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News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Tens of thousands of Belarusians took to the streets in the latest weekend protest against strongman Alexander Lukashenko's rule. Stringer / AFP

Kamchatka 'catastrophe'

Fears are mounting over an environmental disaster in Russia's Far East after locals shared images of dozens of dead octopuses, sea urchins, crabs and other marine animals from the Pacific Ocean washing up on shore.

Greenpeace said tests conducted on water samples taken from around Khalaktyrsky beach in the Kamchatka region showed petroleum levels four times higher than usual, and phenol levels were also 2.5 times higher.

Karabakh flare-up

Armenian and Azerbaijani forces exchanged heavy rocket and artillery fire as fighting intensified over Nagorno-Karabakh on Saturday and Sunday. 

Each side accused the other of targeting civilian areas, as the conflict widened a week after heavy fighting broke out in the decades-old dispute over the ethnic-Armenian region.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have resisted international calls for a ceasefire and clashes have intensified in recent days, with both sides claiming victories on the front and saying they are inflicting heavy losses.

'For political prisoners'

Belarusian police on Sunday used water cannon to disperse a rally in Minsk as tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in the latest weekend protest against strongman Alexander Lukashenko's rule.

Rights group Viasna said 225 demonstrators were detained in the capital Minsk, as well as other cities including Vitebsk and Gomel, during the marches, which were held in honor of political prisoners.

Solemn tribute

Dozens of Nizhny Novgorod residents marched Saturday and Sunday in memory of Irina Slavina, the editor-in-chief of a local news outlet who died after setting herself on fire outside police headquarters Friday.

Slavina, 47, wrote on Facebook that her death should be blamed on “the Russian Federation.” Her self-immolation came a day after local security forces raided her home in search of evidence of her involvement with the opposition.

Second wave

Russia confirmed 10,499 new Covid-19 cases Sunday, the highest one-day increase since the height of the outbreak in mid-May.

Officials in Moscow, which has imposed remote work measures and extended school holidays starting Monday, are urging residents to follow health guidelines to avoid more restrictions.

AFP contributed reporting to this article.

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