News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Fyodor Malinin / TASS

Burning plane

Forty-one people were killed and 37 survived when a Russian Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet plane made an emergency landing at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport due to fire on board, investigators said.

A criminal case into safety violations leading to multiple deaths was opened and media cited crew members as saying that lightning struck the plane.

Syrian brink

Syrian government forces and their Russian allies pounded the rebel-held northwest with fresh air strikes on the fifth day of a widening campaign that has killed dozens of people and forced thousands to flee Idlib, sources in the area and a war monitor said.

Meanwhile, Turkish and Russian officials are reviewing deployment of their forces in the Syrian border region of Tel Rifaat, Turkey's vice president said a day after cross-border fire from the area killed one Turkish soldier.

Oil cleanup

The Russian Energy Ministry said that clean Russian crude oil meeting all quality requirements had arrived at the Mozyr refinery in Belarus, after contaminated crude led it to halt flows in the pipeline last week.

Belarus state oil company Belneftekhim said it had started receiving new supplies of Russian oil at its pipeline service station and was planning to start refining it on Monday.

Disloyal officials

Belarussian security services have detained two high-level officials on suspicion of receiving bribes from Russian nationals, Belarus’ KGB state security service said amid increasing tensions with Russia.

Sergei Sivovedov, head of the Beltelecom communications operator, was said to have admitted his guilt and is cooperating with the authorities. Andrei Vtyurin, President Alexander Lukashenko’s former head of security and a deputy head of the national security council, has also confessed to a separately reported crime.

Social ID

New rules came into effect requiring social media networks to verify users’ phone numbers with Russian telecommunication providers.

Tech experts say the identification rules apply to Snapchat, Vkontakte and Telegram, all of which are registered with Russia’s list of websites that allow user-generated content. Facebook, WhatsApp, Signal and ICQ are so far exempt from verifying their users’ identity.

Deadly language

The founder of Russia’s online language learning service LinguaLeo, Aynur Abdulnasyrov, has been placed in pre-trial detention for two months on suspicion of stabbing his sister to death.

Investigators allege the 34-year-old entrepreneur killed his 47-year-old sister during an altercation in his home in Russia’s republic of Bashkortostan.

Football champs

Zenit St. Petersburg secured the Russian football championship three games ahead of time after its closest rival Lokomotiv Moscow suffered a 0:2 defeat to Tula Arsenal.

Hip-hop mayhem

At least 20 hip-hop fans have been detained and charged during a music festival at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium amid reports of several hospitalizations and videos showing authorities beating up a number of attendees.

The authorities reportedly launched an inspection into violence against law enforcement officials following reports that two police officers and four national guardsmen were injured.

Lose the booze

A total ban on alcohol sales has been introduced in the Urals region of Kurgan after authorities registered 121 man-made fires and 41 wildfires in 24 hours, killing at least one.

Includes reporting from Reuters.

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