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News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Kirill Zykov / Moskva News Agency

Crude deal

OPEC members and key oil producers including Russia agreed to extend historic output cuts through July, as oil prices tentatively recover and coronavirus lockdowns ease.

Under the terms of the April agreement, OPEC and the so-called OPEC+ pledged to cut output by 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) from May 1 until the end of June. The cuts were then to be gradually eased from July, to 7.7 million bpd until December.

Russia will cut its crude production from 561 million metric tons last year to 510-520 million tons in 2020, the energy minister said.

Helping hand

The United States offered to help Russia clean up a vast fuel spill that has fouled an Arctic river in northern Siberia, deemed the worst ecological catastrophe of the sort to ever hit the region. Russia said it was thankful for the offer but noted that it had sufficient resources to handle the crisis.

Russian officials said that the spill was probably caused when long-frozen permafrost under the fuel tank melted and gave way, and ordered a review of infrastructure in vulnerable zones.

Witness protection

Former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia have resettled in New Zealand two years after surviving a poisoning attempt that Britain pins on Russia, The Sunday Times reported.

The Skripals reportedly moved to New Zealand more than a year after living in an MI6 safe house, the British outlet cited unnamed government sources as saying.

Solo picket

Russian journalist and activist Ilya Azar was released after 10 days in detention, his punishment for standing on a solo picket protest.

Andrei Vasilyev / TASS

Azar's arrest last month sparked outrage among his colleagues and friends, some of whom were also detained for picketing in his support. Human rights lawyers said his detention was illegal, as solo picketing is permitted. 

Book fair

Moscow’s annual Red Square Book Fair, one of the few mass gatherings approved by the authorities during Russia's coronavirus outbreak, took place over the weekend.

Alexander Avilov / Moskva News Agency

Attendees barely observed social distancing rules, but market workers sprayed books and shelves with disinfectant, The Associated Press reported.

AFP contributed reporting to this article.

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