EVENING NEWS ROUNDUP
From RFE/RL's News Desk:
PUTIN ACCUSES UNITED STATES OF 'UNILATERAL DIKTAT'
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of escalating conflicts around the world by imposing what he called a "unilateral diktat."
Putin made the remarks in a combative speech to political experts at the Valdai International Discussion Club, in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.
Putin said the United States has been "fighting against the results of its own policy" in Iraq, Libya and Syria.
He said risks of serious conflicts involving major countries have risen, as well as risks of arms treaties being violated.
He also dismissed international sanctions over Russia's actions in Ukraine as a "mistake," saying they aimed at pushing Russia into isolation and would end up "hurting everyone."
We did not start this," he added, referring to rising tensions between Russia and the West.
(Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, Interfax, TASS)
MERKEL URGES PUTIN TO SOLVE UKRAINIAN GAS DISPUTE
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone call to push for a quick resolution of the ongoing gas dispute with Ukraine as winter looms.
The call by Merkel to Putin on October 24 comes as representatives of the EU, Russia, and Ukraine are due to meet again next week in EU brokered talks aimed at solving the gas dispute between Kyiv and Moscow.
Merkel also underlined that upcoming elections in areas of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists must respect Ukrainian national law.
Pro-Russian insurgent leaders are boycotting a parliamentary snap poll on October 26 in Ukraine and are holding their own election in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions, home to nearly three million people, on the same day instead.
(Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters)
UNHCR SAYS MORE THAN 800,000 DISPLACED IN UKRAINE CONFLICT
The United Nations says the conflict in Ukraine has forced more than 800,000 people from their homes.
Around 95 percent of displaced people come from eastern Ukraine, where government troops have been battling pro-Russian separatists.
UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, told a briefing in Geneva that an estimated 430,000 people were currently displaced within Ukraine -- 170,000 more than at the start of September.
It said at least 387,000 other people have asked for refugee status, temporary asylum, or other forms of residency permits in Russia.
Another 6,600 have applied for asylum in the European Union and 581 in Belarus.
The agency said it was "racing to help some of the most vulnerable displaced people" as winter approaches.
It also said the number of displaced people is expected to rise further due to ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine.
THREE ALLEGED MILITANTS KILLED IN NORTH CAUCASUS
Three alleged militants have been killed by security forces in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region.
Russia's National Antiterrorism Committee says that two suspects were killed in the village of Charoda in Daghestan on October 24 after they refused to leave an apartment and opened fire at police and security troops.
One police officer was wounded.
Also on October 24, police in another North Caucasus region, Kabardino-Balkaria, killed a suspected militant after he refused to identify himself, threw a grenade towards police, and opened fire with a pistol.
A police officer was wounded in that incident.
Violence is common in Russia's North Caucasus region, which includes the restive republics of Daghestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Ingushetia, and Chechnya.
Islamic militants and criminal groups routinely target Russian military personnel and local officials.
(Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS)
MOSCOW LAWYER IN HIGH PROFILE ORGANIZED CRIME CASE KILLED
A lawyer, who represented an alleged victim of the notorious Orekhovo criminal group in Moscow, has been assassinated.
Police in the Russian capital say that Vitaly Moiseyev and his wife were found dead with gunshot wounds in a car near Moscow on October 24.
Moiseyev was representing Sergei Zhurba, an alleged victim of the Orekhovo gang and a key witness in a case against one of the gang's leaders Dmitry Belkin.
Belkin was sentenced to life in prison on October 23 for multiple murders and extortion.
Last month, another of Zhurba's lawyers, Tatyana Akimtseva (eds: a woman), was shot dead by unknown individuals.
The Orekhovo group was one of the most powerful crime gangs of the Moscow region and in Russia in the 1990s. Its members are believed to be responsible for dozens of murders.
(Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax)