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Russian officials bar Navalny from running for president

MOSCOW — Russian election officials on Monday formally barred Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny from running for president, prompting calls from him for a boycott of next year’s vote. The Central Election Commission decided unanimously that the anti-corruption crusader isn’t eligible to run. Navalny is implicitly barred from running for office because of a conviction …

Syria’s Assad travels to Russia, meets with Putin

MOSCOW — Russia is about to end its military operation in Syria that tipped the scales in the devastating war in favour of government forces, President Vladimir Putin said at surprise talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad. Putin hosted Assad in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday ahead of a summit between Russia, …

Putin says US will have to shed 755 from diplomatic staff

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday the United States would have to cut its embassy and consulate staff in Russia by 755, heightening tensions between Washington and Moscow three days after the U.S. Congress approved sanctions against Russia. In response, the U.S. State Department deemed it “a regrettable and uncalled for act.” Russian’s Foreign Ministry …

Russia halts gas supply to Ukraine amid pricing dispute

MOSCOW – The Russian gas company Gazprom halted supplies to neighboring Ukraine on Wednesday after the collapse of pricing talks, a company official said – but an EU official said both nations gave assurances the dispute would not affect the flow of Russian gas to Europe. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Russia stopped deliveries at …

Russia’s Putin scraps new year’s holidays for ministers

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday scrapped New Year’s holidays for government ministers because of the unfolding economic crisis. Russian company employees throughout the country are entitled to holiday from Jan. 1 to Jan. 12 when Russians celebrate the New Year, the main holiday in Russia, as well as Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7. …

Amid media crackdown, Russia’s only independent TV channel broadcasts from a living room

MOSCOW—Among the five TV journalists interviewing Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the odd one out was easy to spot. Mikhail Zygar’s questions were sharper than those of the others, who headed back to spacious television studios while Zygar broadcast his piece from a Moscow living room. The Dozhd news channel, whose editor-in-chief Zygar was given …

Putin’s pease plan: Ukraine withdraws from east

KIEV, Ukraine — A day ahead of a NATO summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued his own peace plan for eastern Ukraine, calling on the Russian-backed insurgents there to “stop advancing” and urging Ukraine to withdraw its troops from the region. Hours earlier, Ukraine had issued a vague statement about agreeing with Putin on cease-fire …

Russian businesses worry Malaysian plane crash will lead to long term isolation, sanctions

MOSCOW—Having for months dismissed Western sanctions on Russia as toothless, business leaders here are now afraid that the crash of the Malaysian jetliner will bring about an international isolation that will cause serious and lasting economic damage. Throughout the Ukrainian crisis, U.S. and European sanctions had mainly targeted a handful of individuals, sparing economic ties. …

Putin orders forces in the Urals on ‘full combat alert’

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday ordered military forces in central Russia on combat alert as well as a drill of airborne troops, a day after Ukraine ordered a cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. NATO said earlier this week that Russia has resumed a military build-up on the border with Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists …

Russian journalist killed in Eastern Ukraine

MOSCOW — A Russian journalist for a Russian state-owned TV channel died Tuesday in eastern Ukraine after being wounded by mortar fire, the Rossiya 24 network said. Correspondent Igor Kornelyuk, 37, died during surgery in a hospital after being wounded while on assignment in Luhansk. The whereabouts of the sound engineer with him at the …