Russia

Vladimir Putin confirms Russian military involvement in Syria's civil war

Commenting on reports that Russian combat troops have been deployed to Syria, the Russian president said discussion of direct military intervention is “so far premature,” but did not rule out that such a step could be taken in future.

“To say we're ready to do this today - so far it's premature to talk about this. But we are already giving Syria quite serious help with equipment and training soldiers, with our weapons,” the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency quoted Mr Putin as saying when asked about Russian intervention in Syria during an economic forum in Vladivostok.

US probing if Iranian violated UN sanctions with Russia trip

Power said the travel ban requires all countries deny Maj. Gen. Ghasem Soleimani entry into their borders, and the only exception is if the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against Iran grants an exemption.

"To our knowledge no such exemption was granted, and we would know," Power told reporters Friday. "So these are very concerning reports but we are still, again, tracking down the facts."

3 Russian opposition figures go on hunger strike

Leonid Volkov, campaign chief for the opposition, and candidates Yegor Savin and Sergei Boyko began the strike on Tuesday after the election commission in Russia's third-largest city didn't accept the signatures they submitted to register to run in the upcoming local legislature vote.

VIDEO: Russia trying to intimidate its neighbours - NATO

Speaking in Bucharest on Thursday, Stoltenberg sought to reassure Romania that it can count on NATO for support in the region.

He was in the country inspecting a site where the alliance will open a facility in reaction to the crisis in Ukraine.

Moldovans choose between Russia, Europe in local elections

The key post is for the next mayor of Chisinau, the capital, where pro-European incumbent Dorin Chirtoaca faces pro-Russian challenger Zinaida Greceanai, a former prime minister of the Communist Party.

A low turnout in the city of one million will benefit the 59-year-old Greceanai.

"I hope we will clarify things.... and build something that is certain, definitive, irreversible, for the future of Chisinau and Moldova," Chirtoaca said after voting.

"Residents have a great desire to see deeds and not just statements," said Greceanai.

Putin vows to further strengthen Russian military

     

The Russian leader, whose approval ratings reached an all-time high this month despite a bruising recession, said a "powerful army equipped with modern weapons is the guarantor of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia."

Speaking at Thursday's Kremlin meeting with graduates of Russian military academies, Putin also vowed to continue a sweeping military modernization effort that envisions the purchase of large numbers of new weapons.