Russia’s defense ministry made a new claim on September 17 about the downing of the passenger jet Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine in 2014, asserting that the missile that attacked the aircraft was sent to Soviet Ukraine in 1986 and never returned to Russia.
A majority of respondents to an informal street poll in Moscow were skeptical about Novichok poisoning suspects Aleksandr Petrov’s and Ruslan Boshirov’s explanation of their visit to Salisbury in March. Several doubted the men were tourists or agents, saying their statements were suspicious and the men lacked convincing answers. One said that security agents would not be so sloppy with their alibis, and that authorities would have kept them hidden or provided other protection. Several respondents appeared to believe their story. One woman answered sarcastically that she admires the men’s curiosity, and there should be others who“would travel to a small provincial town to see a church.” (Russian Service)
An art exhibit in Kyiv focuses on LGBT people who have served in the conflict in the country's east. One ex-soldier who took part in the project says it breaks taboos by showing gay and lesbian soldiers as defenders of the country.
Police forces in Kosovo are using drones to catch traffic violations on the country’s roads, some of the most dangerous in Europe.
Financial instability in Iran, wrought by U.S. sanctions and a plummeting currency, has forced large numbers of Afghan migrants to head home.
After Syrian air defenses inadvertently shot down a Russian surveillance plane over the eastern Mediterranean Sea, killing 15 Russian servicemen, Russia’s defense ministry said in a statement that Israeli pilots conducting attacks on targets in Syria "used the Russian plane as a cover, exposing it to fire” from the Syrian side.
German doctors at the Berlin hospital where anti-Kremlin Russian activist Pyotr Verzilov is being treated say he was probably poisoned.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has announced the construction of a church dedicated to the country’s armed forces in Moscow’s famous Patriot park. Projected to be 311 feet high and with a capacity of 6,000 people, it would be among the tallest Orthodox churches in the world. Commenting on the plan, Russian military expert Aleksandr Golts said “the military needs an ideology,” and in the minds of the military chiefs, this role is successfully filled by the Russian Orthodox Church. (Russian Service)
A Kyiv appellate court has modified a lower court’s August ruling granting the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office access to 17 months of mobile phone data belonging to RFE/RL investigative journalist Natalie Sedletska. The new ruling affirms the original timeframe set by the lower court, but restricts the categories of data to which investigators may have access. (Ukrainian Service)
A funny thing happened on the way to Communist Party challenger Andrei Ishchenko’s seemingly assured victory in the governor’s race in Russia's Far East Primorsky Krai: a last-second surge of votes pushed Kremlin-backed candidate Andrei Tarasenko ahead toward what one election analyst called a "mathematically impossible" victory. Ishchenko denounced the result as blatant fraud.
Nearly 1,000 workers who built a metro station in Nizhny Novgorod ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup held in Russia this summer are owed more than $1.28 million in unpaid wages. Local prosecutors say the funds were transferred from the federal budget to the construction company, and that they are planning a criminal case. (In Russian, Current Time TV)
The government of Kyrgyzstan is using a "dangerously overbroad" interpretation of extremism to convict hundreds of people and sentence them to long prison terms, a leading human rights monitor said.