Failed space probe to fall to Earth in days, Russia says
The Phobos-Grunt probe, pictured here on October 18, failed to leave Earth orbit after its November 9 launch.
January 11th, 2012
06:24 PM ET

Failed space probe to fall to Earth in days, Russia says

A Russian probe that was supposed to reach one of Mars' moons but failed to escape Earth orbit is expected to fall to Earth between Saturday and Monday, Russia's space agency said.

It's too early to say where pieces of the unmanned Phobos-Grunt probe could fall. But on Sunday afternoon - the middle of the re-entry window - the nearly 15-ton probe is projected to be over the Indian Ocean, hundreds of miles southwest of Indonesia, the Roscosmos space agency said Wednesday.

Twenty to 30 fragments, weighing a total of up to 440 pounds, could survive the heat of re-entry, Roscosmos said, according to the state-run Ria Novosti news agency.

The craft is carrying 7.5 tons of toxic fuel. That fuel is expected to burn up on re-entry, Ria Novosti reported, citing Roscosmos.

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Filed under: Mars • Russia • Space
December 20th, 2011
09:01 AM ET

Putin registered as candidate for Russian president

Russian election authorities officially registered Prime Minister Vladimir Putin Monday as a candidate for president in next year's election, they announced on their website.

Putin will represent his United Russia party, the Central Election Commission said.

The move is the latest step toward Putin's reclaiming the presidency after switching to the prime minister's office because of a law barring him from serving more than two consecutive terms as president.

Russia's third-richest man, the billionaire New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, announced this month that he will run against Putin for president.

Many ordinary Russians suspect the Kremlin put Prokhorov up to it to give the impression the contest is fair.

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December 15th, 2011
08:24 AM ET

Putin defends election results

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday brushed off widespread criticism that the December 4 parliamentary elections in Russia were falsified.

He said their results "reflect the actual line-up of forces in the country, as well as the fact that the ruling force - the United Russia party - has lost certain positions."

In his traditional year-end question-and-answer program, televised live by state media, he said there is nothing new in the fact that the opposition is not happy with the election outcome.

"That happens every time and will be happening in the future. The opposition always struggles and takes every opportunity to sideline the authorities, to blame them and to highlight their mistakes. It is a totally normal thing."

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Filed under: Russia • World
June 20th, 2011
07:16 PM ET

Russian jet crash kills 44, authorities say

[Updated at 9:12 p.m. ET] At least 44 people died as a result of a Russian jetliner's crash onto a highway outside Petrozavodsk in northwestern Russia late Monday, emergency management officials said.

The jet had 43 passengers and a crew of nine when it took off Monday night from Moscow for Petrozavodsk, about 950 kilometers (600 miles) to the north, Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said.

Ministry spokeswoman Irina Andrianova said survivors, including one child, were taken to hospitals.

Controllers lost contact with the twin-engine Tupolev-134 at about 11:40 p.m. (3:40 p.m. ET), and it crashed onto a highway outside Besovets, near the Petrozavodsk airport, the ministry reported. Andrianova said the jet broke into several pieces and caught fire after the crash, and that nearly 140 rescue workers, doctors and police officers were on the scene.

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Filed under: Air travel • Russia
Gadhafi's nurse back home in Ukraine, shuns media
Galyna Kolotnytska (center) was photographed outside her apartment in Brovary, Ukraine, on Sunday.
February 28th, 2011
11:10 PM ET

Gadhafi's nurse back home in Ukraine, shuns media

A Ukrainian nurse whose employment by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was famously described in a leaked diplomatic cable is trying to avoid the media's glare upon her departure from the North African nation.

Galyna Kolotnytska, who returned to Ukraine over the weekend amid the uprising in Libya, spent Sunday and Monday at her apartment in Brovary, about 15 miles east of Ukraine's capital, Kiev. Footage from Russian TV channels on Monday showed reporters gathered outside, trying but failing to get her to talk to them.

CNN also has attempted to reach her, but her daughter said Kolotnytska is not speaking to reporters.

Kolotnytska gained notoriety in November after WikiLeaks released a cable from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli describing Gadhafi's almost obsessive reliance on her.

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Filed under: Libya • Ukraine • WikiLeaks
Crew error led to Polish plane crash, Russians conclude
Mourners at a makeshift memorial outside the presidential palace in Poland after a plane crash killed the president in April 2010.
January 12th, 2011
08:43 AM ET

Crew error led to Polish plane crash, Russians conclude

The crew was at fault in a Polish plane crash that killed the country's president and nearly 100 other people last April, a Russian-led investigation found Wednesday.

The crew should have decided to divert to another airport in light of "repeated and timely" warnings about bad weather in Smolensk, Russia, the Interstate Aviation Committee concluded.

The presence of a Polish Air Force commander in the cockpit may also have contributed to the crash, the IAC said, noting that he had alcohol in his blood at the time of the crash.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and many top Polish officials died in the crash as they headed to a memorial service to mark a World War II massacre.

The crew of the Polish presidential plane was under psychological pressure to land the plane at Smolensk, fearing Kaczynski would react negatively to a decision to divert the plane, IAC chair Tatyana Anodina said.

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Bad weather disrupts travel, causes power outages across Russia
December 28th, 2010
09:53 AM ET

Bad weather disrupts travel, causes power outages across Russia

Russia's president instructed the country's prosecutor general Tuesday to check the operation of Moscow airports and related companies "to make sure they fully comply with legislation on air transportation and servicing of passengers" who have been stranded since icy rain and snowstorms caused dozens of canceled or delayed flights over the weekend, the Kremlin press office said.

President Dmitry Medvedev stepped in when air traffic disruptions and chaos at Moscow's two largest airports, Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo, became the leading news story in Russia.

Several television networks are filing regular updates from the overcrowded airports, where people whose New Year holiday and vacation plans were destroyed by bad weather are complaining about poor conditions, chaos, lack of information and huge lines. Many have slept on the floor and some claim they didn't receive medical aid that they'd requested. Russian news agencies reported there have been scuffles between frustrated passengers and airport officials.

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Filed under: Air travel • Russia • Travel • Weather
July 7th, 2010
10:22 AM ET

In Russia, talk of swapping jailed scientist for U.S. spy suspect

A Russian researcher convicted of spying for U.S. intelligence services could be exchanged for one of the suspects in the recent Russian spy scandal in the United States, according to a human rights activist who has spoken with the researcher's mother.

Ernst Chyorny, a member of the Public Committee in Defense of Scientists in Russia, told CNN on Wednesday that the mother of Igor Sutyagin, the convicted Russian spy, told him about the development.

Russia convicted Sutyagin in 2004 for spying for the United States. Chyorny said Sutyagin's mother visited her son at Moscow's Lefortovo prison Wednesday morning where he had been transferred from his prison camp in Russia's northern Archangel region.

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May 14th, 2010
09:38 PM ET

Medvedev: Brazilian visit could be last chance for Tehran

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's visit to Iran this weekend could be the last opportunity to reach an agreement with Tehran and to avoid U.N. Security Council sanctions, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Friday.
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May 12th, 2010
10:28 AM ET

Official: U.S.-Russia adoption agreement to be finalized

A draft agreement on international adoptions between the United States and Russia will be finalized by Friday, Moscow's children's rights commissioner said Wednesday.

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April 12th, 2010
07:18 PM ET

Russian judge shot dead in Moscow

A judge in several high-profile cases was gunned down Monday as he walked out of his apartment to go to work, officials said.

Eduard Chuvashov had worked as a judge with Moscow's City Court for two years.

He specialized in handling complicated criminal cases and felonies, said court spokeswoman Anna Usacheva.

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April 8th, 2010
12:44 PM ET

Kyrgyz leader acknowledges coup, but won't abandon job

[Updated at 12:44 p.m.] The United States has closed its embassy in Kyrgyzstan, a senior State Department official said Thursday.

The United States is contemplating moving dependents to Manas Air Base for a few days because of concern about the political violence that has engulfed the central Asian country, the official said.

The U.S. military uses Manas as a supply link for troops in Afghanistan. U.S. closes embassy in Kyrgyzstan

[Updated at 11:02 a.m.] President Kurmanbek Bakiev said it's clear there has been a coup, but emphasized, "I am not abandoning my duties."

"I am prepared to bear responsibility for the tragic events that have happened if it will be proven by an objective and unbiased recognition without hiding behind the presidential immunity. I believe I acted in the way that the constitution required," Bakiev said in his statement, posted on 24.kg, a well-known Kyrgyz Web site. FULL POST

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