The main take-away from Putin’s annual call-in show is that for the first time, the great storyteller has run out of great stories to tell the Russian people.
During his annual question-and-answer session with Russian citizens on June 15, Putin said Russia would remove its counter-sanctions on goods from other countries if they removed their sanctions imposed on Moscow.
Respondents to an informal poll in Moscow said it was a very complicated question, and hard to answer in brief. One attributed it to the change in power in Ukraine after the Euromaidan protests in 2014, adding, jokingly, that Russians always blame the West. Several blamed Russia. One blamed the media. One said it was a conflict between two side. One accused Ukraine, saying “they’re thieves.” (Russian Service)
Uzbek children have been uploading videos in which they recite Pushkin's poetry in a rebuke to Aleksei Navalny, who remarked in a recent interview that Uzbeks don’t know anything about Russian literature. (over 237K views on Current Time/Facebook)
The Russian Defense Ministry says the leader of the extremist group Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, may have been killed in a Russian air strike in Syria last month.
Germany and Austria strongly objected to a provision in Russian sanctions legislation approved by the Senate on June 15, saying it could hurt European businesses involved in a project to bring Russian natural gas supplies to Europe.
In his last scheduled televised question-and-answer session with the public before Russia's next presidential election in March 2018, President Vladimir Putin sought to convey confidence and competence.
Among the usual bread-and-butter questions from Russians sprinkled throughout President Vladimir Putin’s four-hour televised event was a call from "Jeremy" from Mesa, Arizona.
Two Russian opposition figures from Aleksei Navalny's party asked for political asylum at the Ukrainian border on June 15, Ukraine's Border Guard Service said.
In a briefing on June 16, Ukraine’s defense ministry reported that 2,696 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 9,903 were wounded since the conflict in the country’s eastern regions began in April, 2014. (Ukrainian Service)
Ukrainian police have announced on Facebook they have detained suspects in the March 23 murder of former Russian deputy Denis Voronenkov in Kyiv. Names were not disclosed, but there is speculation that one suspect is former Right Sector activist Yaroslav Tarasenko. (in Russian, Current Time)
Russian President Vladimir Putin used his June 15 televised performance to rebuff a comment made by Ukraine’s president last week about the country’s new visa status, quoting a poem to suggest that Ukraine is historically a province of Russia and to quip that Ukraine should have its guard up in "gay" Europe.
Serbia's president has nominated Ana Brnabic as the country's next prime minister, making her the first openly gay premier in the Balkan region and the first Serbian woman in the top job.
Documentation on Russian social media suggests that Sergei Kusyuk, a former Ukrainian Berkut special police force commander, who was instrumental in brutally suppressing a student revolt in Kyiv in 2013-2014, who then fled to Russia, took part in the police crackdown on protesters at an anticorruption rally in Moscow on June 12th. In one video, an officer refers to Kusyuk as “Comrade Colonel,” a title he used while fighting with Berkut. (over 40k views on Russian Service website)