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Russia digging ditches; heavy rocket launchers near border; Kosovars mourn militants

RFE/RL in the Media
# ThinkProgress cites Vladimir Abarinov's report on forced prison labor in Russia
# Independent cites Joanna Paraszczuk's report on disgruntled would-be suicide bombers

Russia

# How a possible Russian fib made it into Newsweek
# Russia digging ditches to halt inflow of arms and men from Ukraine
# Two Russian officials call on women to work fewer hours to handle domestic issues
# Russia begins huge surprise air force drill on same day as NATO starts Arctic training
Ukraine
# Dnipro soccer club brings something to celebrate to eastern Ukraine
# Video: One beautiful family in Pisky, where the conflict never stopped
# Heavy rocket launchers spotted moving towards Ukraine's border
# McFaul takes subtle dig at Kerry over Crimea (Twitter)
Eastern Europe
# "Reading Lukashenka’s Belarus Without Illusions" - Wojciech Kononczuk and Rafal Sadowski, Carnegie
Balkans
# Thousands of Kosovars mourn Albanian militants killed in Macedonia
# Balkan leaders wary of Macedonia crisis fallout
Middle East
# Iraqi Shi'ite militias say they are in charge of the fight to take back Anbar
# Russia, Iran talks on S-300 missiles end in "success"
# To destroy IS start with "desired end state and work backwards"
Afghanistan/Pakistan
# Insurgents launch late night attack on Kabul guesthouse
# Afghanistan still riled up over spy deal with Pakistan
Caucasus
# Lawmakers who traveled to Azerbaijan urged action benefiting state oil company that funded trip
Central Asia
# Remittances to Tajikistan likely to plunge 40 percent
Of Interest
# The YouTube whisperer and her 87 million views
# French employees may not get 10 weeks of vacation anymore (Financial Times)
# 60 percent of 13 to 34-year-old smartphone users in the U.S. are on Snapchat
# Mobile isn't killing the desktop

Separatist commander assassinated; Amnesty accuses both sides of torture in Ukraine

RFE/RL in the Media
# Moscow Times reports on the RFE/RL Russian Service deleted interview with man who accused Putin of graft
# Reuters cites Rikard Jozwiak's interview with Donald Tusk
# Daily Mail covers Joanna Paraszczuk's report about militant complaining about unfairness in assigning of suicide bombing duties
Russia
# Russia booed at Eurovision, but comes close to winning song contest anyway
# EU and U.S. condemn Russian "undersirables" law signed by Putin; expected to boost media self-censorship
# While Russia grapples with HIV epidemic, Moscow’s addicts share their filthy needles
Ukraine
# Medvedev says Russia will adopt tough position if Ukraine defaults
# Amnesty says torture of prisoners on both sides of the conflict is rife
# Separatist commander assassinated in eastern Ukraine; his final days
# "Kyiv Can Save Donbas by Ditching Crimea" - Vladimir Frolov, Moscow Times
Eastern Europe
# The colonel in charge of countering Russian propaganda in Lithuania
Middle East
# IS claims it can buy a nuclear weapon within a year
# Carter questions Iraq's "will to fight"
# UN: IS burned woman alive for not engaging in extreme sex act
# Iran will allow UN nuclear inspectors to visit military sites, negotiator says
# Q and A with Thomas Erdbrink
Afghanistan/Pakistan
# As Taliban advances, Afghanistan reluctantly recruits militias
# Notes on a month spent embedded in Afghanistan
# NYT on the books that have come out of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars
# Pakistan backs Ghani as the Taliban splinters (meanwhile, Karzai meets Modi in India)
Balkans
# Montenegro and Macedonia votes disqualified from Eurovision
Caucasus
# How Vladimir Putin created America's new hot [Georgian] wine

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