MOSCOW/NAANTALI, Finland (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed on Tuesday a former U.S. spy agency contractor sought by the United States was in the transit area of a Moscow airport but ruled out handing him to Washington, dismissing U.S. criticisms as “ravings and rubbish”.
In his first public comments since Edward Snowden flew in on Sunday, Putin appeared to make light of the diplomatic uproar over the fugitive, whose flight from U.S. authorities is becoming a growing embarrassment for President Barack Obama. Asked by a journalist about the affair, he smiled fleetingly.
WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Reuters) – The United States increased pressure on Russia to hand over former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, who Washington believes is in Moscow waiting for news of an asylum request to Ecuador.
Snowden, charged with disclosing secret U.S. surveillance programs, left Hong Kong for Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday, starting a cat-and-mouse chase that has frayed ties between Washington and Beijing and threatens U.S.-Russia relations.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – The artistic director of Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet, burned in an acid attack allegedly masterminded by a dancer, is nearly blind despite 18 operations to save his sight, a theatre spokeswoman said on Thursday.
The attack on Sergei Filin, which exposed poisonous rivalries over roles, power and pay at the theatre, has cast a long shadow over Russia’s premier cultural symbol, from which it is still struggling to escape.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – More than a hundred Russian ballet fans rallied in Moscow on Saturday in support of a top dancer who says he is being chased out of the Bolshoi Theatre due to disputes in the wake of an acid attack on its artistic director earlier this year.
The attack on Sergei Filin in January stunned Russians and exposed the bitter rivalries and behind-the-scenes power struggles at the theatre, a symbol of Russian culture since the 18th century.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s lower house passed a law on Tuesday banning gay “propaganda”, a measure that human rights groups say has already fuelled attacks on homosexuals as President Vladimir Putin pursues an increasingly conservative social agenda.
As parliament debated the bill, gay activists who had taken part in a “kissing protest” outside parliament to demonstrate against the law were harassed and pelted with eggs by anti-gay protesters, then about 20 of them were arrested.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian police detained more than 20 gay rights activists involved in a “kissing protest” on Tuesday outside parliament where lawmakers were preparing to pass a bill banning homosexual “propaganda”.
The bill is one of a series of socially conservative measures garnering support in the Kremlin-dominated parliament during President Vladimir Putin’s third term.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Sitting at a long table in Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Syrian opposition leaders outlined a plan to protect Moscow’s interests if the Kremlin agreed to the removal of its longstanding ally, President Bashar al-Assad.
Throughout the meeting last July, one of many since the start of Syria’s civil war, Russian officials sat stony-faced. When the Syrians had finished, there was a long silence.
MOSCOW, June 6 (Reuters) – Sitting at a long table in
Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Syrian opposition leaders outlined a
plan to protect Moscow’s interests if the Kremlin agreed to the
removal of its longstanding ally, President Bashar al-Assad.
Throughout the meeting last July, one of many since the
start of Syria’s civil war, Russian officials sat stony-faced.
When the Syrians had finished, there was a long silence.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia could speed up delivery of anti-aircraft missiles to Syria if the West intervenes, but also floated the idea of suspending the shipment, Russian media reported on Friday, as Moscow set out its negotiating position ahead of peace talks.
A Russian arms industry source was quoted by Interfax news agency as threatening to hasten delivery of the hotly-contested S-300 missiles if the West were to impose a no-fly zone or Israel were to launch new air strikes.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles will probably arrive in Syria only after several months, but more Israeli air strikes or the creation of a no-fly zone would speed up delivery, a Russian arms industry source said.
Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said it would fulfil an order for the long-range surface-to-air missiles to Syria as a deterrent against foreign military intervention.