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Russia

Russian helicopter crashes at sea in Arctic

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A Russian helicopter with eight people on board crashed at sea in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic on Thursday, Norwegian rescue services said.

The fate of those on the helicopter was not immediately known.

The aircraft went down two or three kilometres from Barentsburg, a Russian mining community in the archipelago, the rescue services said.

“We’ve only been informed that it went down at sea. We don’t know if it was a controlled landing,” an emergency services spokesman told AFP.

A Norwegian helicopter and rescue vessels were dispatched to the scene, he said, adding that no contact had been made with the chopper.

The aircraft was a Russian Mil Mi-8 based permanently near Barentsburg.

Norway was afforded sovereignty of Svalbard, located around 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) from the North Pole, under the 1920 Treaty of Paris.

Nationals of all signatory states enjoy “equal liberty of access and entry” to Svalbard and its waters.

As a result, Russia operates a coal mine in Barentsburg, a community home to several hundred Russian and Ukrainian miners.

Russia

Putin to meet senior N. Korean official: Kremlin

Kim is coming to Moscow to attend the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony, Peskov was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency on Wednesday.

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Vladimir Putin

Moscow, June 13 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea, here on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Kim is coming to Moscow to attend the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony, Peskov was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency on Wednesday. His trip to Russia follows a landmark Singapore summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump on Tuesday.

Trump said his country will provide security guarantees to Pyongyang, while Kim reaffirmed his commitment to a complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

“The results of this meeting have yet to be analyzed in depth, but the very fact that such a meeting was held and a direct dialogue was started can only be welcomed,” Peskov said.

The spokesman reiterated Russia’s position that there was no alternative to political and diplomatic methods of settling the Korean problem.

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Russia

Russia’s Putin sworn in for another six years in office

The Russian constitution bars him from running again when his new terms ends in 2024.

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Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin was sworn in for another six years as Russian president on Monday.

Standing in the Grand Kremlin Palace’s ornately-decorated Andreyevsky Hall with his hand on a gold-embossed copy of the constitution, Putin swore to serve the Russian people, safeguard their rights and freedoms, and defend Russian sovereignty.

Putin was inaugurated for his fourth term as president two months after more than 70 per cent of voters backed him in a presidential election in which he had no serious challengers.

His most dangerous opponent, Alexei Navalny, was barred from running in that vote and on Saturday Navalny and hundreds of his supporters were detained by police while protesting over Putin’s new term under the slogan: “Putin is not our tsar”.

Putin, who is 65, embarks on his fourth term in office buoyed by widespread popular support but weighed down by a costly confrontation with the West, a fragile economy and uncertainty about what happens when his term ends.

The Russian constitution bars him from running again when his new terms ends in 2024.

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Middle East

Putin warns against further actions violating UN charter

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Vladimir Putin

Moscow, April 16 : Further actions violating the UN charter such as the recent US-led strikes on Syria will result in chaos in international relations, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani over phone on Sunday.

The two leaders condemned Saturday’s airstrikes by the US and its allies on Syria and agreed that it would hinder the process of a political settlement in the war-torn country, according to a Kremlin statement, Xinhua news agency reported.

“It was stated that this illegal action seriously damages the prospects for a political settlement in Syria. Putin in particular stressed that if such actions, carried out in violation of the UN Charter, continue, it will inevitably lead to chaos in international relations,” the statement read.

The US, together with Britain and France, launched missile strikes on Syria on Saturday, saying that it was in response to an alleged chemical weapon attack by the Syrian military. The Syrian government has categorically denied the accusation.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the same day held an emergency meeting over the missile attack at Russia’s request but failed to approve a resolution condemning the bombardment.

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