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06.12.19 Student Protester Zhukov’s Closing Statement
The Moscow Times
Popular YouTube blogger and political science student Yegor Zhukov faces up to five years in prison on charges of calling for extremism online, a case that critics say is politically motivated. Authorities initially charged Zhukov, 21, with mass unrest in connection with anti-government protests that swept Moscow this summer. After fellow students and activists campaigned in Zhukov’s support, investigators dropped that case and charged him with calling for extremism online instead. Read more 
06.12.19 Russia Expels Bulgarian Diplomat In Tit-for-tat Move
Reuters
The Russian government has expelled a Bulgarian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move after Sofia asked Moscow to recall a diplomat on suspicion of espionage, Bulgaria’s foreign ministry said on Thursday. Sofia’s ambassador in Moscow, Atanas Krastin, has been informed that the diplomat must leave Russia within the next 24 hours in line with diplomatic protocol, the ministry said in a statement. Moscow cited the “principle of reciprocity”, it said. Read more 
06.12.19 Libya To Send List Of 800 Russian Mercenaries To Moscow
The Associated Press
Libya’s internationally recognized government plans to present a list of up to 800 Russian mercenaries fighting for its opponents to Russian officials, the Associated Press reported Thursday. Tripoli has accused Moscow of escalating the conflict in the oil-rich North African nation following reports of at least two deployments of Kremlin-linked Wagner mercenaries in recent months. Forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive this spring, with Wagner’s reported help, to seize Tripoli from Libya’s UN-backed government. Read more 
06.12.19 Putin Says Russia Ready To Extend New START Nuclear Arms Treaty
Reuters
Russia is ready to extend the New START nuclear arms control treaty by the end of this year without any more conditions or discussion, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, appearing to drop Moscow’s earlier defiant tone. The New START accord, signed in 2010, limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads that Washington and Moscow can deploy. Its fate has been in the spotlight since Washington pulled out of another key arms accord in August, citing violations by Russia that Moscow denies. Read more 
06.12.19 U.S. Sanctions Russian Cybercrime Outfit 'Evil Corp'
Bloomberg
The U.S. Treasury Department said it would sanction a Russian group known as “Evil Corp” and its leaders for cyber-thefts at hundreds of financial institutions around the world that total more than $100 million. The targets include the group’s leader, identified as Maksim Yakubets. The U.S. said he also worked for the Russian Federal Security Service, an intelligence agency known as the FSB that’s already under U.S. sanctions, and was directed to work on projects for the Russian state as of 2017. Read more 
06.12.19 Russia, Ukraine Have No Plans For Face-to-face Gas Talks On Thursday
Reuters
Russia and Ukraine do not plan to hold face-to-face talks on Thursday about a new deal on gas supplies and transit, two sources familiar with the plans said. Ukraine’s energy ministry had previously said that the two countries were expected to hold talks either in Vienna or Brussels on that day. Read more 
06.12.19 Far-north Russian Village Overrun By Polar Bears
BBC News
More than 50 polar bears have descended on a village in Russia's far north. All public activities in Ryrkaypiy, in Chukotka region, have been cancelled, and schools are being guarded to protect residents from the bears. Conservationists say climate change could be to blame, with weak coastal ice forcing the bears to search for food in the village rather than at sea. Read more 
06.12.19 Russia Suspends Project With Iran Due To Uranium Enrichment
The Associated Press
A Russian state company suspended a research project with Iran because of its decision to resume enriching uranium, a move a senior official said Thursday was necessary after the U.S. canceled a waiver to allow the joint venture. The TVEL company said in a statement that Iran’s decision to resume uranium enrichment at the Fordo facility makes it impossible to convert the facility to produce radioactive isotopes for medical purposes. Read more 
06.12.19 Germany-Russia Murder Row Raises Tensions For Merkel
BBC News
The violent death of a former Chechen rebel commander at the hands of a man suspected to be a Russian-backed assassin in a Berlin park has shocked and outraged many Germans. Zelimkhan Khangoshvili was shot in the head in broad daylight in August. Germany's most senior prosecutor believes the evidence points to a cold-blooded contract killing on German soil, ordered either by authorities in Russia or its Chechen republic. Read more 
06.12.19 Belarus' Lukashenko Dismisses Fears Russia Could Swallow His Country
Reuters
The veteran leader of Belarus on Thursday dismissed opposition fears that a possible integration pact with Russia could end with his country losing its independence to Moscow, saying the two countries were not discussing deeper political ties. Alexander Lukashenko, in power since 1994, is due to hold talks on Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin on an integration road map, but a lack of detail on what it might include has fuelled fears that Moscow aims to gain new influence in ex-Soviet Belarus as part of a creeping plan to absorb it. Read more 
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