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News From Russia: What You Missed on the Weekend

Vladimir Putin Kremlin Press Service

1) Vladimir Putin has once again managed to surprise friend and foe after footage of the shirtless president vacationing in Siberia and chasing a pike was broadcast on television and widely shared on social media.

2) The director of the Crocus City Oceanarium in Moscow was gunned down in the upmarket suburb of Rublyovka on Aug. 4. The local branch of the Investigative Committee is investigating the crime.

3) After a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was prepared to normalize relations with the United States as soon as Washington “abandons its confrontational line.”

In the meantime, Russia “will continue to respond” to American actions, he said. 

4) A volunteer for opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s campaign to be elected president was physically assaulted by a police officer in the regional city of Kostroma. Seven Navalny volunteers were also detained on Sunday in a separate incident in the Murmansk region for distributing flyers, according to the OVD-Info monitoring website.

5) The family home of American journalist Riley Waggaman in a Moscow suburb was reportedly broken into by a masked assailant. 

6) A pro-Ukrianian farmer in Crimea has been sentenced to three years and seven months in prison by a local court. In 2016, the FSB security services said they had found a large supply of weapons in Vladimir Balukh’s home. Balukh denies the claims, saying authorities only expressed an interest in him after he flew a Ukrainian flag outside his home.

7) Russia is considering retaliatory measures against the European Union after the EU’s decision to impose new sanctions over the illegal transport of Siemens turbines to Crimea. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in an online statement it was “disappointed by the absurd politicization of an issue that in reality represents a business dispute between economic entities.”

8) Two people were injured in the Vladimir region east of Moscow when a pedestrian walkway over a highway collapsed.

9) Former Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak in a state television broadcast said nothing “secret” had been discussed during his meeting with Donald Trump’s former security advisor Michael Flynn. Kislyak said he “had instructions to not discuss sanctions with anyone,” and that he “followed his instructions honestly.”

10) Beachgoers in Sochi were caught off guard by a stream of dark liquid bursting from the sand and pouring into the sea. According to the official account, the liquid was untreated drinking water. 

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