News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

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Telegram flashmob

Pavel Durov, founder and CEO of the popular Telegram app, organized a flashmob in support of his embattled messaging service by calling on Russians to fly paper planes — the Telegram logo — from their homes on Sunday.

Durov called the action a “battle for Russia’s digital future” and urged supporters of his so-called “Digital Resistance” to launch paper planes at the same time the following week.

No election guarantees

A top Kremlin official has refused to guarantee that Russia will not interfere in the 2018 U.S. midterms, as Moscow continues to deny meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

“We will not make any unilateral statements and assurances, let alone intend to admit our guilt for certain incidents where Russia is allegedly involved,” the Kommersant business daily quoted Andrei Krutskikh, presidential envoy for international cooperation in information security, as saying.

Stormy weather

A massive storm swept through Moscow and neighboring regions, resulting in the deaths of at least two people.

More than 29,000 homes in 12 Russian regions west of the Urals have experienced power outages, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

Terrorist plot foiled

Russia said on Saturday that it had killed nine militants who had been plotting a terrorist act in the volatile Dagestan region in the south of the country.

Separately, Russia's Federal Security Service said on its website it had killed an Islamic State militant in the neighboring Stavropol region.

Norwegian spy

A Norwegian man suspected by Russia of espionage has admitted to being a courier for Norway's military intelligence, his lawyer said Sunday.

Frode Berg, a retired guard on the Norwegian-Russian border who has been detained since his arrest in Moscow last December, had little knowledge of the operation in which he took part, Berg's Norwegian lawyer Brynjulf Risnes told daily Dagbladet and broadcaster NRK.

Armenian solidarity

Police in Moscow have detained up to 60 Armenians who called for their country’s newly-appointed prime minister to step down.

Some 300 members of the Armenian diaspora gathered outside the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church complex in the Russian capital where they accused Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan of ruling for too long, being too close to Russia, and not rooting out corruption.

Reuters has contributed reporting.

Islamic State is a banned terrorist organization in Russia.

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