Novichok patient said no longer in critical condition but looks 'like a skeleton'

The Japan Times

LONDON โ€“ A British man exposed to the nerve agent Novichok is no longer in a critical condition, the hospital treating him said on Wednesday, as police still struggle to understand what happened. The brother of 45-year-old Charlie Rowley also said he had visited him and he was talking, but looked "like a skeleton" and could barely lift his head. Rowley fell ill on June 30 at his home in Amesbury near the town of Salisbury in southwest England, along with his partner Dawn Sturgess, 44. They were exposed to Novichok, the same nerve agent used against former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in March. Britain and its allies accused Moscow of trying to kill the Russian pair, who survived, sparking an international diplomatic crisis.


Trump tweets: Says U.S.-Russia relations 'will work out fine'

Los Angeles Times

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to tap the brakes Wednesday on what appeared a free fall in relations between Washington and Moscow, but daylong talks between their top diplomats failed to bridge disputes over last week's poison gas attack in Syria and other key issues. Although the Kremlin earlier this week said Putin would not greet U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on his first official trip to Moscow, the Russian leader met the U.S. envoy for more than two hours in what appeared a determined effort to repair the growing breach. Little concrete appeared to emerge from the meeting, although Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said later that "we understand each other better" and he saw "many prospects for cooperation," including a possible resumption of arms control talks. Lavrov said Moscow would put "back in force" a telephone hotline used to keep U.S. and Russian warplanes from colliding or accidentally firing at one another in the crowded skies over Syria. Russian officials said last week they would suspend the hotline.


U.S. and Russia remain far apart on Syria after Tillerson meets with Putin and other officials

Los Angeles Times

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to tap the brakes Wednesday on what appeared a free fall in relations between Washington and Moscow, but daylong talks between their top diplomats failed to bridge disputes over last week's poison gas attack in Syria and other key issues. Although the Kremlin earlier this week said Putin would not greet U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on his first official trip to Moscow, the Russian leader met the U.S. envoy for more than two hours in what appeared a determined effort to repair the growing breach. Little concrete appeared to emerge from the meeting, although Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said later that "we understand each other better" and he saw "many prospects for cooperation," including a possible resumption of arms control talks. Lavrov said Moscow would put "back in force" a telephone hotline used to keep U.S. and Russian warplanes from colliding or accidentally firing at one another in the crowded skies over Syria. Russian officials said last week they would suspend the hotline.


Russian paper: Indicted Prigozhin ordered beatings, killing

FOX News

MOSCOW โ€“ A security aide to businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has been indicted by American investigators for allegedly trying to interfere with the 2016 U.S. election, says the Russian mogul has been involved in attacks on several people and at least one killing, an independent Russian newspaper reported Monday. Prigozhin has been dubbed "Putin's chef" for organizing catering events for Russian President Vladimir Putin and even personally serving him and his guests on some occasions. The Novaya Gazeta article by Denis Korotkov that was published Monday came out several days after unknown people sent a funeral wreath to the journalist's home and left a basket with a severed goat's head at the newspaper's office. Korotkov's article relies on several interviews with Valery Alemchenko, a former convict who worked for Prigozhin, who said he orchestrated attacks on Prigozhin's opponents as well as the killing of an opposition blogger in Russia's north-west at the mogul's behalf. U.S. authorities on Friday brought charges against another Prigozhin employee, bookkeeper Elena Khusyaynova for helping oversee the finances at a so-called troll farm that aimed to influence U.S. politics through social media postings.


Russian ambassador to U.N. falls ill at office, dies in NYC at 64

The Japan Times

NEW YORK โ€“ Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, a veteran diplomat known as a potent and personable voice for his country's interests as he sparred with his Western counterparts, died suddenly after falling ill Monday in his office at the mission. Vitaly Churkin, 64, was taken to a hospital in New York, where he died, Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, told The Associated Press. His cause of death wasn't immediately known. He had been Russia's envoy at the United Nations since 2006 and was considered Moscow's great champion at the U.N. Diplomatic colleagues from around the world mourned Churkin as a powerful and passionate voice for his nation, with both a deep knowledge of diplomacy and a large and colorful personality. He was the longest-serving member of the Security Council, the U.N.'s most powerful body.