A Russian court ruled Thursday against a 29-year-old former U.S. Marine who was detained last year on charges of assaulting a police officer after a night of heavy drinking in Moscow, sentencing him to nine years in a Russian prison. Trevor Reed’s nine-year sentence is close to the maximum punishment for these charges, which is 10 years.
The US and UK have accused Russia of testing an anti-satellite weapon in space, in the latest sign that a space-based arms race is heating up. General John Raymond, the head of the new US Space Force, said the alleged test of a projectile, conducted on 15 July, was “further evidence of Russia’s continuing efforts to develop and test space-based systems.
Russian state-sponsored hackers are targeting UK, US and Canadian organizations involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine, according to British security officials. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said drug companies and research groups were being targeted by a group known as APT29, which was “almost certainly” part of the Kremlin’s intelligence services. They stressed that none of the vaccine research had been compromised as a result.
Russians opened the door to Vladimir Putin staying in power until 2036 by voting overwhelmingly for constitutional changes that will allow him to run again for president twice, but critics said the outcome was falsified on an industrial scale. The Central Election Commission said 78% of votes counted across the world’s largest country had supported changing the constitution. Just over 21% had voted against, it said.
Donald Trump claimed on Sunday that no one had told him about a Russian plot to offer bounties to Taliban militants in exchange for fatal attacks on coalition troops in Afghanistan, though US security officials have been weighing a response to the plot since at least March. But in a tweet Sunday morning, Trump claimed never to have heard about the Russian offer.
A former U.S. marine held in Russia on suspicion of spying was sentenced Monday to 16 years in jail, according to state media reports and the U.S. embassy in Moscow. Paul Whelan, who holds U.S., British, Canadian and Irish passports, was detained in the Russian capital at the end of December 2018. He was accused of espionage, a charge he denies.
Russian officials are scrambling to clean up an oil spill in a region in northern Siberia, after an oil leak that began at the end of May was found to have released over 21,000 tons of diesel into the Arctic Ocean. Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency in the region, which is now faced with one of the largest oil spills in Russian history.
A fire that broke out in an intensive care ward in a hospital in St. Petersburg in Russia has killed five people with Covid-19, according to Russian media reports. The fire may have been caused due to one of the ventilation machines short-circuiting, Russian news agency Tass reported Tuesday. Tass later reported Tuesday that Russia will stop using the ‘Aventa-M’ model of ventilator until an investigation into the St. Petersburg hospital is complete.
The trial of a former US marine accused of spying has begun behind closed doors in Moscow, 16 months after his arrest. The Russian government says Paul Whelan was caught “red-handed” with state secrets. But the US ambassador to Moscow called the case a “mockery of justice” and described Mr Whelan’s treatment as a very serious impediment to improving bilateral relations.
The Trump administration on Monday designated the Russian Imperial Movement a terrorist organization, calling it the first time the label has been applied to a white supremacist group. The ultra-nationalist group is based in St. Petersburg and believed to be responsible for training neo-Nazi militants in Western Europe, recruiting separatists to attack Ukraine and supporting election interference in the United States.