International Meeting Endorses Syria Opposition Coalition
The declaration issued at the Friends of Syria meeting in Marrakesh on December 12 calls the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces the sole representative of Syria's people.
The statement also says that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "has lost legitimacy" to rule Syria.
U.S. President Barack Obama on December 11 announced Washington will recognize Syria's opposition coalition, which he said was "inclusive enough" and deserved international recognition.
In response, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the U.S. move contradicted an earlier agreement to seek political transition in the Arab country.
Lavrov said he was "surprised" by Washington's decision to designate the newly formed opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
At a Moscow news conference on December 12, Lavrov said the move suggested the United States had "placed all bets on the armed victory" of the coalition over the Assad government.
Obama announced the decision in a televised interview.
"We've made a decision that the Syrian opposition coalition is now inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough of the Syrian population, that we consider them the legitimate representative of the Syrian people," he told ABC News.
Obama said the United States expected the opposition coalition to act responsibly and commit itself to respecting the rights of Syrian women and minorities.
In Moscow on December 11, Lavrov said the recognition of the opposition coalition contradicted an international agreement reached in Geneva in June that called for a transitional government to defuse the 20-month conflict.
Russia is a longtime Syrian ally and has been accused by Western powers of shielding Assad's regime.
The National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces was formed last month as a broad-based coalition against Assad. It has already been recognized as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people by Britain, France, and several Arab states.
More than 40,000 people are estimated to have been killed since the uprising against Assad began in March 2011.
The UN refugee agency said this week that more than 500,000 Syrians have been registered or are in the process of registering as refugees in neighboring countries. The agency says at least 250,000 more Syrians are reported to have left their country but have no claimed refugee status or asked for assistance.
With reporting by Reuters, dpa, AFP, ITAR-TASS, and Interfax
COP28 Summit Approves Proposal To Hold COP29 In Azerbaijan
The COP28 climate summit in Dubai on December 11 approved a proposal to hold the next iteration of the annual event in the South Caucasus nation of Azerbaijan. The country won support of Eastern European nations on December 9 following months of deadlock and after it reached agreement with neighbor and adversary Armenia that it would not veto the move.
Russian Foreign Ministry Summons Danish Ambassador Over His Statements In Media
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on December 11 that it summoned the Danish ambassador to Moscow, Jacob Henningsen, over his statements in the Danish media on the operations of foreign companies in Russia. The statement called Henningsen's unspecified statements "provocative." Hundreds of foreign companies have left the Russian market amid Western sanctions imposed on Russia over Moscow's ongoing unprovoked invasion of Ukraine launched in February 2022.
Polish Truckers Lift Blockade At Ukraine Border Crossing
A border crossing between Poland and Ukraine was reopened on December 11 after Polish truckers lifted their blockade and allowed the resumption of heavy traffic between the two countries, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said. "From 2 p.m. (Ukraine time), regular traffic has been restored" at the Yahodyn-Dorohusk border crossing," Kubrakov wrote on Facebook. Ukrainian Ambassador to Poland Vasyl Zvarych confirmed the information to RFE/RL. Polish truckers blocked the main land access points into Ukraine last month in protest at the European Union's relaxing some transport rules for Ukrainian trucks to access the bloc. To read the original story by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, click here.
Russian Court Orders Arrest Of Father Whose Daughter Carried Out Deadly School Shooting
A court in the Russian city of Bryansk, some 885 kilometers southwest of Moscow, ordered the arrest of Dmitry Afanaskin on December 10 on a charge of negligently keeping a firearm after his 14-year-old daughter shot a classmate and herself dead at school last week with his shotgun. The court also ordered the arrest of the school’s deputy principal, Larisa Katolikova, on a negligence charge. Earlier, the court ordered the arrest Sergei Poddubny, the director of the company that was responsible for the school's security, and one of his employees, Galina Chertkova. Five other people were wounded in the attack. To read the original story by Current Time, click here.
Imprisoned Uzbek Blogger Transferred To Colony Settlement
Tashkent-based human rights defender Abdurahmon Tashanov said on December 10 that blogger Otabek Sattoriy, who was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison in May 2021 on charges of extortion and slander, has been transferred from a penal colony to a colony settlement -- a dormitory-like penitentiary located near an industrial facility where convicts work alongside regular employees. Human rights organizations have called on the Uzbek government to release Sattoriy, saying the case against him was politically motivated. Uzbek officials rejected the criticism, saying that Sattoriy’s arrest and conviction were lawful. To read the original story by RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, click here.
Austria Makes Conditional Schengen Offer To Bulgaria And Romania
Austria, which has led opposition within the European Union to Romania and Bulgaria joining the Schengen open-travel area, said on December 11 that it was willing to relent but only on plane travel and in exchange for tighter security at the EU's external border. At a meeting of the bloc's interior ministers a year ago, at which the two eastern European countries had hoped to get the green light to join the world's largest free-travel area, Austria said illegal immigration was still too high and Romania and Bulgaria needed to do more to prevent it before joining.
One Dead, Three Wounded In Russian Shelling of Kherson Region
A man was killed and three other people were wounded by Russian shelling of Ukraine's southern city of Kherson, the regional prosecutor's office reported on Telegram. "On December 11 in the afternoon, Russian forces shelled a Kherson suburban community," the prosecutor's office said, adding that a private house was hit. "The rescuers saved a wounded woman from under the rubble and retrieved the body of a man," the message said. Two other men were wounded by Russian shelling in Kherson city. To read the original story by RF/RL's Ukrainian Service, click here.
Regulation Takes Force In Russia Obliging Those Barred From Traveling Abroad To Surrender Their Passports
A regulation obliging Russian citizens barred from traveling abroad, including people officially summoned to military service, to hand over their passports to official entities came into force on December 11. According to the law, adopted by the government on November 22, passports must be handed to state bodies within five days of their holders being officially barred from traveling to a foreign country. Travel documents that are not handed over to the state on time will be invalidated, the regulation says. The passports will be returned to their owners after the ban is lifted. To read the original story by RFE/RL's Russian Service, click here.
Extreme Cold Snap In Siberia Causes Power Cuts
Extreme cold has caused electricity outages in several of Russia's several Siberian regions. A number of cities saw temperatures fall to minus 40 degrees Celsius, while in the region of Yakutia, temperatures went as low as minus 60 degrees. In the region of Krasnoyarsk Krai, one person who used a gas-engine generator died of carbon monoxide poisoning. In the Irkutsk region, several towns and villages, including several streets in the regional capital, Irkutsk, were cut off for electricity over the weekend. Two other Siberian regions, Khakassia and Tyumen, have faced similar problems due to the extreme cold. To read the original story by RFE/RL's Siberia.Realities, click here and here
Zelenskiy Heading To Washington To Plead For Continued War Aid Amid Republican Opposition In Congress
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is heading to Washington after a visit to Argentina as he continues to make his case for continued support as Kyiv braces for a second difficult winter of war with invading Russian forces.
U.S. President Joe Biden invited Zelenskiy to Washington to reaffirm his administration's backing of Ukraine amid a dispute with Republicans in Congress who are blocking tens of billions of dollars in much-needed military and economic aid for the embattled country.
Zelenskiy attended the swearing-in of Argentina’s new president, Javier Milei, on December 10 in his first official trip to Latin America where he hoped to drum up support among developing nations.
As Zelenskiy prepares to make the case for deblocking the aid package in the United States, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on December 11 arrived in Brussels, where an EU summit on December 15 will decide whether to launch membership negotiations with Kyiv and also give it 50 billion euros ($53.8 billion) in economic aid.
Biden will receive Zelenskiy at the White House on December 12, spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said, and the Ukrainian leader will also address U.S. senators and meet with the new Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson.
“As Russia ramps up its missile and drone strikes against Ukraine, the leaders will discuss Ukraine’s urgent needs and the vital importance of the United States’ continued support at this critical moment,” Jean-Pierre said.
Zelenskiy’s office said the Ukrainian leader would hold a "series of meetings and discussions" focusing on defense cooperation between Washington and Kyiv, "particularly through joint projects on the production of weapons and air defense systems, as well as the coordination of efforts between our countries in the coming year."
Zelenskiy's visit comes after he canceled a video address to U.S. senators on December 5 as debate heated up on Biden’s nearly $106 billion request for funding for the wars in Ukraine and Israel.
The Biden administration asked Congress in October to pass the aid package, which would cover not only aid for Ukraine and Israel but also border security, but the Republican-controlled House rejected the request.
The planned Washington visit would follow Zelenskiy’s first trip to Latin America, where he thanked regional leaders on December 10 for their support of his country in its battle against the full-scale Russian invasion and the “fight for freedom and democracy.”
While in Argentina for the inauguration of new President Javier Milei, Zelenskiy met briefly with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in a bid to resolve differences over Ukraine's bid for European Union membership.
Orban has maintained close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his nationalist government has argued against EU sanctions on Moscow over its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Orban last week reportedly sent a letter to European Council President Charles Michel to demand that Ukraine's membership in the bloc be taken off the agenda at an EU summit next week.
Despite Zelenskiy's short meeting with Orban in Argentina, Hungarian Foreign Minister's Peter Szijjarto on December 11 said Budapest would not give in to "blackmail" and will not change its position.
"We continue to make our decisions in accordance with European and national interests and do not allow any kind of pressure, irrespective of who or where it comes from, or whether it's blackmail or promises," Szijjarto said on Facebook.
Kuleba on December 11 warned of "devastating" repercussions for Ukraine and the EU if the bloc does not agree on green-lighting the start of admission talks with Ukraine.
"I cannot imagine, I don't even want to talk about the devastating consequences that will occur shall the (European) Council fail to make this decision," Kuleba said ahead of the EU foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.
Kuleba said that Kyiv was “still struggling to understand these harsh statements from Hungary” and added that Ukraine implemented all the systemic judicial and education reforms that the bloc required for the start of accession talks.
"We did our homework," Kuleba said. "We expect the European Union to do its homework."
With reporting by Reuters
Residential Building Collapses In North Kazakhstan, Rescue Teams Look For Survivors
A one-story residential building collapsed in Kazakhstan’s northern city of Qostanai on December 11 amid fears that seven people may be trapped under the debris. Local emergency officials say the building, which included several apartments, collapsed following a blast that might have been caused by a gas leak. Rescue brigades are working at the site. Gas explosions occur frequently across the former Soviet Union due to aging pipelines and infrastructure, as well as lax safety standards. The situation is especially dangerous when people use natural gas devices to help with heating in cold winters. To read the original story by RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, click here.
Russia's Imprisoned Former 'Aluminum King' Gets Additional Prison Term For 1998 Murder Case
A court in Siberia on December 11 sentenced imprisoned businessman Anatoly Bykov to 12 years in prison for his involvement in ordering the assassination of a crime boss in 1998. Bykov is already serving a 17-year prison term for being involved in the murders of three people in 1994 and 2005. The court ruled that all the sentences will to some extent be served concurrently, putting his total prison time at 20 years. Bykov, who once co-owned the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant and was a regional lawmaker, had the nickname Russia's Aluminum King. He rejects all the charges, calling them politically motivated. To read the original story by RFE/RL's Russian Service, click here.
Navalny Transferred To New Facility, Whereabouts Unknown, Aide Says
Almost a week after being held incommunicado, imprisoned Russian opposition politician and Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny has been transferred to an unspecified site, according to one of his aides.
Kyra Yarmysh, Navalny's press secretary, wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on December 11 that one of Navalny's lawyers was informed at the IK-6 penal colony in the Vladimir region that his client "is no longer on their list of inmates."
"They refuse to say where [Navalny] was transferred to," Yarmysh added in the post.
Earlier in the day, Yarmysh said Navalny has been held incommunicado for almost a week, while his lawyers have not been allowed to meet with him in the penal colony.
Navalny is serving a total of 19 years in prison on extremism and other charges that he rejects as politically motivated.
His transfer to a harsher "special regime" facility was seen as a possibility when he had his sentence increased to 19 years in August after being found guilty of creating an extremist organization.
The move comes just days after Navalny's team launched a billboard campaign asking Russians to vote against President Vladimir Putin, who on December 8 said he would run in a March 17 presidential election.
Navalny's Anticorruption Foundation (FBK) paid for the billboards putting the messages "Russia" and "Happy New Year" on them. A QR code was also printed on the signs, and they led to a website titled Russia Without Putin, which encouraged voters not to cast ballots for Putin. Less than a day later, billboards with QR codes were outlawed.
Yarmysh, and another of Navalny's associates, Ruslan Shavetdinov, said earlier that Navalny felt extremely unwell in his cell in late November and early December after prison guards deprived him of food and fresh air, keeping him in solitary confinement and limiting his walks outside the cell.
Navalny's current isolation from the outside world coincided with a campaign his team launched on December 7 against Putin. That day, the Russian parliament's upper chamber, the Federation Council, set March 17, 2024, as the date for a presidential election.
Putin, who has led the country as a prime minister or president since 1999, is eligible to take part in two more presidential elections due to constitutional amendments introduced in 2020. He is expected to easily win the poll.
Navalny's previous sentence was handed down in 2021 after he arrived in Moscow from Germany, where he had been recovering from a poisoning attack he blamed on the Kremlin, which the Kremlin denied.
He was Russia's loudest opposition voice and galvanized huge anti-government rallies before he was jailed.
Three of Navalny's former lawyers -- Vadim Kobzev, Igor Sergunin, and Aleksei Lipster -- were taken into custody in October and charged with taking part an extremist group's activities because of their association with Navalny and his anti-corruption foundation.
Ukrainian Children Who Are Being Educated 'In Hiding' Risk Reprisals In Russian-Occupied Regions, Says Amnesty International
Parents in Russian-occupied territories who continue their children's education in the Ukrainian language face the risk of having their kids taken away and given up for adoption in Russia or sent to "reeducation" schools that teach in Russian, Amnesty International says.
In a study titled Ukraine: Children’s Education Is One More Casualty Of Russian Aggression, which was published on December 11, Amnesty says that besides the tragic loss of life and widespread destruction resulting from Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the systemic violations of the right of children to an education are an additional consequence Ukrainians have faced.
Russian forces still occupy some 20 percent of Ukraine's territory, and despite the risks of reprisals, some parents who live under Moscow's occupation have resorted to schooling their children "in hiding" under the Ukrainian curriculum.
“Amnesty International has obtained evidence from 23 education workers and 16 families with school-age children who were, or still are, living under Russian occupation, and documented how Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has led to significant and widespread interruptions of education in Ukraine," Amnesty regional researcher Anna Wright said about the study.
"In the Russian-occupied territories, intimidation and coercion are a daily reality for families, children, and teaching staff. No one is safe under Russia’s endless campaign of terror in Ukraine” Wright said.
The study quotes a Ukrainian education official as saying that children, parents, and teachers have become “partisans digging holes in their gardens to hide laptops and mobile phones or hiding in the attics and old sheds to catch the mobile [phone] signal.”
Those interviewed told Amnesty that Russian troops regularly patrol the streets and often conduct random searches, and those found in possession of teaching materials in Ukrainian or electronic devices that can be used for online learning risk being detained and having their children taken away.
Some parents, like a mother of two whose real name was changed to "Polina" for fear of reprisals, have chosen to stop their children's education altogether. Polina's children had been outside of their house only a few times during the first nine months of Russian occupation for fear of them being abducted and taken to Russia, she said.
Another mother, from an occupied village in the occupied Kherson region, told Amnesty that Russian troops came and told her that unless she sends her 15-year-old son to school the next day, he will be taken "to an orphanage in Russia." When the boy returned to school, he found it redecorated with Russian symbols and guarded by Russian soldiers.
Teachers who refuse to return to teach in schools in Russian-occupied areas are either going into hiding or fleeing.
A teacher from occupied Berdyansk in the Zaporizhzhya region told Amnesty that children are forced to study in Russian and sing the Russian national anthem under the threat of being sent away for “re-education in Russian orphanages.” The teacher left and now gives online lessons to children from occupied territories from somewhere else in free Ukraine.
Some parents have enrolled their children in secret online learning courses despite the risks of being caught and facing grave consequences.
A father from Berdyansk told Amnesty that, in order to allow his son to study in a Ukrainian school online in the afternoons, he goes on a watch outside while his wife stands by the window. If he gives her a signal that someone is approaching the house, the mother and the son will erase any evidence of online learning and hide the laptop.
“The only way to help Ukraine heal and to make Ukrainian children’s present and future less painful, is for Russia to end the war in Ukraine, which is an act of aggression under international law,” said Wright.
“During war or occupation, all parties remain bound by international humanitarian and human rights law. Ensuring children’s right to access to quality education is one such duty, and it must be fully respected,” she said.
Russian Police Raid Gay Club In Yekaterinburg
Russian police have raided a gay club in Yekaterinburg, detaining more than 100 people who were attending a party in the city in Russia's Urals region. Authorities said the raid was prompted by reports from “concerned citizens” that the club was selling illicit alcohol and tobacco products. Several liters of illegal alcohol products were allegedly confiscated. Those detained were eventually released after their documents were checked, social media reports said. The raid came after Russia's Supreme Court last month declared "the international LGBT social movement" -- which legally does not exist -- as extremist and banned all its activities effective immediately. To read the original story by RFE/RL's Russian Service, click here.
Several Wounded As Ukraine Repels Russian Missile Attack On Kyiv
Ukrainian air defenses repelled a missile attack on the capital, Kyiv, and its surroundings in which at least four people were wounded, the military and officials said. Eight cruise missiles were downed over Kyiv on December 11, the Ukrainian Air Force said, while the capital's military administration said falling debris wounded four residents of Kyiv's southeastern neighborhood of Bortnychiy. Eighteen drones were also shot down over Ukraine, the military said, adding that most of them had targeted the southern region of Mykolayiv. To read the original stories by RFE/RL Ukrainian Service, click here and here.
Draft COP28 Text Proposes Azerbaijan Host Next Summit In 2024
A draft text published on December 10 proposed that next year's COP29 climate summit be hosted by Azerbaijan from November 11-22. The text will need to be adopted by the summit before it becomes official, but it is in line with expectations after Azerbaijan won backing from Eastern European countries on December 9. The text also proposed dates for COP30 in Brazil of November 10-21, 2025.
Top Swedish General Visits Front Lines In Ukraine
The commander in chief of the Swedish armed forces, General Micael Byden, has visited the front in eastern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian media reports. He inspected positions of the 45th Independent Artillery Brigade and spoke with soldiers, according to a video of the unit shared by Ukrainian media on December 10. The brigade was equipped with Swedish Archer mobile artillery pieces in the autumn. Byden promised the Ukrainians further support. Sweden has traditionally followed a policy of neutrality, but following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the country changed course and is now seeking to join the NATO alliance.
Netanyahu Speaks To Putin, Voices Disapproval Of Iran Ties
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 10 and voiced displeasure with "anti-Israel positions" taken by Moscow's envoys at the UN, an Israeli statement said. Russia backed a UN Security Council resolution for a Gaza truce, which was vetoed by the United States on December 8. Speaking to Putin, Netanyahu also voiced "robust disapproval" of Russia's "dangerous" cooperation with Iran, the Israeli statement said. The Kremlin said Russia was ready to give all possible assistance to alleviate the suffering of civilians and de-escalate the conflict.
Borrell Demands Iran Release Swedish EU Employee As Trial Begins On Spying Accusation
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has demanded Iran immediately release Swedish EU employee Johan Floderus, who is facing trial in Tehran on charges of spying for Israel, accusations the bloc and his family have vehemently denied. Floderus was detained in April 2022 while visiting Iran, his family said. Borrell on December 10 said that "there are absolutely no grounds for keeping Johan Floderus in detention." Sweden's foreign minister said Floderus's trial began on December 9. Floderus works for the EU's diplomatic service responsible for Afghanistan, but it wasn't immediately clear if he holds diplomatic status. To read the original story by RFE/RL's Radio Farda, click here.
Mohammadi Blasts Iran's 'Despotic' Regime In Smuggled Nobel Acceptance Speech
The teenage children of imprisoned Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi accepted the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize for their mother at a ceremony in Oslo on December 10, delivering a speech in which she blasted the "despotic" regime in Tehran.
Twins Ali and Kiana, 17, who have lived in exile in France the past eight years, read the speech their mother had managed to smuggle out of Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, where she has been held since 2021.
The Nobel Committee released a video of the twins' acceptance of the award.
Renowned globally as a staunch advocate for the Women, Life, Freedom movement, Mohammadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on October 6.
The Nobel awards are each endowed with 11 million Swedish kronors (just more than $1 million).
For years, Mohammadi has voiced dissent against the obligatory hijab rule imposed on Iranian women, as well as restrictions on women's freedoms and rights in the country by its Islamic regime.
In the speech read by her children -- who were standing next to an empty chair -- Mohammadi said, "I write this message from behind the high, cold walls of a prison."
"I am an Iranian woman, a proud and honorable contributor to civilization, who is currently under the oppression of a despotic religious government," she said.
"I am a woman prisoner who, in enduring deep and soul-crushing suffering resulting from the lack of freedom, equality, and democracy, has recognized the necessity of her existence and has found faith."
Her message stated that "the Islamic republic regime is at the lowest level of popular legitimacy and this government has responded to people's demands by suppression, execution, slaughter, and imprisonment."
On December 9, Mohammadi announced on the Instagram page that friends abroad maintain for her that she had gone on a three-day hunger strike.
Rights groups in the past have expressed concern about her health in the notorious prison.
With reporting by dpa
Russian Military Police In Armenia Detain Deserter Who Refused To Fight In Ukraine
A Russian conscript soldier who reportedly refused to take part in fighting in Ukraine has been arrested by Russian military police in Armenia. Dmitry Setrakov, who is said to have fled to Armenia sometime after Russia launched its unprovoked aggression against Ukraine in February 2022, was transferred to a Russian military base in the northwestern Armenian town of Gyumri, where several thousand Russian troops are stationed. A criminal case has been launched against him for leaving his unit without permission. To read the original story by RFE/RL's Armenian Service, click here.
Serbia Launches Interconnector To Gas Pipeline In Bulgaria
Serbia on December 10 completed the interconnector to a pipeline in Bulgaria that would allow the Balkan country to diversify its gas supplies and reduce its dependence on Russia. The launch of the interconnector will make operational the pipeline from the town of Novi Iskar in Bulgaria to the Serbian city of Nis, allowing Belgrade to access gas from Azerbaijan and the LNG terminal in the Greek port of Alexandroupolis. The capacity of the pipeline on the Serbian side is 1.8 billion cubic meters a year, which accounts for 60 percent of the country's annual gas needs.
Iran, Saudi Arabia To Negotiate On Direct Scheduled Flights
Iran and Saudi Arabia will start formal talks next week to resume direct scheduled flights between Tehran and Riyadh and other cities, an Iranian official told the state-affiliated news agency ILNA on December 10. Regular flights would be another step toward restoring ties between the two Middle Eastern rivals. A Chinese-mediated agreement in March restored diplomatic relations after years of tensions that threatened the security of the entire region and fuelled conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.
Russian Activists Protest Crackdown On Journalists, Including RFE/RL's Detained Kurmasheva
KAZAN, Russia -- Activists on December 10 protested against the crackdown inside Russia on independent journalists, including Alsu Kurmasheva, a veteran journalist of RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service who has been held in Russian custody since October 18.
Protesters in Kazan held placards including, "Alsu Kurmasheva is a journalist, not a criminal," and "No one should die for the right to tell the truth," before security forces moved in and removed any signs mentioning the detained RFE/RL journalist.
Kurmasheva, a Prague, Czech Republic-based journalist with RFE/RL who holds dual U.S. and Russian citizenship, traveled to Russia for a family emergency in May.
She was temporarily detained while waiting for her return flight on June 2 at the airport in Kazan, the capital of the Tatarstan region, where both of her passports were confiscated. She was not able to leave Russia as she awaited the return of her travel documents.
Kurmasheva was fined 10,000 rubles ($103) on October 11 for failing to register her U.S. passport with the Russian authorities, according to local media reports based on court documents they'd seen.
Kurmasheva was detained again on October 18 and this time charged with failing to register as a foreign agent, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The Investigative Committee said Kurmasheva was being charged under a section of the Criminal Code that refers to the registration of "foreign agents" who carry out the "purposeful collection of information in the field of military, military-technical activities of Russia," which, if received by foreign sources, "can be used against the security of the country."
On December 4, a court in Kazan rejected an appeal filed by Kurmasheva's lawyers against another court's decision in October to fine her 10,000 rubles for "failure to inform Russian officials about holding a second citizenship."
The Ukrainian Fingerprints On A Shadowy Assassination Campaign On Russian Soil2
With Wagner In Disarray, Russian Diplomat With Spy Links Surfaces In Central African Republic3
'Liquidated': Two 'Traitors Of Ukraine' Killed In Separate Incidents4
Kyiv Expects Delivery Of F-16s 'Soon' As Further U.S. Aid Remains Stalled In Congress5
Germany Delivers Fresh Military Aid Package To Ukraine6
Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Missing For Three Days, Life 'At Risk,' Supporters Say7
Live Briefing: Russia Invades Ukraine8
Offhand Remark Or Political Theater? Putin's Announcement Belies Kremlin’s Penchant For Pageantry9
With Aid In Doubt And Advances Slow, Ukraine Struggles In The War's 'New Phase'10
Iranian Rapper Tataloo Detained Upon Arrival After Being Deported From Turkey