Entries in Russian (6)


Ukraine Parliament Skirmish Breaks Out Over Official Language Debate

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KIEV, Ukraine) -- A brawl broke out in the Ukraine parliament late this week over a bill that seeks to establish Russian as an official language.
The scuffle broke out as opposition and pro-president deputies debated the use of Russian as an official language in certain parts of the country.

The pro-Western opposition believes in the cultural and political independence from Russia and do not want the language to become official. The law up for debate would allow Russian to be spoken as an official language in parts of the country where Russian speakers are in the majority, according to The Telegraph. Ukraine has a Russian minority, mainly in the eastern part of the country, centered around the city of Donetsk. Before the fight erupted, deputies argued that the decision would split the country.

One opposition party member was taken to the hospital with a bloody head, while opposition deputy, Mykola Petruk was taken to the hospital with blood -- apparently from a head wound -- covering his clothing -- reports The Telegraph.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Phobos Grunt: Failed Russian Mars Probe Falling to Earth

Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Somewhere, most likely Sunday or Monday, the failed Russian Phobos-Grunt Mars probe will return ignominiously to Earth, crashing -- at least figuratively -- on the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Most of it will burn up in the atmosphere, but 20 to 30 chunks of charred debris, weighing about 450 lbs., could make it to the surface, said Roscosmos. Where it might crash will not be clear until just hours before it actually happens.

Phobos-Grunt was launched toward Mars in November, but radio contact was lost and it never got beyond low Earth orbit.

The world's space agencies agreed that any one person's chances of getting hit by debris are tiny -- something like 1 in 20 trillion, based on the spacecraft's orbit and the amount of debris that might survive re-entry. The chances that of the 7 billion people on Earth, one of them, somewhere, could be hit are more like 1 in 3,000.

If this sounds familiar, it should. Spent satellites fall from orbit all the time, though most burn up completely before anything reaches Earth's surface. There have been a few recent -- but harmless -- exceptions: NASA's UARS satellite sent debris crashing into the Pacific in September, and the German ROSAT space telescope scattered debris in the Indian Ocean in October.

So the worst damage was to Russian pride. Roscosmos chief, Vladimir Popovkin, went so far as to suggest that someone had sabotaged the probe.

"It would not be desirable to accuse anybody, but today there are very powerful means of influence for space vehicles which cannot be excluded," he said in an interview with the Russian daily Izvestia, translated by ABC News. He gave no specifics, and sources say the U.S. government, mildly offended, stopped helping the Russians track their errant probe in its final days.

More likely, said space analysts, it was the Russians' own fault.

"Certainly the quality control was lacking," said Charles Vick, who follows Russian space efforts for, "and testing the spacecraft ... was never done due to lack of funds."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Russian' Assassin Sought in Istanbul Murders

Ed Pritchard/Getty Images(ISTANBUL) -- A professional assassin slips unnoticed into a sprawling foreign metropolis, quietly slinks through the ancient city before spotting his targets and then -- in broad daylight -- sneaks up behind three men to coldly execute each with a quick succession of shots fired from a silenced pistol. Later, working quickly on a tip, special police break into the hotel room of the supposed assassin to find they're just minutes too late -- the killer is gone.

The way the Turkish and Chechen media tell the story, the circumstances surrounding the deaths of three suspected Chechen militants, possibly at the hands of a Russian spy, in Istanbul last week read more like the latest Jason Bourne screenplay than any run-of-the-mill homicide -- and, according to a Russian official, are just as fantastic.

According to several major Turkish outlets, Chechen militant Berg-Khazh Musavei was the main target of what appeared to be a professional hit allegedly carried out by a Russian who entered the country only days before. Two other Chechens, reportedly linked to the violent anti-Russian insurgency, were also killed in the attack.

Musavei is identified by KavKaz Center, a Chechen news outlet sympathetic to anti-Russian Islamic militants, as a "close associate" of terror leader Doku Umarov -- the man who claimed responsibility for the deadly bombing of Moscow's Domodedovo airport in February.

According to the Turkish reports, the three Chechens were gunned down just after Friday prayers by a lone gunman who fired 11 shots in less than 30 seconds from the silenced 9mm pistol before speeding away in a black Mercedes. Monday, three days after the attack, Turkish special forces received a tip as to where the assailant was staying, rushed to the location and breached the hotel room, only to find he had fled just minutes before.

But the supposed killer left in such a hurry that his equipment -- including the silenced pistol, a night-vision camera and binoculars -- were left behind, as well as a passport identifying the suspect as a Russian citizen named Zharkov Alexander, the reports said. Ballistic tests on the gun reportedly showed it was the one that had been used in the triple murder.

An official with Turkey's deputy prime minister's office told ABC News that the country's National Intelligence Organization said Alexander may be linked to the Russian government, and the country's largest English-language paper, Today's Zaman, said officials believe a man carrying the same passport had been in the country in 2009 when other Chechen militant leaders had been mysteriously killed under similar circumstances.

Kavkaz Center and officials with the Chechen Humanitarian Defence and Brotherhood Association directly accused the Russian Secret Service of being involved in the assassinations.

According to a Russian official, however, the Turkish reports about Russian involvement are not based in any fact.

"Those are pure speculations having nothing [to do] with reality," Yevgeniy Khorishko, press officer for the Russian Embassy in the U.S., told ABC News Wednesday.

So far, no one has been arrested in connection with the murders.

Several Turkish officials in the U.S. did not return requests for comment on this report.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Anna Chapman Won't Admit She Was a Russian Spy

ABC News(MOSCOW) -- In her first foreign language interview since she was arrested as a spy, undercover bombshell Anna Chapman was coy about whether she had ever engaged in espionage for Russia.

"Who told you I was an agent?" Chapman asked an interviewer for the BBC, though she pled guilty to espionage in the U.S. last summer and was sent back to Russia as part of a massive spy swap. "I will never deny and I will never confirm the fact."

Ever since her return to Russia, the flame-haired 28-year-old has turned her notoriety into a lucrative and varied career in her native land. She has already appeared in various men's magazines and accepted a high position in the country's ruling political party, but the BBC interview was timed to promote her latest venture, a regular weekly show on Russian television.

Mysteries of the World With Anna Chapman airs weekly on REN-TV, a private channel. Wearing a little black dress, Chapman was prominently featured in a promotional shot on the station's web site, which also said "I reveal all mysteries, if you have the courage."

Chapman told the BBC she had never considered being on television. "I never saw myself as a TV star," said Chapman. "Most people they dream of being a TV star, like they dream of fame. I never thought of that."

She said, however, that she would never feature her own personal story on Mysteries of the World. Chapman, born Anya Kushchenko, and nine other members of a Russian spy ring were arrested in the U.S. in the summer of 2010. She and her fellow spies all pleaded guilty to espionage in a Manhattan courthouse in July. They were immediately flown to Vienna to be exchanged for accused Western agents held by Russia in the largest U.S.-Russia spy swap since the Cold War.

Chapman has continued to attract attention since her repatriation. She was hired as an advisor to a Russian bank in October. At a ceremony in Moscow in December, Chapman was appointed a leader of the youth branch of Vladimir Putin's political party. Candid nude photos that an ex-boyfriend snapped of Chapman appeared in the January issue of Playboy. Other nude and semi-nude photos of Chapman appeared in the British and U.S. press last summer, and Chapman posed in leather and lingerie for other magazines. ´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


British MP Denies His Assistant Is Russian Spy

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- A Russian working as a parliamentary aide to a British MP has been taken into custody to face deportation proceedings amid claims she is a spy. Liberal Democrat Mike Hancock told the BBC, however, that his 24-year-old assistant was not guilty, nor was she working with especially classified information. The UK's Sunday Times reported on her arrest, claiming that a warrant was issued by MI5. Hancock expressed optimism about her appeal.

Anna Zatuliveter was first stopped in the summer and had been interviewed by police four or five times since. There is no word yet whether she will be deported.

The allegation comes after 10 Russian agents were expelled from the U.S. in July. The BBC reported that author Chapman Pincher believes spy games have increased because Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin seeks to elevate his country's status, and because espionage has become much easier due to the increased focus on terrorism.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Russian Plane Accident: Death Toll Rises, Authorities Search for Cause

Photo Courtesy - STR/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russian authorities are trying to figure out what caused the engines to fail on a passenger jet Saturday, causing it to make an emergency landing. Three people were killed and more than 80 were injured when the plane skidded off the runway.

Trouble began just 30 minutes into the flight, when two of the plane's engines failed and the crew requested an emergency landing at the nearest airport. As the plane approached the runway, a third engine failed, the plane skidded off the runway and broke into three pieces.

The type of plane involved -- a Tupolev-154, or Tu-154 -- does not have a clean safety record. Even Russia's national carrier stopped using it after a series of crashes.

“The number of accidents in Russia have risen and fallen over time but Russia is in the process of rebuilding their civil aviation system, and it's a long process,” said ABC News aviation consultant John Nance.

The Dagestan Airline plane was headed from Moscow to Makhachkala.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio