A decade ago, Russia's Defense Ministry closed down a military base in Pskov Oblast, leaving hundreds of people unemployed. Without income or investment in infrastructure, the town began to collapse around its residents.
A woman held hostage by Chechen separatists has spoken about it on camera for the first time, 25 years after a five-day siege that left some 150 people dead in the southern Russian city of Budyonnovsk.
The coronavirus pandemic is not officially recognized in Belarus, but village doctor Nadezhda dons a protective suit and mask before riding her electronic bike to visit her patients. She has been taking care of her village and nearby residences for 46 years. One resident said “as long as she is here, nobody is afraid.” (Current Time TV)
A Russian court handed U.S. Marine Paul Whelan a prison sentence of 16 years after finding him guilty on an espionage charge, a verdict that the top U.S. diplomat in Russia called a "mockery of justice." The trial was held behind closed doors because the evidence includes classified materials, and because of measures taken in response to the spread of the coronavirus. Whelan denies all charges.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned the Czech ambassador to Russia, Vitezslav Pivonka, days after Prague designated two staff members at the Russian Embassy in Prague as personae non gratae and ordered them to leave.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) says nuclear powers have continued to modernize their arsenals despite a decrease in the number of nuclear warheads. A June 15 report says that nine nuclear powers together possessed an estimated 13,400 nuclear weapons at the start of 2020, "a marked decrease" of 65 weapons from the previous year.
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has consecrated the newly constructed Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces, built to mark Victory Day in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. Religious leaders, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, and hundreds of uniformed soldiers attended the June 14 ceremony. A plan to display a mosaic featuring Russian President Vladimir Putin, Shoigu, General Valery Gerasimov, and other Russian officials was canceled following criticism and after Putin reportedly expressed opposition to the idea.
In a blog post on June 9, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin congratulated residents on "our common victory" and announced the city was lifting most of its lockdown measures -- despite still recording almost 2,000 coronavirus cases daily. But the Social Monitoring app will remain mandatory for people with symptoms, and critics say other digital tools may integrate into a ratcheted-up, post-pandemic surveillance apparatus.
President of the St. Petersburg-based Arctic Academy Valery Mitko has been accused of transferring classified materials to China, a charge he rejects. It is the latest in a spate of similar investigations by the Federal Security Service targeting Russian academics.
The ride-hailing service Yandex Taxi announced that it had ceased working with a driver who was shown on video refusing to give a ride to a Congolese student. It announced it would not tolerate racism and rudeness from its employees and contractors, drawing both praise and vitriol on social networks.
NATO has entered a closer partnership with Ukraine, recognizing the former Soviet republic as an enhanced opportunities partner (EOP) after Kyiv demonstrated its "commitment to Euro-Atlantic security." Also, the U.S. has resumed military aid to Ukraine with the release of $250 million in assistance.
Belarusian financial investigators claim they have evidence that Viktar Babaryka, an opposition politician who is seeking to challenge President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in polls due in August, is involved in criminal cases related to tax evasion and money laundering.
Armenian police have arrested more than 90 protesters in Yerevan after National Security Service officers searched the home and office of an opposition leader over alleged economic crimes. Mass gatherings are currently banned in Armenia due to a state of emergency imposed over the coronavirus pandemic.
Reporters Without Borders has called for the withdrawal of newly approved legislative amendments in Tajikistan which could lead to heavy fines for false or inaccurate COVID-19 coverage, or censorship and other violations of press freedom.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has followed the example of his predecessor Saparmurad Niyazov and instructed the military and law enforcement agencies to grow vegetables and fruits, while extolling the health benefits of quince jam. (in Russian, Turkmen Service)
Putin Credits Unified Approach For 'Minimal Losses.'