Erdogan in Russia to reset relations

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in St. Petersburg on Tuesday for talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. Before he left, Erdogan stated he hoped to “reset” ties with Russia, calling Putin his “friend” and claiming he aimed to open a new page in Turkey-Russia relations. Among the issues the two sides are expected…

Ukrainian civilian casualties hit record high

A UN report announced civilian casualties from the conflict in eastern Ukraine have reached a record high since August 2015. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights documented 69 civilian casualties in June, with 12 dead and 57 injured, and 78 in July, with 8 dead and 65 injured. The June figures are nearly double…

Armenia: President calls for change after hostage standoff ends

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan called for “radical changes” in the country on Monday, after a two-week hostage situation ended on July 31. Twenty pro-opposition gunmen surrendered to police on Sunday, as protestors continued to voice concern over the current administration’s domestic and foreign policies. According to Russian media, Sargsyan’s speech at a meeting with government,…

Russia fires customs head amid investigations of illegal imports

Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev accepted the resignation of Federal Customs Service Head Andrei Belyaninov on Thursday, as authorities reported the discovery of nearly $1 million and illegally imported cognac in Belyaninov’s residence. A Federal Security Service (FSB) investigation linked Belyaninov as well as Russia-based shipping company ULS Global to contraband operations in the St.…

Russia, US work on Syria cooperation plan as violence rises

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that a new US-Russia cooperation plan in Syria would be announced sometime in early August. Speaking after meeting with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Kerry reported progress in creating a plan for closer military collaboration with Russia, including technical-level meetings that would usher in unprecedented intelligence sharing between…

Russian athletes face hurdle to participate in Rio Olympics

The International Olympic Committee’s decision not to ban Russia from the 2016 Rio games has sent waves of dissatisfaction across the world, as media and international sports organizations decry the move and Russia continues to protest the blanket ban on athletes convicted of doping. Russia’s athletes must now convince sports federations of their innocence in…

Renowned journalist killed as Ukraine negotiates with EU and Russia

An acclaimed anti-corruption journalist was killed in Kiev by a car bomb Wednesday, as Ukraine’s five-month-old government continued to negotiate its position between Russia and the West. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced the murder of 44-year-old Pavel Sheremet could be an attempt to destabilize the country. Media interpreted the statement as suspicion of Russian involvement,…

Protestors gather amid four-day hostage situation in Armenia

A hostage crisis in Armenia entered its fourth day as authorities stayed silent on the events. Protestors in Yerevan suburb Erebuni remain gathered outside a police station, after opposition members stormed the station, taking hostages on July 17. There were reports of protestors being detained and individuals at the scene injured, including police officers. The…