Maria Alyokhina, a member of Russian punk band Pussy Riot who was serving a two-year jail term for her part in a performance critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been released from prison.
Alyokhina's release from a prison in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia was confirmed by Pyotr Verzilov, the husband of fellow band member, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.
Tolokonnikova, who is also imprisoned, is expected to be released later Monday, Verzilov said.
As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sits down with his Russian counterpart Friday for a second day of talks about a possible diplomatic solution on Syria, he faces a proverbial standoff with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
Imagine two men facing one another holding guns. One says: You drop yours first, then I'll drop mine. The second answers: No, you drop yours first.
Al-Assad demanded on Thursday that the United States call off any potential strike on Syrian government forces before he gives up his large chemical weapons arsenal.
But Kerry made it clear that the threat of a U.S. military strike remains on the table, if Syria does not hand over its stockpiles.
Not long after the United States said it will start arming Syrian rebels, Syria's longtime ally Russia fired back by saying the move supports those "who kill their enemies and eat their organs."
The latest dispute sets a riveting backdrop to the Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland on Monday, where the Syrian civil war will likely top the agenda among eight of the world's most powerful countries.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama will meet one-on-one to discuss the war that has now killed more than 92,000 people - including thousands of children.FULL STORY