UK COVID cases hit record; Top doctor warns of worse to come
The U.K. recorded the highest number of confirmed new COVID-19 infections Wednesday since the pandemic began, and England’s chief medical officer warned the situation is likely to get worse as the omicron variant drives a new wave of illness during the Christmas holidays.
Czechs protest pro-Russian president, accuse him of treason
Thousands of Czechs rallied Thursday in the capital against President Milos Zeman, accusing the pro-Russian leader of treason over the alleged participation of Russian spies in a huge 2014 ammunition explosion in the Czech Republic. The protesters, who wore face masks and followed social distancing rules, spread out through central Wenceslas Square in Prague.news.yahoo.com
Kremlin: Putin won't congratulate Biden until challenges end
FILE - In this March 10, 2011, file photo, Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, left, shakes hands with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia. Putin wont congratulate President-elect Joe Biden until legal challenges to the U.S. election are resolved and the result is official, the Kremlin announced Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t congratulate President-elect Joe Biden until legal challenges to the U.S. election are resolved and the result is official, the Kremlin announced Monday. And Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also said he would wait to comment until the legal challenges were resolved. Kosachev also suggested that Biden’s election would largely eliminate complaints about Russian election interference, thereby smoothing the way for armaments agreements.
Putin says he allowed foe Navalny to get treatment abroad
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking at the annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club via video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected accusations of the Kremlin's involvement in the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, saying Thursday that he personally allowed his political foe to be flown to Germany for treatment. Navalny asserted that his poisoning only could have been ordered by spymasters who wouldn’t have made such decisions without Putin’s personal involvement. Making his first public comments on Navalny's poisoning, Putin said he had asked Russian prosecutors to allow Navalny to be flown to Germany from Siberia, where he first was hospitalized. “If authorities wanted to poison (him), they would hardly have allowed him to be sent to Germany for treatment,” Putin said during a video call with international foreign policy experts.
6 Russian officers charged in 'destructive' hacking campaign
A poster showing six wanted Russian military intelligence officers is displayed before a news conference at the Department of Justice, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, pool)WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced charges against Russian intelligence officers in cyberattacks that targeted a French presidential election, the Winter Olympics in South Korea and American businesses. The indictment is the most recent in a series of Justice Department prosecutions of Russian hackers, often working on behalf of the government. One of the six charged in the case announced Monday was among the Russian military intelligence officers charged with hacking in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference. The involvement of bots raised questions about the possible involvement of Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.
Russia's Navalny accuses Putin of being behind his poisoning
The German hospital treating Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny for poisoning says his condition improved enough for him to be released from the facility. Peskov charged that there was information that “specialists” from the CIA were working with Navalny “these days” and giving him instructions. “If the authorities, on behalf of which Peskov speaks, have evidence of the nonsense he is talking about, then it's a matter of Russia’s state security, and I demand that this evidence be published," Navalny said in his blog. Navalny told Der Spiegel that when he first fell ill on the plane he was taking from Siberia to Moscow, he was sure he was dying as he collapsed to the floor. Germany has noted that Russian doctors have their own samples from Navalny since he was in their care for 48 hours.
Navalny team alleges Novichok found in hotel water bottle
Navalny later was flown to Germany, where he was kept in an induced coma for more than two weeks as he was treated with an antidote at Berlin's Charite hospital. “Two weeks later, a German laboratory found a trace of Novichok on a bottle from the Tomsk hotel room,” they said. Alburov alleged that Navalny probably was poisoned in the hotel, adding that its management had refused to show them recordings from surveillance cameras. He said police in Tomsk later seized computer servers containing the recordings. The Kremlin has said that Russian doctors who treated him in Omsk found no sign that Navalny was poisoned.
Germany approves Russian request to assist in Navalny probe
FILE - In this July 20, 2019, file photo, Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny gestures while speaking to a crowd during a political protest in Moscow, Russia. Berlins Justice Ministry has approved a request from Moscow for legal assistance in the investigation of the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and has tasked state prosecutors with working with Russian authorities. Navalny, the most visible opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was flown to Germany two days after falling ill on Aug. 20 on a domestic flight in Russia. The move to task Berlin prosecutors to work with Russian investigators came a week after Russia's request for assistance was received by the Berlin state Justice Ministry. Separately, Seibert denied reports that Germany had received a Russian request for permission to send investigators to interview Navalny.
Russia says West trying to victimize Moscow over Navalny
In this photo released by the Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, center, speaks at a meeting of Foreign Ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Commonwealth of Independent States and Collective Security Treaty Organization Member States in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP)MOSCOW Russias top diplomat on Thursday accused the West of leveling accusations of poisoning top Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny without providing evidence, staunchly denying any official involvement. Navalny, the most visible opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was flown to Germany two days after falling ill on Aug. 20 on a domestic flight in Russia. Germanys Defense Ministry has said the data about Navalny had been provided to the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Thursday that Russia is still unaware whether Germany has handed over any information to the OPCW.
Russia urges Germany to share data about Navalny
German Ambassador to Russia Geza Andreas von Geyr leaves the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, where he was invited to discuss the situation regarding Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Navalny, a high-profile critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was flown to Germany last month after falling ill on an airplane flight in Russia. German chemical weapons experts say tests showed the 44-year-old was poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent. Navalny, a fierce, high-profile critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was flown to Germany last month after falling ill on Aug. 20 on a domestic flight in Russia. On Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry invited German Ambassador Geza Andreas von Geyr to protest what it called unfounded accusations and ultimatums" against Russia put forward by the German government.
House lawmakers ask for probe into Russian poisoning case
FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019 file photo Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny speaks during a rally to support political prisoners in Moscow, Russia. The German hospital treating Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says he has been taking out of an induced coma and is responsive. German chemical weapons experts say tests showed the 44-year-old was poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent. Engel and McCaul urged Trump to enact additional sanctions on Russia if its determined that chemical weapons were used against Navalny. Russia has denied that the Kremlin was involved in poisoning Navalny and accused Germany of failing to provide evidence about the poisoning that it requested in late August.
Germany ups pressure on Russia in Navalny poisoning probe
BERLIN Germany on Sunday increased pressure on Russia over the poisoning of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, warning that a lack of support by Moscow in the investigation could force Germany to rethink the fate of a German-Russian gas pipeline project. The Nord Stream 2 project would deliver Russian gas directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea when completed, bypassing Ukraine. Merkel has previously rejected the idea that the Navalny case should be linked to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. In early August, three Republican senators threatened sanctions against an operator of a Baltic Sea port located in Merkels parliamentary constituency over its part in Nord Stream 2. The U.S. argues the project will endanger European security by making Germany overly dependent on Russian gas.
NATO agrees Novichok used on Navalny, demands probe
FILE - In this Friday, June 26, 2020 file photo, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, Pool, File)BRUSSELS NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday condemned the appalling assassination attempt on Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny and called on Moscow to answer questions about the poisoning to international investigators. British authorities previously identified the Soviet-era Novichok as the poison used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in 2018. There is proof beyond doubt that Mr. Navalny was poisoned using a military-grade nerve agent from the Novichok group. Stoltenberg said Moscow must cooperate with the international chemical weapons organization in an impartial, international investigation and provide information about its Novichok program.
Pressure grows for Germany to rethink pipeline with Russia
(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, Pool)BERLIN German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced pressure on Thursday to use a joint German-Russian pipeline project as leverage in getting Russia to provide answers about the poisoning of the Kremlin's most determined critic. The opposition Green party said that should include an end to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which would deliver Russian gas directly to Germany under the Baltic when completed. Despite Merkel's strong reaction to the news, it was not clear whether she would consider trying to put an end to the pipeline project. Nord Stream 2 is also opposed by Ukraine and Poland, which will be bypassed by the pipeline under the Baltic sea, as well as some other European nations. Despite the calls from some to bring Nord Stream 2 into the Navalny case, others have spoken against such a move.
Germany's Merkel: Don't link Navalny case to pipeline plan
FILE - In this file photo taken on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny takes part in a march in memory of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in Moscow, Russia. The German hospital treating Russian dissident Alexei Navalny says tests indicate that he was poisoned. But Merkel rejected the idea that the Navalny case should be linked to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline being built under the Baltic Sea. Our opinion is that Nord Stream 2 should be completed," she said, adding: I don't think it is appropriate to link this business-operated project with the Navalny question." The U.S. argues the project will endanger European security by making Germany overly dependent on Russian gas.
Kremlin: Navalny poisoning accusations 'empty noise'
MOSCOW The Kremlin on Tuesday rejected accusations of involvement in an alleged attack on Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny who is in a coma in a German hospital, a day after doctors said tests indicated that he was poisoned. The politician's allies say the Kremlin is behind the illness of its most prominent critic, with some demanding an investigation into whether Russian President Vladimir Putin was involved. These accusations absolutely cannot be true and are rather an empty noise, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday. Chancellor Angela Merkel personally offered Germany's help in treating Navalny and, along with other European officials, has called for a full Russian investigation. Charit said the specific substance to which Navalny was exposed isn't yet known but that a further series of comprehensive tests had been started.
Toxic tea: Multiple Russians hit by suspected poisonings
MOSCOW When Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny collapsed in an airplane bathroom Thursday, his supporters immediately suspected poisoning. If true, he wouldnt be the first prominent, outspoken Russian to be the target of toxic attack. A British inquiry found that Russian agents had killed Litvinenko, probably with President Vladimir Putin's approval. At the time of Litvinenkos poisoning, he had been investigating the killing of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya three weeks earlier. PYOTR VERZILOVVerzilov, a member of Russian protest group Pussy Riot, ended up in an intensive care unit after a suspected poisoning in 2018 and had to be flown to Berlin for treatment.
Russia dismisses report of spy base in French Alps as "disinformation"
ReutersMoscow Russia dismissed on Wednesday a French newspaper report claiming its spies had operated from a base in the French Alps, saying it was a conspiracy theory aimed at smearing Moscow. Le Monde reported this month that 15 Russian spies had passed through Haute-Savoie region, close to the Swiss and Italian borders. Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attend their summit on Ukraine at the Elysee Palace on December 9, 2019 in Paris, France. Christophe Petit Tesson/Getty"It had the clear aim of damaging the reputation of Russia and discrediting the policy taken by French President Emmanuel Macron to normalise relations with Moscow," it added. The ministry said: "Russia does not have, and never had, any intention of carrying out destabilizing operations in Europe."cbsnews.com
Trump slaps new sanctions on Russia over chemical weapons use
Trump, who signed the executive order Thursday, has been reluctant to impose sanctions against Russia in his efforts to improve relations between Washington and Moscow. Last year, the Trump administration was slow to enact sanctions punishing Russia for interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Once the US determined Russia was behind Skripal's poisoning, the US responded with a first round of sanctions in August 2018 on certain technology under a chemical and biological warfare law. Pressure for the Trump administration to impose sanctions came this week as the House Foreign Affairs Committee's top Democrat and Republican on Monday sent a letter to Trump demanding the administration meet its congressionally-mandated obligations. Trump told reporters Thursday that he had spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin about ways to improve trade and wildfires blazing in Siberia.
Lawmakers call on Trump to implement required Russia sanctions
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The top Democrat and Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday called on President Donald Trump to impose congressionally mandated sanctions on Russia for its poisoning of an ex-spy in the United Kingdom in March 2018. The two said that a failure to do so "is unacceptable and would necessitate that Congress take corrective action." In addition to calling for the imposition of the sanctions, Engel and McCaul also urged Trump to act in concert with our allies and partners to maximize our collective impact." Following the initial sanctions, Russia had 90 days to certify to the US that it is no longer using chemical weapons, and allow inspectors in to prove it -- or it would face a much tougher set of sanctions, that could affecting banking, trade or even diplomatic relations. It has been nearly nine months since that determination, and the second round of sanctions has still not been imposed.