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Taliban Visits Moscow Days after Trump Says Talks 'Dead'

A negotiating team from the Taliban arrived Friday in Russia, a representative told The Associated Press, just days after U.S. President Donald Trump declared dead a deal with the insurgent group in Afghanistan.

Russian state news agency Tass cited the Taliban's Qatar-based spokesman Suhail Shaheen as saying the delegation had held consultations with Zamir Kabulov, President Vladimir Putin's envoy for Afghanistan. The visit was confirmed to the AP by a Taliban official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

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Bassil Reportedly Only Minister to Accompany Aoun to Moscow

President Michel Aoun has agreed with Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil that he would be the only minister to accompany him on his first official visit to Russia on March 26, a media report said.

“Aoun's picking of Bassil exclusively and the decision not to form a delegation as per custom might be linked to the intention of the president and the foreign minister to keep their discussions with the Russian officials under wraps,” MTV reported on Tuesday.

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Moscow Reluctant to Mark 1917 Revolution Anniversary

Russian authorities were reluctant to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution on Tuesday, with just low-key events being held to mark an uprising that launched more than 70 years of Communist rule. 

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Around 200 Detained at Moscow Anti-Putin Protest

Russian police on Sunday detained around 200 activists gathering in central Moscow for an unauthorized protest against President Vladimir Putin, TASS state news agency and a monitoring group reported.

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Russia Says Syria Strike Hit Rebel 'Toxic' Weapons Depot

Russia defended its ally Damascus on Wednesday in the face of an international outcry over a suspected chemical attack that killed scores of civilians, saying a Syrian air strike hit a "terrorist warehouse."

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Russia Withdraws Signature from ICC Founding Statute

Russia said Wednesday it is formally withdrawing its signature from the founding statute of the International Criminal Court, saying the tribunal has failed to live up to the hopes of the international community.

Russia in 2000 signed the Rome Statute setting up the ICC, the world's first permanent war crimes court, but never ratified the treaty.

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Putin Fires Economy Minister over '$2 Million-Bribe' Charges

Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was sacked Tuesday and put under house arrest on suspicion of pocketing a two-million-dollar bribe in a deal involving state-controlled oil giant Rosneft.

Ulyukayev is the highest ranking official detained over suspected corruption since Putin took power in 2000, and his arrest unleashed speculation as to whether the probe was linked to an internal power struggle.

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Russia Says Syria Bombing to Continue despite U.S. Warning

Russia on Thursday said it is pressing on with its bombing campaign in Syria despite the U.S. warning it will end talks on the conflict if Moscow does not halt the assault on Aleppo.

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Erdogan Proposes Syria 'No-Fly Zone' to U.S., Russia

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday he proposed, to the U.S. and Russia, the setting up of a no-fly zone in northern Syria, after Ankara-backed fighters pushed the Islamic State group from the border area. 

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Kerry Plans Moscow Talks on Syria Conflict

US Secretary of State John Kerry will make his latest trip to Moscow this week to seek common ground on how to deal with the ongoing bloodshed in Syria.

The State Department said Kerry would speak with senior Russian officials about Syria and Ukraine, as well as tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorny-Karabakh region.

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