This week in Russia

THE RUSSIAN internet watchdog has demanded an explanation from Facebook and Instagram over the blocking of social media accounts belonging to the controversial Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov. Kadyrov has accused the US government of pressuring the social networks to disable his accounts, which he said were blocked last weekend without explanation.

BACK off
THE ROYAL NAVY monitored a Russian warship as it sailed close to Britain’s territorial waters over Christmas, the Ministry of Defence in London said on Tuesday. The Admiral Gorshkov’s passage off the Scottish coast was part of an “upsurge” in Russian naval activity near the British Isles during the festive period, the government added.

NO, thank you
SYRIAN rebel and opposition groups have rejected Russia’s proposed peace talks next month, accusing Moscow of what they called “war crimes” in Syria and failing to put pressure on the Syrian government to end the six-year civil war.

HERE to help
RUSSIA is ready to act as a mediator between North Korea and the United States if both parties are willing for it to play such a role, the Kremlin said on Tuesday. “Russia’s readiness to clear the way for de-escalation is obvious,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a phone call with reporters.

WOMAN blown off balcony
GALE-FORCE WINDS blew a woman off her balcony on the Pacific island of Sakhalin on Boxing Day. The 65-year-old woman from the town of Shakhtyorsk went out for a cigarette on the balcony and was blown off, breaking an arm and three ribs and leaving her with a concussion.

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