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News From Russia: What you Missed Over the Weekend

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump / Kremlin Press Service

Two sides

While there was no formal meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam on Friday, the two leaders met briefly on the sidelines.

Trump said he asked Putin about U.S. election interference. According to the U.S. president, Putin said Russia "absolutely did not meddle.”

“He did not do what they are saying he did," Trump said. The Kremlin, meanwhile, said Trump didn't bring up election meddling at all.

Olympics ban

Sports journalist Hajo Seppelt said in a video that his channel ARD had been informed that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) would rule Russia “not code compliant” at a meeting scheduled for later this week.

“That means that the Russian anti-doping agency didn’t fulfill the requirements which are necessary to reinstate them,” he said, meaning Russia could be banned from the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Among the reasons are that Russia does not admit responsibility for the alleged state-sponsored doping program and Russia had not given WADA full access to some testing samples, Seppelt said.

Blame Game

The Kremlin said that a formal Trump-Putin meeting didn't take place in Vietnam this weekend due to "atypical" demands made by the United States.

The Americans "did not display flexibility or offer alternative proposals" after their first offer of a time and place did not suit the Russians, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Sunday. 

President's call

President Vladimir Putin on Friday telephoned a representative of an activist group in the Siberian city of Chelyabinsk whose homes have still not been built after they took out mortgages. Putin reportedly instructed the regional governor to investigate delays in housing construction.

Angry chiefs

President Donald Trump's claim that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 presidential elections has angered U.S. intelligence chiefs.

The blowback forced Trump to walk back on his remarks. “I believe that [Putin] feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election," Trump said.

Opposition Victory

 A candidate from the opposition Yabloko party, Yury Pavlov, has won the elections to head the Gdovsky district in the Pskov region in western Russia, with 54.1 percent of the vote.

Expensive bubbly

 A poor grape harvest this year in France is expected to see champagne prices in Russia rise 10 to 15 percent ahead of New Year's celebrations. 

Campaign trail

Opposition leader and presidential hopeful Alexei Navalny held a campaign event in Smolensk in western Russia this weekend.

Navalny has been barred from participating in presidential elections next March due to an embezzlement conviction he claims is politically motivated.

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