Mobile Group (JMG) told the AFP news agency. The JMG had been critical of Mr Kadyrov after he called for collective punishment for families of Muslim rebels involved in a recent attack in Grozny.

Rebel attack kills 16 in Chechnya

At least 16 people have been killed in an attack by rebels in the heavily-fortified Chechen capital, Grozny.  A group of suspected Islamist gunmen carried out the raid during the early hours of Thursday morning, attacking a traffic post and then storming a media building and nearby school.  An Islamist group claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming it was revenge for assaults by the security forces on Muslim women.

Suicide bomb kills four in Chechen capital

At least four people died and four others were wounded in a suicide bomb attack in the Chechen capital Grozny on Sunday.  The attack took place outside a concert hall where thousands of people had gathered to celebrate a local holiday. "Police officers who were manning metal detectors at the entrance of the concert hall noticed a suspicious young man. When the police officers decided to check the individual, the man blew himself up," a local police officer told the RIA news agency.

Thousands gather for anti-war rally in Moscow

Tens of thousands of people gathered in Russia's capital, Moscow, on Sunday to protest against the country's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.  Protesters waved Russian and Ukrainian flags, while banners read "We are together" and "No to war!".  At least 3,000 people have died in eastern Ukraine since the fighting began last April.

Islamic State militant arrested in Moscow

Russian security forces have arrested a suspected member of the Islamic State militant group in the capital, Moscow.  Intelligence agents detained the man, reportedly a Russian citizen, in relation to his activities in Syria between 2013 and early-2014.  The arrest follows a warning from the group last week in which they threatened to start a war in the Russian Caucasus region.

Armenian man opens fire at Turkish embassy in Moscow

An Armenian man has opened fire on the Turkish embassy building in Russia's capital, Moscow.  The assailant carried out the attack on Monday morning, causing damage to the building but no casualties, before being detained by the embassy's security forces.

Police officer shot dead in Ingushetia

A Russian police officer has been shot dead in the North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia.  The Russian Investigative Committee's spokesman said the officer was found alongside a highway outside the village of Gazi-Yur.  Attacks on Russian security forces are common in the North Caucasus region, with separatist Islamic militants responsible for much of the violence.

Police officers clash with militants in Dagestan

Russian police officers have clashed with suspected militants in the restive southern republic of Dagestan.  Three officers were wounded in the incident, which occurred near the town of Tejukh in the Tabasaransky District.

Thousands rally in Moscow over Ukraine intervention

Around 50,000 people have gathered in Russia's capital, Moscow, to protest against the country's involvement in neighbouring Ukraine.  The rally comes a day before a referendum in Crimea, which is expected to see control of the region transfer from Ukraine to Russia.

Gunman kills two at Russian Orthodox church

A gunman has opened fire at a Russian Orthodox cathedral on the island of Sakhalin, off the eastern coast of Russia.  A nun and a worshipper were killed in the attack in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, while a further six people were wounded.  Police have arrested a man who worked as a security guard, although a motive for the shooting has not yet been established.

Two killed in Moscow school siege

A student has shot dead a teacher and a police officer during a hostage siege at a school in the Russian capital, Moscow.  The assailant entered School No. 263 with a rifle and took more than 20 fellow pupils hostage before police arrived at the scene.  Police later said that the gunman had been disarmed and was in their custody, while all of the hostages have been released.

Islamist group warns of Sochi Olympics attacks

Two members of an Islamic militant group have warned that a "surprise" was in store for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi unless it is called off.  In a video released online the men said "If you hold the Olympics you will receive a present from us... for you and all those tourists who will come over.  It will be for all the Muslim blood that is shed every day around the world - be it in Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, all around the world. This will be our revenge."

Seven militants killed in Dagestan operations

Seven suspected Islamic militants have been killed in operations by Russia's security forces in the southern  republic of Dagestan.  A spokesman for Russia’s Anti-Terrorist Committee told ITAR-TASS agency those killed were suspected of carrying out a grenade and car bomb attack on Friday in the regional capital Makhachkala.

Russia increases security ahead of Winter Olympics

Russia has launched a major security operation in the Black Sea resort of Sochi ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, which start next month.  More than 30,000 police officers and troops have been deployed to the area, while two controlled security zones are being setup which will limit access to the Olympic site.  The move comes in the wake of two suicide bomb attacks in the southern city of Volgograd, which killed at least 34 people and wounded dozens more.

Second deadly blast hits Volgograd

A second suicide bomb attack has killed 14 people in the city of Volgograd, a day after 17 people died in a similar bombing in the city's train station.  The device exploded on a packed trollybus near a busy market in the Dzerzhinsky district of the city.

Suicide bomb attack kills 15 in Russian train station

At least 15 people have been killed and more than 30 others wounded in a suicide bomb attack in the southern city of Volgograd.  Russian police said that a female bomber detonated the device inside the city's main station at around 12:45 local time.

Security forces kill Islamic militant in Dagestan

Russian security forces have killed an alleged Islamic militant during counter-terrorism operations in the North Caucasus Republic of Dagestan.  Islam Atiyev was shot dead on Saturday during an exchange of gunfire with troops who were attempting to arrest him.

Two police officers die in shootout

Two police officers have been killed in a fatal shoot-out in the centre of Moscow during an anti-extortion operation.  The shooting took place late on Thursday evening at an apartment block on the Leningrad Road, and led to the arrest of the prominent crime boss Rezo Bukhnikashvili.

President Putin shuts down state-owned news agency

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has dissolved the main state-owned news agency, RIA Novosti, along with the Voice of Russia radio station.  RIA has been replaced by with a new agency called Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today) and will be headed by conservative pro-Kremlin journalist Dmitry Kiselyov.

Moscow police arrest Islamic extremists during raid

Police have arrested 15 members of an Islamic extremist group during a raid in the Russian capital, Moscow.  In a statement police said that weapons and explosives were also seized during the operation, which was carried out in the eastern part of the city.  The suspects are reportedly members of the Takfir Wal-Hijra organization, originally formed in Egypt in the 1960s as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Nationalists rally across Russia for Unity Day

Thousands of nationalists have held rallies across Russia against the country's migrant workers, who they accuse of stealing their jobs.  A large protest march was held in a working-class area of Moscow, while other rallies were held in St Petersburg, Kazan and Irkutsk.  Right-wing groups have increasingly hijacked Unity Day, a national holiday established in 2005, as an occasion to hold annual "Russian marches".

Bus bombing kills six in Volgograd

At least six people have been killed and 20 others wounded after a bomb exploded on a bus in the southern city of Volgograd.  According to the local interior ministry the blast may have been caused by a technical malfunction; however, they have not ruled out the possibility of it being a terrorist attack.

Hundreds arrested in Moscow race riots

At least 400 people have been arrested after violent protests erupted over the murder of a local man, which was blamed on a migrant from the North Caucasus.  Crowds reportedly chanted "Russia for Russians" and "white power" at the rally in Biryulyovo in southern Moscow.

Suicide bomb kills two police in Dagestan

Two police officers have been killed and 26 people wounded in a suicide car bomb attack in the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan.  According to a police spokesman the device exploded outside a police headquarters building in the town of Khuchin.

Security official shot dead in Ingushetia

A top regional security official has been shot dead in the troubled Russian republic of Ingushetia.  Akhmed Kotiev, the head of the region's Security Council, was driving near the village of Nizhniye Achaluki when gunmen ambushed his car.  Mr Kotiev's driver was also killed in the incident.

Muslim cleric killed in Dagestan region

A Muslim cleric has been shot and killed during an ambush in the restive southern province of Dagestan.  Ilyas Ilyasov, who was targeted outside his home in the city of Makhachkala, had mediated in a number of conflicts in the region.  A number of clerics have been assassinated in the region by Islamic militants for being too moderate.

Journalist shot dead in Dagestan

A journalist has been shot dead by unknown gunmen in the restive southern region of Dagestan.  Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev, who had written about alleged human rights abuses by security forces in the region, was killed near his home on the outskirts of the capital Makhachkala.

Police officer killed in Chechnya clashes

A Russian police officer has been killed during clashes with rebels in the Shatoi district of Chechnya.  A further 14 officers were wounded when the rebels opened fire on a patrol before fleeing to a mountainous forest region.

Three militants killed in Dagestan shootout

Three suspected Islamic militants have been killed in a shootout with Russian special forces in the restive Dagestan province.  The National Anti-Terrorist Committee said the rebels were surrounded in a house near Khasavyurt, 90km west of Makhachkala. 

Police wounded in Kabardino-Balkaria shooting

Two police officers have been wounded and one suspected terrorist killed in a shooting in the North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.  The gunfire erupted when the police stopped a suspicious vehicle at a checkpoint in Baksan.

Suicide bomber wounds 12 in Dagestan

At least 12 people have been wounded after a female suicide bomber detonated an explosive belt in the restive province of Dagestan.  The bomber, who was the widow of two dead Islamist fighters, detonated her device in a central square in the provincial capital Makhachkala.

Four killed in Dagestan bombings

At least four people have been killed and a dozen others wounded after two car bombs exploded in the restive province of Dagestan.  One device exploded outside the front of the Justice Ministry in the regional capital of Makhachkala, while a second device was detonated via remote control.

Security forces foil planned terrorist attack in Moscow

Russian security forces say they have foiled a planned terrorist attack, killing two suspects in a raid in the town of Orekhovo-Zuyevo.  The National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAC) said that the alleged militants, who were Russian nationals, had received training in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

Thousands attend anti-Putin rally in Moscow

Around 20,000 people have gathered in Moscow's Bolotnaya Square to protest against Russia's President Vladimir Putin.  The rally was held on the anniversary of violent protests held last year on the eve of Mr Putin's inauguration. 

Suicide bombing kills three in Dagestan

At least three people have been killed in a suicide bomb attack in the republican capital Makhachkala in Dagestan.  The device had been left by the roadside outside a market in the centre of the city.

Six killed in Belgorod shooting

At least six people have been killed in a shooting in the south-western town of Belgorod.  Local media reported that the gunman was attempting to carry out an armed robbery when he opened fire outside a department store.

Two dead in Bashkiria bus collision

Two people have died and 11 others have also been injured after two passenger buses collided in Bashkiria. The accident occurred on Sunday along the Kropachevo-Mesyagutovo-Achit highway near Bolsheustikinskoye. Preliminary investigations indicate the collision was caused by adverse weather conditions, as recent heavy snowfall had contributed to poor road conditions and limited visibility.

Russian Federation Data Sheet

Population:
143.3 million
Major Religion/s:
Christianity, Islam
International dialing code:
+7
International dialing prefix:
810
Emergency services:
112
Drives:
Right
Voltage:
220V
Climate:
Varies from humid continental, subartic climate and subtropical.
Ohter Major Cities:
St Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg
Borders:
Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, North Korea, Poland, Lithuania, Norway