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.
President Vladimir Putin has heralded the opening of a railway bridge to the Russian-annexed Crimea peninsula by posing in the driver’s cab and praising construction workers. But the opening of the railway was immediately condemned by the European Union as “another violation” by Russia of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territory. Russia’s 19km (12-mile) bridge to Crimea first opened in May last year.
One person has been shot dead after an unidentified gunman opened fire on the office of the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia’s main intelligence agency, in the heart of Moscow. Video shows the gunman raking the Lubyanka building with rounds of gunfire and shattering windows. Other FSB guards were injured in the shooting, with two in a critical condition, officials said.
Russia could face an unprecedented four-year ban from major international sporting events over accusations that it manipulated laboratory doping data. The decision will be made later at a meeting of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Russia could be banned from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. It could also be ruled out of the 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar.
Sets of virtual reality goggles, modified for the shape of cow heads and displaying a “unique summer field simulation program,” were placed on multiple bovines, according to a press release from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in the Moscow region. The VR glasses led to a notable “decrease in anxiety and an increase in the overall emotional mood of the herd,” according to the press release provided by Storyful.
An explosion has caused a fire at a Russian biological research facility that’s one of only two centers in the world known for housing samples of the smallpox virus. The blast occurred Monday during repair work of a sanitary inspection room at the Russian State Centre for Research on Virology and Biotechnology, known as Vector, near the Russian city of Novosibirsk in Siberia, the center said in a statement.
A Russian passenger plane has made an emergency landing in a cornfield near Moscow after striking a flock of birds. Twenty-three people were injured in the incident, which saw the plane land with its engines off and landing gear retracted, health officials said. The Ural Airlines Airbus 321 was traveling to Simferopol in Crimea when it hit the flock of gulls shortly after take-off, disrupting its engines.