In an interview with RFE/RL, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg was asked whether Russia aims to stabilize or destabilize Afghanistan. He responded that it remains to be seen whether parallel peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan opposition representatives in Moscow will contribute to a future Afghan peace deal.
Thirty years after Soviet troops retreated from Afghanistan, veterans of that conflict can now be found on the front lines of eastern Ukraine.
Thirty years ago on February 15, the last Soviet soldiers left Afghanistan after a disastrous operation to prop up a Marxist regime. It set off a chain of events still being felt today in Moscow, Kabul, and Washington.
Lyu Pen-Sei grew up in a gulag and is now back living among his childhood barracks.
TV2 in Tomsk, Siberia, one of Russia’s last beacons of unflinching journalism, was shuttered in 2014.
The American founder of the Baring Vostok investment company has been detained in Moscow and could face charges of large-scale fraud. Michael Calvey was reportedly expected to appear for a custody hearing in Moscow's Basmanny district court on February 15.
The British-based open-source investigation group Bellingcat said on February 14 that it has established the identity of a third “GRU officer, who operated internationally under the cover persona of Sergei Vyachaeslavovich Fedotov" and who was in England when former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok.
The European Parliament has called on authorities in Russia's Chechnya region to immediately release detained Chechen human rights activist Oyub Titiyev. The resolution also urges “international sports personalities and artists to refrain from participation in public events in Chechnya or in events sponsored by the leadership of the Chechen Republic.”
The head of Crimea’s Russia-backed administration has announced that officials expect by March 1 to establish a joint shipping company with Syria. The two sides have reportedly agreed on the inventory of goods to be supplied, and plans to charter vessels for transport are underway. (Crimea Realities website)
A spate of anonymous bomb threats to institutions in Moscow has led to several evacuations, although no explosives have been found, Russian authorities say. E-mailed threats late on February 14 and early the next day prompted the evacuation of some 5,000 people from 10 locations, including Russkoye Radio broadcaster, two major railway stations, and two prisons.
Russian media reports that the Moscow mayor’s office has issued a tender to equip police with augmented reality glasses with facial recognition technology. A department official has said that 1,500 cameras in the city are currently programmed with facial recognition algorithms that are connected to databases of persons who are wanted and/or of special interest for law enforcement. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Every Sunday, after the week's final service, Orthodox Father Aleksy Gomonov brings together the single men and women of his Moscow parish, and anyone else keen to join. As they chat over cucumber sandwiches and black tea, he dispenses relationship advice mixed with church teachings.
Ukraine has deported a senior cleric of the Moscow-aligned Orthodox Church and stripped him of his citizenship, marking an escalation in the historic rift that has shaken the Eastern Orthodox world and further raised tensions between Kyiv and Moscow. The move threatens to draw the U.S. into the spat, since the Ukrainian-born Bishop Gedeon is said to hold U.S. citizenship.
Vladyslav Manher, head of the regional council in the southern region of Kherson, has been arrested and ordered held in pretrial detention until March 3 or pay a 2.5 million-hryvnya ($91,000) bail on charges of organizing a contract murder with "special cruelty."
Sources say EU officials have decided to extend for another year the bloc's arms embargo against Belarus, while also agreeing that Belarus would host "a high-level event" within the framework of the Eastern Partnership in October reviewing the bloc's relationship with Minsk.
Belarus writer and Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich says she believes an "atmosphere of violence" contributed to the deadly school attack outside of Minsk earlier this week. Speaking with RFE/RL on February 14, she said that people in Belarus hear justifications for violence and witness disrespect to human dignity on a daily basis, even from President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
Facebook says it has removed 168 accounts, 28 pages, and eight Instagram accounts from its social-media platforms after they were discovered to be "engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior targeting people in Moldova" ahead of the country's February 24 parliamentary elections.
Tajikistan's Interior Ministry says prominent opposition figure Sharodiddin Gadoev has returned to the Central Asian country from abroad and "is sorry for his deeds," while a colleague claims that he was abducted in Russia.
On February 14, 1979, Adolph Dubs, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, was kidnapped at gunpoint, held hostage in a Kabul hotel, and killed in a botched rescue attempt. Forty years on, many questions surrounding his death remain, including who was behind Dubs' kidnapping, who fired the fatal shots, and whether the Soviet Union was involved.