Entries in Russia (6)


Russian Intelligence Officials Called Boston Marathon Bombing Preventable

Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A U.S. congressman says that Russian intelligence officials are convinced that the April bombings at the Boston Marathon were preventable, had American authorities acted on Moscow's warning about one of the suspects.

Massachusetts Democrat William Keating, who has just returned from Russia with other lawmakers, says that U.S. intelligence agents apparently knew in 2010 that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was ready to enlist in a terrorist cell in Dagestan, a southern region of Russia.

Keating told reporters that the head of Russian counterterrorism said "that if we had the level of information sharing and cooperation that is taking place right now, if we had had that back at that period of time, then the bombing might have been averted."

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a shootout with police four days after the Marathon bomb attacks that killed three people and left more 260 wounded. His brother, Dzhokhar, was taken into custody and charged with using a weapon of mass destruction.

Despite the terrorist attack last April 15, Keating, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that if the U.S. and Russia improve cooperation and information sharing  "there will be people in the future whose lives will be saved."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Adopted Russian Boy's Death Ruled Accidental in Texas

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The death of an adopted 3-year-old Russian boy has been ruled an accident in Texas.  This just a week after Russian officials accused the boy's adopted parents of killing the child.

Authorities said Friday that Max Shatto, who had been adopted by Laura and Alan Shatto in November, died of a self-inflicted wound on Jan. 21.

An investigation into the boy's death was opened after he was rushed to Medical Center Hospital's emergency room shortly before 5 p.m. on Jan. 21 and later died.

Friday's announcement contradicted a top Russian official who accused the boy's mother of murder last week.

Pavel Astakhov, Russia's children's rights commissioner, wrote on Twitter last week: "An adoptive mother has killed a three-year-old Russian child in the state of Texas. The murder occurred at the end of January."

"The boy died before an ambulance called by his mother arrived. According to a report by medical examiners, the boy had numerous injuries," he added.

The tweets were later deleted, but Astakhov continued to blame the boy's adoptive parents for his death. On Thursday, he said he was told by a Texas social worker that the mother was responsible for the boy's death.

Texas officials denied those claims and the Shattos denied any role in their son's death, but declined to comment further about the issue.

Friday, the Ector County district attorney and sheriff's department announced the findings of Max Shatto's autopsy report, which showed that he died from a lacerated artery in his abdomen from self-inflicted bruising, and that the boy had a mental disorder that caused him to harm himself.

No drugs were found in the child's system, and four doctors reviewed the autopsy report, ruling out the possibility that Shatto was fatally injured by his parents, officials said at the press conference.

The ruling could put to rest the outrage in Russia over what officials there called another example of why U.S. parents should not adopt Russian children. Astakhov's accusation of murder provided fuel for those in Russia who supported Russia's decision to ban adoptions to the U.S.

The ban was part of Russia's response to a set of human rights sanctions that President Obama signed into law in December, but it cited the cases of 19 children who had died after being adopted by Americans.

After the accusations surfaced in Russia, Max's death became the top story in Russia. The boy's birth mother emerged and, in a tearful appearance on state-run television, said she had cleaned up her act and wanted Max's younger brother Kristopher back. On her way back from the interview in Moscow, however, the mother was reportedly kicked off a train after a drunken brawl.

On Saturday, thousands are expected to turn out for a rally in central Moscow calling for Kristopher to be returned to Russia.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


JFK Tapes Reveal New Insight into Tensions During Cuban Missile Crisis

Library Of Congress/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the heat of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President John F. Kennedy thought the nation was so close to war with the Soviet Union that he game-planned how American naval vessels would fire on Soviet ships, making plans for firing warning shots, and even the confiscation of cameras aboard American boats to prevent pictures from making their way into the press.

In a phone call to Assistant Defense Secretary Roswell Gilpatric -- secretly recorded by the president on Oct. 23, 1962 -- Kennedy ordered that U.S. service members on board ships that would engage the Soviets be forced to turn in their cameras.

He also walked Gilpatric through an intricate series of steps he wanted taken in case Soviet forces defied the American quarantine of Cuba -- moves designed to try to minimize confrontations he knew could lead to World War III.

"I was wondering whether the instructions on how that's to be done, or where they're to be shot at, and so on, to cause the minimum of damage," Kennedy said.  "And in addition, if they're boarded, it's very possible the Russians will fire at them as they board, and we'd have to fire back and have quite a slaughter."

The recordings are published in a new book and accompanying CDs: Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy, on sale Sept. 25, 2012.

Much of the material is compiled in book form for the first time, though most of it had been previously released.  Portions of the recordings, touching on sensitive national security issues, were declassified as recently as this year.

The records offer a trove of first-hand material for historians focused on some of the most turbulent days of the Kennedy presidency.  Starting in July 1962, Kennedy had a sophisticated taping system installed in the Oval Office and Cabinet Room at the White House, presumably to record history for future use in memoirs.

The resulting 248 hours of meetings, plus 17-plus hours of phone conversations and private presidential reflections, were probably never listened to by Kennedy himself before his assassination in November 1963.

The recordings reveal a pressure-cooker atmosphere inside the White House at odds with popular perceptions of Camelot.  They offer an unfiltered, sometimes profane glimpse of real-time crisis decision-making in critical episodes of the Civil Rights Movement and the Cuban Missile Crisis, among dozens of other hot moments.

"To be able to be a fly on the wall and listen to things unfolding when we know how they turned out, but the -- the people talking didn't, that's what's so amazing," Caroline Kennedy, the former president's daughter, told ABC's Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview.  "I think that this is a whole different insight into really work being done -- and, really, his commitment to politics as a way of solving problems."

Tune in to World News with Diane Sawyer and Nightline on Monday, Sept. 24 to see Diane Sawyer's exclusive interview with Caroline Kennedy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


DNC Apologizes for Showing Russian Warships in Tribute to US Veterans

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Organizers of last week’s Democratic National Convention apologized Wednesday for accidentally showing an image of the Russian navy during a tribute to U.S. veterans.

Soviet-era Russian warships were projected on a big screen above veterans as they stood on the convention stage last Thursday while retired Adm. John Nathman delivered remarks honoring those who serve.

“Due to vendor error, incorrect images appeared briefly on screen behind fifty-one veterans during the convention and the DNCC apologizes for this mistake,” the Democratic National Convention Committee said in a written statement to the Navy Times. “This error should not distract from the words of Admiral Nathman and others who spoke to President Obama’s strong record on issues that impact those who have served our nation.”

Never missing an opportunity, the DNCC also included a jab at GOP nominee Mitt Romney in its apology.

“We’re proud of the service and sacrifice of our veterans and military families, and while they were an important and active part our of convention, Mitt Romney failed to even mention them in his speech in Tampa,” they said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Space Shuttle Chases International Space Station as NASA Eyes Russia and China

PRNewsFoto/NASA(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) -- Everything the astronauts of space shuttle Atlantis do, they do for the last time in the program's history.

They spent Saturday slowly inspecting the heat shield tiles on the belly and wings of their orbiter. On Sunday, they are scheduled to dock with the International Space Station.

The astronauts were settling in and getting their space legs after Friday's launch -- a spectacular sight to the estimated one million people who crowded around the space center to see it happen.

But it may be the last time America launches its own astronauts for many years. At the Kennedy Space Center, throngs of people applauded, cheered -- and in some cases wept. This part of Florida has lived in large part for space shuttle launches, and there is not a clear plan for what comes next.

Atlantis' mission sounds fairly mundane: it is carrying a year's worth of preserved food, clothing spare parts and other supplies for the station's six crew members. It is scheduled to land on July 20 at 7:06 a.m., ET, though NASA will give the astronauts an extra day if they can conserve enough fuel and power.

For several years, American astronauts will probably have to rely on the Russian space program, with its Soyuz capsules, to get to the space station. NASA is also keeping an eye on the Chinese, who have a small and slow -- but methodically planned -- program of their own.

They talk of building a small space station and eventually going to the moon.

Some people at NASA quietly say they hope the Chinese succeed -- and give the U.S. a healthy kick in the pants. There would be nothing like a rekindling of the 1960s space race, they say, to get Americans interested in a more aggressive space program.

But that is not said publicly. If anything, America talks of collaborating with other countries if explorers are ever to reach out beyond Earth orbit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US-Russia Arms Treaty Takes Effect

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The United States and Russia strengthened ties on Saturday as a strategic arms control treaty between the two countries formally went into effect.

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which was passed by the Senate in December, will enforce limits on the amount of atomic warheads both countries are allowed to have. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov exchanged ratification papers on Saturday in Munich to put the treaty into effect.

START will limit both countries to a maximum 800 deployed nuclear warhead delivery systems, and 1,550 deployed warheads. Both countries will also be allowed to inspect each other’s nuclear capability to verify the amount of warheads on missiles.

Clinton said the U.S. and Russia continue to discuss how both nations can work together on matters of interest relevant to their common security. Lavrov says the treaty will improve international stability.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio