Russian court rejects appeal of American basketball star over jail term

A Russian court has rejected an appeal by US basketball star Brittney Griner against her nine-year jail term for drug charges. The court near Moscow upheld the sentence, with the state prosecutor calling it “fair”. The double Olympic winner apologised for her “honest mistake” in the appeal hearing via video link, saying it had been “very, very stressful”. Griner, 32, was convicted in August of smuggling and possessing cannabis oil. It was not immediately clear whether all her legal routes had been exhausted. She is due to serve her sentence in a penal colony. The WNBA star’s lawyer, Alexander Boykov, … Continue reading Russian court rejects appeal of American basketball star over jail term

Putin to visit Iran in rare international trip

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Iran on Tuesday in just his second foreign trip since he launched the invasion of Ukraine in February. Mr Putin will meet Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Grain exports, Syria and Ukraine will be discussed in Tehran, a Turkish official said. The Russian leader has limited his international visits to former Soviet states since war broke out in Ukraine. In June, Mr Putin made his first international trip since February when he visited Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, both former members of the USSR now led by authoritarian rulers … Continue reading Putin to visit Iran in rare international trip

Alexei Navalny sentenced to 9 years in prison

Russia’s most prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny has been given nine years in a “strict regime penal colony” in a fraud case rejected by supporters as fabricated. Navalny was detained when he returned to Russia last year, after surviving a poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin. He is already serving three and a half years in jail for breaking bail conditions while in hospital. A judge has now found him guilty of fraud and contempt of court. Prosecutors accused him of stealing $4.7m (£3.5m) of donations given to his now banned organisations, including his anti-corruption foundation. Delivering her verdict, Judge … Continue reading Alexei Navalny sentenced to 9 years in prison

Heartless: Baby found by teenagers in -20C in Siberia doing well

A baby abandoned in temperatures as low as -20C (4F) in Siberia is doing well, according to Russian officials. The newborn was found by five teenagers in an egg box on a remote road near the village of Sosnovka outside Novosibirsk on Friday, local reports say. The baby girl was rushed to hospital by one of the teenagers’ parents where she was declared fit and well. Police looking for the mother have opened a criminal investigation into the attempted murder of a minor. The parents of one of the teenagers who found the baby wish to adopt her but must … Continue reading Heartless: Baby found by teenagers in -20C in Siberia doing well

Outrageous: Russia orders health and drug checks for foreigners

A new law has come into force in Russia requiring foreigners and long-term visitors to be fingerprinted and have regular mandatory medical check-ups. Anyone staying for over 90 days will be checked for sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis and drug use. Several business groups, including the German-Russian chamber of commerce abroad, have objected to the law. Russia’s health ministry has denied reports that foreigners will have to repeat the checks every three months. US ambassador Jason Rebholz said earlier this month that the law was “xenophobic” and made it more difficult for foreigners to live in Russia. Mika Beuster of the German … Continue reading Outrageous: Russia orders health and drug checks for foreigners

Vladimir Putin says ‘I was once a taxi driver’

Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken of his regret at the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, revealing that he had to work as a taxi driver to supplement his income. Economic troubles triggered by the collapse forced many Russians to seek new ways to earn money. Mr Putin described the break-up as the collapse of historical Russia. The remarks could fuel speculation about his intentions towards Ukraine, a former Soviet republic. Russia has amassed more than 90,000 troops on its border with Ukraine and there are fears it is planning to invade. Russia denies this, accusing Ukraine of … Continue reading Vladimir Putin says ‘I was once a taxi driver’

Tragic: More than 50 miners and rescuers dead after coal mine explosion in Siberia

A devastating explosion in a Siberian coal mine has left 52 miners and rescuers dead about 250 metres underground, Russian officials said. Hours after a methane gas explosion and fire filled the mine with toxic fumes, rescuers found 14 bodies but then were forced to halt the search for 38 others because of a build-up of methane and a high concentration of carbon monoxide fumes from the fire. Ambulances and fire trucks are parked near the Listvyazhnaya coal mine- AP Another 239 people were rescued. The state Tass and RIA-Novosti news agencies cited emergency officials as saying that there was … Continue reading Tragic: More than 50 miners and rescuers dead after coal mine explosion in Siberia

Five climbers die on Russia’s Mount Elbrus

Five climbers died after a blizzard on Mount Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak, Russia’s emergencies ministry said Friday. Photo shows rescuers on Mount Elbrus after a group of climbers was struck by severe weather conditions while at an altitude of over 5,000 metres Thursday’s incident struck when a group of 19 climbers were at an altitude of over 5,000 metres (16,000 feet). Elbrus, located in Russia’s North Caucasus, is the highest mountain Europe at 5,642 metres (18,510 feet).  “Unfortunately, five people died,” the emergencies ministry said. The remaining 14 were taken down to the Azau valley below and the rescue was carried out … Continue reading Five climbers die on Russia’s Mount Elbrus

Breaking News: Russia’s emergencies minister dies during training exercise

Russian Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev has died while attempting to save a person’s life during training exercises in the Arctic city of Norilsk. “Zinichev tragically died while performing official duties saving someone’s life during interdepartmental exercises to protect the Arctic zone from emergencies in Norilsk,” the ministry said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies on Wednesday. Margarita Simonyan, chief editor of the state-funded RT news broadcaster, said Zinichev died while rescuing a cameraman who slipped and fell into the water, the Moscow Times reported. “There were plenty of witnesses, but no one even had time to figure out what … Continue reading Breaking News: Russia’s emergencies minister dies during training exercise

Three killed in Russian Covid-19 ward blaze, official blames ventilator

Three people were killed on Wednesday in a blaze that broke out at a Russian hospital treating patients with Covid-19, the authorities said, with one official suggesting a faulty ventilator was to blame.A view shows firefighting vehicles following an accident at a hospital in Ryazan. Since the start of the pandemic, Russia has reported several fires at intensive care units that doctors said were caused by malfunctioning ventilators used to treat patients severely ill with the virus. The fire broke out in the early hours of Wednesday at a hospital in the city of Ryazan, some 180 kilometres (112 miles) … Continue reading Three killed in Russian Covid-19 ward blaze, official blames ventilator

Breaking: Eleven dead in shooting at Russian school

Children and a schoolteacher have been killed by gunfire at a school in the Russian city of Kazan, officials say. Two people reportedly opened fire and a 19-year-old man has been detained. The attack happened some 820km (510 miles) east of Moscow. An explosion was heard and reports said the second attacker was killed on the fourth floor of the building. Kazan is in the mainly Muslim republic of Tatarstan. Heavily armed police and emergency vehicles were seen outside school number 175 in Kazan. Footage shared on social media showed some children jumping from windows to escape as well as … Continue reading Breaking: Eleven dead in shooting at Russian school

Fire destroys historic factory in St Petersburg

One firefighter has died and two are seriously hurt after a massive blaze at a historic factory in St Petersburg. The fire started at about 12:30 local time (09:30 GMT) on Monday, and quickly spread to all six floors of the Nevskaya Manufaktura building. Strong winds hampered efforts to put out the flames, with a huge plume of black smoke visible across the city. The building dates back to 1841, when it was used to manufacture fabric, and is an iconic landmark in St Petersburg. Forty people were evacuated and much of the roof and floor deck had collapsed, the … Continue reading Fire destroys historic factory in St Petersburg