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News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Fans of Russia’s top football clubs staged mass walkouts at seven games over the arrests of Spartak Moscow fans last week. Roman Kulguskin / Moskva News Agency

No to occupation 

Several hundred people gathered in Minsk on Saturday, chanting "No to occupation" as Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko met Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss an integration road map for the two countries.

Kremlin.ru

Belarus’ opposition sees the move as dangerous because they view the integration as a loss of independence to Moscow.

No to capitulation

Thousands of people gathered in the center of Kiev on Sunday to send a message to Ukraine's president that Ukrainians will not accept a peace deal at the cost of the country's independence and sovereignty.

Presidents Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Vladimir Putin are meeting in Paris alongside the leaders of France and Germany Monday in a renewed effort to end a conflict between Ukrainian troops and Russia-backed forces in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014.

Moscow case

A court in Moscow on Friday handed protesters Yegor Lesnykh and Maxim Martintsov prison terms of three and two-and-a-half years, respectively. A third protester, Vladimir Yemelyanov, was given a suspended sentence of two years.

Maxim Martintsov and Yegor Lesnykh Gavriil Grigorov / TASS

The Meshchansky District Court found them guilty of assaulting an anti-riot police officer during unauthorized anti-government rallies on July 27.

Love is dead

A plaque to “Andrey Kostin” from a “Nailya” has been dismantled from a Central Park bench in New York after Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s investigation into properties owned by state journalist Nailya Asker-Zade, who is alleged to be state bank VTB CEO Andrei Kostin’s romantic partner.

VTB Leasing said it had sold the business jets, which Navalny mentioned in his video investigations, over sanctions risks in 2017. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s spokesman dismissed the investigation which linked VTB with jets allegedly flown by his wife Svetlana Medvedeva as unproven.

Mass walkouts

Fans of Russia’s top football clubs staged mass walkouts at seven games over the arrests of Spartak Moscow fans last week amid renewed efforts to crack down on hooliganism.

Roman Kulguskin / Moskva News Agency

Police targeted the fans in St. Petersburg a month after Russian fans chanted insults at Russian national team captain and striker for Spartak’s rival Zenit, Artyom Dzyuba.

Chipping away

Almost half of American military households (46%) viewed Russia as an ally, according to an October Reagan National Defense survey’s results cited by the Voice of America news outlet.

“There is an effort, on the part of Russia, to flood the media with disinformation to sow doubt and confusion,” VOA quoted Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Carla Gleason as saying.

The general population’s view of Russia has also grown more favorable, increasing from 19% last year to 28% in 2019.

Includes reporting from Reuters.

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