SPARTAK, Ukraine, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Waiting for a lull in
fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels,
Nikolai Batyshchev ventures out with his chainsaw and
wheelbarrow to collect firewood to fend off the damp autumn
Left without natural gas or power due to fighting over
nearby Donetsk airport, Batyshchev and his neighbours are
guarding not only against mortar bombs that have pounded their
village of Spartak, but also the approaching Ukrainian winter.
MOSCOW, Oct 17 (Reuters) – At the height of the uprising by
pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine this summer, a handful of
human rights workers recorded that Russian soldiers had been
killed on the battlefield, even though the Kremlin said its
troops were never there.
It was typical work for activists from the group Memorial,
which has emerged since the fall of the Soviet Union as Russia’s
most important human rights organisation mainly by taking notes.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev has warned Western leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin against dragging the world into a new version of the Cold War he helped to end a quarter of a century ago.
Gorbachev, recently in hospital, voiced his disquiet in a newspaper interview at the current standoff over Ukraine, which has prompted the United States and European Union to impose sanctions on Russia, and Moscow to retaliate by banning most Western food imports.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed leader promised a tough response on Monday to a suicide bombing that killed five policemen, shattering a period of relative calm in the turbulent North Caucasus region.
Sunday’s attack, in which 12 police were also wounded, hit the entrance to a concert hall in the Chechen capital, Grozny, where festivities had been planned to celebrate a local holiday, which was also the birthday of Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – A suicide bomber killed at least five police officers and wounded 12 others on Sunday during festivities for a local holiday in Grozny, the capital of Russia’s troubled North Caucasus region of Chechnya, Russian news agencies reported.
The site of two separatist wars and a festering Islamic insurgency, Chechnya has seen a period of relative calm under the strong-arm rule of Moscow-backed leader Ramzan Kadyrov, and suicide bombings have been a rare occurrence in recent years.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Six months after Crimea voted to become part of Russia, elation could give way to discontent over problems such as power and water shortages, the government official responsible for the region said.
“Euphoria cannot be eternal,” Crimean Affairs Minister Oleg Savelyev said in an interview at the Reuters Russia Investment Summit.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia threatened to send more troops to its newly-annexed territory of Crimea on Tuesday, after NATO began exercises in western Ukraine while Kiev’s forces are fighting pro-Russian separatists in the east.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the escalation of tensions in Ukraine and the presence of foreign military near Russia’s borders made the deployment of troops a top priority in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in March.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Pro-Ukrainian activists and Tatar ethnic minorities in Crimea have found their lives under increased threat since the Ukrainian territory was annexed by Russia in March, a top European human rights diplomat said on Friday.
Following the first international rights mission to Crimea since the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula, Nils Muiznieks, commissioner for human rights at the Council of Europe, described an atmosphere of fear for ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, a Muslim ethnic minority.
MOSCOW 2014 (Reuters) – Late last month Yelena Tumanova was handed the body of her son in a coffin at her home in Russia’s Western Volga region. Anton Tumanov was 20 and a soldier serving in the Russian army in the North Caucasus region of Chechnya.
The documents Yelena Tumanova was given with the body raised more questions than they answered – questions about how her son died and about the Russian government’s denials that its troops are in Ukraine. The records do not show Anton Tumanov’s place of death, said human rights activists who spoke to his mother after she got in touch with them.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia said on Thursday it was dissatisfied with talks held with U.S. officials to address concerns that Moscow had violated a Cold War-era arms control agreement by testing a ground-launched cruise missile.
Relations between the two countries are at their lowest since the Cold War because of Russia’s role in the crisis in Ukraine, and both Moscow and Washington question the other’s commitment to the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty.