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News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Sandzhi Ubushiyev / TASS

Dead or alive?

U.S. President Donald Trump thanked countries including Russia for their roles in an overnight raid led by U.S. military forces in Syria that reportedly killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had no reliable information on what it called “yet another 'elimination' of the former IS leader.”

Donbass transplant

Around 4,000 residents of Russia’s Buddhist-majority republic of Kalmykia took to the streets against the appointment of a new mayor who had once been the leader of a separatist-held region in eastern Ukraine, organizers say.

Police estimated that 650 people attended the unauthorized rally in the Kalmyk capital of Elista. (“The rest are visitors of children’s amusement rides,” they said.)

Sweet home

Russian national Maria Butina, who was jailed in the United States in April after admitting to working as a Russian agent, arrived in Moscow after serving most of her 18-month sentence.

"Russians never surrender," an emotional Butina told reporters at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, flanked by her father and the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman.

Dubrovka vigil

Former hostages and victims’ relatives held a vigil to commemorate the 17th anniversary of Moscow’s Nord-Ost theater hostage crisis.

An estimated 850 people were held hostage at the theater by Chechen rebels on Oct. 26, 2002.Russian special forces stormed the theater after a three-day siege, killing all 41 insurgents. At least 129 hostages also died.

Includes reporting from Reuters.

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