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News From Russia: What You Missed Over the Weekend

Tens of thousands of Belarus opposition protesters took to the streets Sunday. Stringer / AFP

Closing skies

The United States on Sunday said it has formally left the post-Cold War Open Skies treaty, which allowed 35 signatories including Russia to monitor rival militaries by flying unarmed surveillance flights over each other’s territory.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in response to Washington’s move that “all options are open to us.”

Tit-for-tat

Russia on Saturday imposed sanctions on 25 British officials, responding to penalties Britain imposed in July against the same number of Russians over human rights violations.

Britain sanctioned 25 Russian officials for their alleged involvement in the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, barring them from traveling to the U.K. and freezing their British assets.

Jamón out

President Vladimir Putin on Saturday extended an embargo on Western food imports introduced in 2014 until the end of 2021, an economic measure that mainly affects EU imports.

Russian authorities have insisted that the sanctions have allowed it to develop its domestic industries including farming, thanks to substantial subsidies.

‘March against fascism’

Tens of thousands of Belarus opposition protesters took to the streets Sunday, the latest large-scale rally against President Alexander Lukashenko's disputed re-election more than three months ago.

Nearly 400 demonstrators were arrested by the police, according to the Viasna human rights center.

Vote of confidence

Putin doubled down on his refusal to congratulate the winner of the U.S. presidential election until the victor is officially confirmed and criticized the country’s electoral system in his first public comments since the Nov. 3 vote.

While Putin cited “problems” in the U.S. electoral system that disqualify Washington from “[pointing] their finger at flaws in other political systems,” he noted that he would work with either elected U.S. leader.

AFP contributed reporting to this article.

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