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Archive for Russia

Newsline: DC could rename street outside Russian embassy after Putin opponent

Local officials in Washington, D.C., are considering renaming the street in front of the Russian Embassy after a prominent political opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin who was assassinated in 2015. The block of Wisconsin Avenue in northwest would be renamed “Boris Nemtsov Plaza” if the legislation passes. Councilmember Mary M. Cheh (D), whose council ward jurisdiction includes the Russian embassy, rolled out the legislation to rename the street, telling The Washington Post in an article published Tuesday that it was important for the U.S. to honor Russia’s democracy movement. “The man was assassinated, and he was someone fighting for democracy in Russia, and he is a hero,” Cheh told the publication, adding, “But, of course, he is not being treated as a hero in Russia.” Cheh is not the first public official to call on renaming the street after Boris Nemtsov. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced legislation in February that was aimed at renaming the road, but it has not made headway in Congress’s upper chamber.



Newsline: Russian embassy in Damascus comes under fire

Russia’s embassy in Damascus came under mortar shelling from terrorists’ positions. No one was hurt. The building’s wall, electricity lines and water supplies systems were damaged, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday. “In a mortar shelling of Damascus conducted from terrorists’ positions at about 10:35 local time on November 20, a shell hit the outer fence of the Russian embassy to Syria, which is located close to its dwelling compound,” the ministry said, adding that the 122mm mine damaged the building’s wall, electricity lines and the water supplies system. “No one from among the embassy’s employees was hurt,” the ministry said. Moscow expects that Western countries at the UN Security Council will give proper evaluation of the incident. “We hope that our so active on the Syrian trajectory Western colleagues in the UN Security Council will have the heart not to keep silent but to give proper public evaluation of the incident in which the lives of Russian diplomats were jeopardized,” the ministry said.


Newsline: Russian embassy in UK slams ‘unfounded accusations’ of alleged Brexit interference

The Russian embassy in the UK has responded to London’s accusations of Moscow’s alleged meddling in other states’ affairs. In a foreign policy speech on Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of aggressive policies “to sow discord in the West,” but a day later said that her accusations were not related to the UK. “We asked relevant universities… to send us the source materials,” the Russian embassy’s spokesperson said. “We absolutely do not accept unfounded accusations, which, by the way, lead to a loss of confidence in London also on the part of foreign partners.”


Newsline: US says Russian security firm duly screened to guard embassy

The U.S. State Department said Wednesday it has duly screened a Russian private security firm contracted to help guard the U.S. Embassy in Moscow amid reports that it was founded by a former KGB spy. The State Department said Wednesday it had “vetted the company and the name of each individual identified or associated with Elite Security with relevant national and local agencies.” A U.S. state procurement website indicated that September’s contract was worth $2.8 million. The State Department’s statement follows a report in the Russian business daily Kommersant, which said Elite Security was founded by ex-KGB spy Viktor Budanov and is currently run by his son.


Newsline: US embassy hires security firm of former Russian spy

The US embassy in Moscow is to be guarded by a company owned by a former head of KGB counter-intelligence who worked with British double agent Kim Philby and young Vladimir Putin, after cuts to US staff demanded by Russia. Elite Security Holdings was awarded a $2.83 million contract to provide “local guard services for US mission Russia,” which includes the Moscow embassy and consulates in St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok, according to a post on a US state procurement website.


Newsline: US embassy confirms consulates resume processing nonimmigrant visa cases in Russia

All US consulates in Russia have resumed processing nonimmigrant visa cases that do not require interviews, Spokesperson at the US embassy in Moscow Maria Olson told TASS. “We resumed limited nonimmigrant services on September 1 in Moscow, and the three consulates resumed processing nonimmigrant visa cases that do not require interviews,” she said. “Unfortunately, we cannot process as many visas with our reduced staffing,” Olson added. US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman earlier pledged to do everything to promote people to people ties between the two countries despite difficulties surrounding the issuance of US visas to Russians. Following Moscow’s proposal that the US diplomatic staff in Russia be reduced, the US embassy suspended nonimmigrant visa operations across Russia. On September 1, visa operations resumed, but only in Moscow. Nonimmigrant visa interviews at the US consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok remain suspended.


Newsline: Russian Embassy Slams US for Denying Access to Diplomatic Archives

The Embassy of the Russian Federation in the United States has slammed US officials for packing and transferring the diplomatic archives from the closed Consulate General in San Francisco without the oversight of Russian diplomats. “By taking these actions, the United States has once again violated the key provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and bilateral consular convention,” the Russian Embassy said in a statement. The Embassy stressed that all consular archives and documents should not be dishonored regardless of the circumstances and irrespective of their location. Washington transferred the archive to the Embassy on October 23, but did not permit Russian diplomats to enter the building and pack the documents. Moscow perceived this step as disregard for international law and the Russian diplomatic mission, which enables Moscow to take retaliatory measures, the Embassy noted. According to US officials, the decision to close the Russian missions came as a response to Russia deciding in July to reduce the number of US diplomatic staff in the country to 455 people, which is the same number as that of the Russian diplomatic personnel in the United States. After Russian diplomats left the diplomatic compounds, US security agents entered the premises to conduct searches. Moscow condemned the actions as a violation of international law, including the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.