Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to expedite applications for Russian citizenship by Ukrainians living in separatist-held areas.

The decree published on the Kremlin’s website Wednesday says that people living in the parts of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions under separatist control will have their applications considered in under three months.

The move is likely to further exacerbate relations between Ukraine and Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and threw its weight behind separatist rebels in the east.

The decree comes just days after TV comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy was elected as the new Ukrainian president; he will be sworn in next month. Zelenskiy has said his priority for the presidency is to end the war in the east that has claimed more than 15,000 lives.

Source: Fox News World

Russian President Vladimir Putin has watched the launch of a new submarine intended to carry prospective underwater nuclear drones — a doomsday weapon capable of causing a devastating tsunami.

During Tuesday’s visit to a military shipyard in St. Petersburg, Putin viewed the departure of the Belgorod nuclear submarine at the Sevmash plant in Severodvinsk in northwestern Russia via a teleconference.

The navy said the submarine designed to carry Poseidon drones is set to enter service next year.

Poseidon can target coastal areas with a heavy nuclear weapon, causing a devastating tsunami wave. Putin has said its tests have been successful.

He first mentioned the nuclear-powered drone among an array of other new weapons in a state-of-the nation address last year, saying they would render U.S. missile defense systems useless.

Source: Fox News World

Kazakhstan’s ruling party has nominated the interim president to run in the presidential election later this year.

The Nur Otan party on Tuesday voted to nominate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who became acting head of state after the long-time leader Nursultan Nazarbayev abruptly resigned mid-March.

Tokayev, former speaker of the upper house of parliament, was considered a possible successor for Nazarbayev, who ruled Kazakhstan throughout its post-Soviet history, along with Nazarbayev’s elder daughter.

The presidential election is set for June 9.

Source: Fox News World

Preparations are underway for a summit between the leader of North Korea and Russia’s president.

The Kremlin confirmed earlier this month that Kim Jong Un would meet with President Putin before the end of the month but has not named the place or date, citing security concerns.

Russia’s port city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean, in the meantime, is seeing a number of unusually strict security measures.

Maritime authorities said on Tuesday that the waters around Russky Island, the likely summit venue, will be closed for all maritime traffic between Wednesday morning and Friday morning. Separately, local media reported that several platforms at Vladivostok’s main train station will be closed for several days.

Kim, like his father, avoids air travel and is likely to travel to Vladivostok by train.

Source: Fox News World

Results from nearly all polling stations show that TV star Volodymyr Zelenskiy has won the Ukrainian presidential runoff vote in a landslide.

The Central Election Commission says Monday that Zelenskiy has won 73% of the vote while the incumbent President Petro Poroshenko got just 24% support with more than 95% of the ballots counted.

Unlike in most of the elections in Ukraine’s post-Soviet history, Zelenskiy appears to have won both in Ukraine’s west and east, areas that have been traditionally polarized.

One of the campaign slogans of the popular television comedian who has no previous political experience was to unify Ukraine, which has been torn by bitter debates over its identity as well as the separatist conflict in the east that is fueled by neighboring Russia.

Source: Fox News World

Jewish officials say an arson fire was set at the largest yeshiva in Russia as the faithful were gathered there for a Passover meal.

No one was reported injured in the Friday fire at the Torat Chaim school in an eastern Moscow suburb.

Olga Esaulova, a spokeswoman for Moscow’s chief rabbi, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying the fire was set in a storage area for kosher meat and that swastikas were drawn at the yeshiva’s entrance.

There were about 60 students, rabbis and guests in the building at the time, the state news agency RIA-Novosti reported.

Source: Fox News World

The presidents of Russia and Estonia have sat down for talks at the Kremlin for the first time in nearly a decade.

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid arrived in Moscow on Thursday to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin.

Putin told Kaljulaid in opening remarks that the lack of high-level contacts between Russia and Estonia is “not a normal situation” and said that both countries have a lot of issues in common, including environment issues surrounding the Baltic Sea and security.

Estonia, which borders Russia’s northwest and is home to a large Russian-speaking minority, was spooked by Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Estonia has since hosted scores of NATO military drills, aimed to deterring potential Russian aggression.

Source: Fox News World

The Kremlin says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will visit Russia later this month.

It said in a brief statement Thursday that Kim will visit Russia “in the second half of April” on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invitation, but gave no further details.

Russian media have been abuzz in recent days with rumors about the rare meeting between the leaders.

Putin is set to visit China later this month, and some media speculated that he could meet with Kim in Vladivostok, the far eastern port city near the border with North Korea.

Source: Fox News World

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has strongly rejected Israeli media reports claiming that Russian officials have taken the remains of legendary Israeli spy Eli Cohen out of Syria, where he was executed more than five decades ago.

Cohen infiltrated the top echelons of Syria’s leadership in the early 1960s and obtained top-secret intelligence before he was caught and publicly executed in 1965.

Israeli media reported earlier this week that a Russian delegation took Cohen’s remains out of Syria.

The Russian Foreign Ministry put out a statement Wednesday “resolutely refuting” the claim, which it described as a “provocation.” It urged the Israeli media to show a more “accurate, professional and honest approach to coverage of such sensitive issues.”

Source: Fox News World

Residents of a village in Russia’s far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula have been stunned by the sight of a polar bear prowling for food — hundreds of miles away from its usual habitat.

Russian media reported Wednesday that the animal, which looks exhausted, has somehow ended up in the village Tilichiki on Kamchatka, some 700 kilometers (about 430 miles) south of Kamchatka.

Environmentalists say the bear could have lost its bearings while drifting on an ice floe.

Locals are making it feel welcome, giving it some fish.

Authorities in Kamchatka are preparing a rescue effort later this week, in which they will use a sedative to put the bear to sleep and then airlift it to Chukotka in a helicopter.

Source: Fox News World

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