Soyuz Rocket Takes Off

27 03 2009

A Russian Soyuz rocket blasted off Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying two fresh crew members and Charles Simonyi, a wealthy space tourist on his second visit to the ISS.


Russian Troops Withdraw From Georgia

5 10 2008

Russian troops began dismantling checkpoints in Georgia on Sunday in compliance with a ceasefire agreement reached last August, European Union ceasefire monitors said.

As part of the deal to end the five-day war, Moscow agreed to withdraw its forces completely from the buffer zones just outside South Ossetia and Abkhazia within 10 days of the deployment of EU monitors last Wednesday.

About 200 European Union observers have been deployed to monitor the ceasefire and the Russian pull-back.

EU monitors and journalists watched as Russian troops lowered their flag at the post in the village of Nadarbazevi, 50 kilometres northwest of the capital, Tbilisi.

A checkpoint in Ali, in the zone around South Ossetia, was also dismantled on Sunday and Russian forces were leaving another position in Zugdidi, in the zone south of Abkhazia, said Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili.

Georgian and EU officials could not immediately clarify how many Russian positions in total would have to be dismantled to meet the agreement’s terms. After the war, Russia said it would set up a total of 36 checkpoints in the security zones — 18 in each.

Georgia Claims to Have Hit Russian Drone Over Georgia

23 09 2008

Georgia says its military has shot down a Russian reconnaissance drone that was flying over Georgian territory – a claim denied by Russia.

The unmanned plane was downed south of the de facto border with breakaway South Ossetia, the Georgian government said, though no evidence was provided.

Russia dismissed the claim as “another media provocation by Georgia”.

Russia recognised the independence of South Ossetia after a short war broke out over the territory last month.

Russia has been withdrawing from Georgia proper under a ceasefire deal.

European Union monitors have been deploying in Georgia, to verify the Russian withdrawal and oversee the ceasefire. They are due to start patrolling on 1 October.

Georgia accused separatists from Abkhazia, a second breakaway region also recognised by Moscow, of breaching the ceasefire and shooting dead a Georgian police officer on Sunday.

Boeing 737 Crashes in Russia

14 09 2008

A jet carrying 81 people crashed early Sunday morning in western Russia, killing everyone on board, an airline spokesman said.

The Boeing 737 en route to Perm from Moscow was operated by Aeroflot Nord. The pilots lost communication with air traffic control at about 3:10 a.m. (2110 GMT), said Aeroflot spokesman Lev Koshlyakov. The landing in Perm was scheduled for 3:30 a.m.

Seventy-five passengers — including seven children — were on board, in addition to six crew members.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known, Koshlyakov said.

Russia Blames Russia-Georgia War on US…?

11 09 2008

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has accused the United States of emboldening Georgia to start a war in the Caucasus to test Russian resolve.

Mr Kadyrov, who is a keen supporter of the Russian government, said Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, had been dancing to Washington’s tune.

But he said that Russia had responded decisively during last month’s conflict and shown it was the stronger power.

Mr Kadyrov made the remarks in a speech at the presidential palace near Grozny.

Russia to Keep Troops In Georgia

9 09 2008

Russia says it will keep 7,600 troops in Georgia’s breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia after withdrawing from the rest of the country.

On Monday, Russia agreed to withdraw its troops from positions within Georgia, taken up during the recent conflict, by mid-October.

But the Russian president ordered troop bases be set up in the regions.

Russia’s foreign minister said the troops were expected to remain in place “for the foreseeable future”.

“They will be there a long time,” Sergei Lavrov said from Moscow.

“This is absolutely necessary, so as not to allow a repeat of armed actions,” he added.

Mr Lavrov said that both regions – which Russia has now recognised as independent – should also be able to participate in talks on Georgia scheduled for next month in Geneva with “fully fledged” places.

$990 iPhone In Russia?

25 08 2008

Spending a whopping $990 on an iPhone is hardly a laughing matter. Actually, the price is a bargain compared to the 600,000 or so iPhones that have hit the market through unauthorized sales—but it is still well out of the budget of your average Russian citizen. Nonetheless, Apple believes that it can sell 3.5 million phones in the country within two years. That seems like a lofty goal, but let’s not forget that Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world. There could very well be enough wealthy citizens out there willing to drop nearly $1000 on a phone that has quickly become a must-have status symbol.