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.
Russia is sending a plane filled with medical equipment to the United States to help fight the coronavirus following a phone conversation between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday. This comes after Trump indicated, without much context, that Russia was sending some sort of medical aid in his Monday coronavirus task force briefing.
Moscow is intending to “practically fully control the movement of citizens” to enforce quarantine measures as the Russian capital begins a full lockdown. It comes as the city is hit with more than 1,220 cases, with 17 cases known to be children. Moscow already has one of the most sophisticated and invasive facial recognition surveillance systems in the world which has been used to monitor individual quarantines.
Vladimir Putin has moved to cement his hold on power in Russia beyond the middle of the decade, backing a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow him to seek another two terms in the Kremlin. The Russian president is required by the constitution to step down in 2024, and there have been months of conjecture about how he could stay in power beyond then, or at least ensure a safe transition for himself.
Russia freed a U.S.-Israeli woman on Thursday who had been jailed on drugs charges, after President Vladimir Putin granted her a pardon. Naama Issachar’s release came ahead of talks in Moscow on Thursday between Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who flew in from Washington to pass on details of a U.S. peace plan, which Israel supports and Palestinians reject.
Russia’s government has resigned to allow President Vladimir Putin to make sweeping constitutional changes which could allow him to remain in power after his current term. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev quit hours after Mr Putin proposed a reform of powers of parliament and the cabinet. The Kremlin says President Putin has named tax chief Mikhail Mishustin, 53, as Russia’s new prime minister.
Vladimir Putin has proposed a flurry of constitutional changes in what appears to be the outline of a new settlement allowing him to stay on after his presidential term expires in 2024. Among the changes proposed during the course of an annual state of the nation address, Mr Putin suggested giving parliament new powers to choose the prime minister and cabinet, and to introduce a maximum two-presidential term limit.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has condemned the forcible conscription of one of his allies to serve at a military base in the Arctic. Ruslan Shaveddinov was seized at his home in Moscow on Monday and flown 2,000km (1,240 miles) to the remote Novaya Zemlya archipelago. Mr Navalny accused the authorities of kidnapping the activist who, he said, was exempt from military service.