Russian synchronised swimmer who held flag at London 2012 flees country with ‘no plans to return’

Vladimir Putin’s favourite synchronised swimmer who carried Russia’s flag at the London 2012 Olympics has fled the country with ‘no plans to return’. Anastasia Davydova, 39, a five-time gold medallist and the current secretary-general of the Russian Olympic Committee [ROC], has shocked the Kremlin by joining thousands heading over the border in the wake of Putin’s … Read more

The Russian military might yet finish Putin off

Putin’s latest nuclear threats signify above all that he is in grave danger at home. It was intended not just to cow the West but also to show strength to his henchmen who think he’s not been tough enough in Ukraine and to warn the plotters in Moscow that he will stop at nothing to … Read more

Putin’s chef admits to being the founder of military contractor Wagner

Mr Prigozhin’s stunning admission comes eight years after Russian journalists first unmasked him as the man behind the notorious military contractor. But the businessman vehemently denied it and even sued several Russian and Western journalists over the reports. Wagner first emerged in eastern Ukraine in 2014 and later expanded its operations to Syria, Libya, the … Read more

US whistleblower Edward Snowden granted Russian citizenship

US authorities have for years wanted Mr Snowden returned to the US to face a criminal trial on espionage charges. As president, Donald Trump said he would “take a look” at pardoning Mr Snowden, but never did. Mr Snowden married his US partner Lindsay Mills in a courthouse in Moscow and the couple have a … Read more

Russians blocked from fleeing country by border guards

At Upper Lars in the Caucasus, at least 5,000 cars were lining up on Monday waiting to cross from Russia into Georgia, which has become one of the most popular routes of escape, according to Russian officials. Authorities on the Georgian side of the border said about 115,000 people and 37,000 cars crossed from Russia … Read more

What the US means when it says ‘catastrophic consequences’

“That could lose any support the action had in the UN and cede the international moral high ground. “Horizontal escalation is likely what they’ll be thinking. Make the Russians hurt elsewhere.” Such a response could see Russian military capabilities targeted in other regions of the world, for example in Syria, although this could risk spreading … Read more

Vladimir Putin sending newly-mobilised troops to their slaughter in Ukraine, says UK

V ladimir Putin is sending newly-mobilised troops to their slaughter in Ukraine with little training before they are deployed, British defence chiefs said on Monday. They warned these troops were likely to suffer a “high attrition rate” after being despatched to fight in Ukraine with “minimal relevant preparation”. They stressed that the Russian army faced … Read more

Vladimir Putin’s draft order is cause of Russian protests, officials admit

“Such excesses are absolutely unacceptable. And, I consider it absolutely right that they are triggering a sharp reaction in society,” said Valentina Matvienko, the speaker of the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house.  In an apparent attempt to deflect blame from the Kremlin, she said that governors of Russia’s 85 federal regions held “full responsibility” for … Read more

Russian National Guard ‘under strain’ to contain domestic protests against mobilisation

President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilisation” bolster the armed forces as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to falter earlier this week. Following the announcement, police have been dispersing demonstrations as thousands take to the streets to protest the call-up in several cities. In its latest intelligence update the MoD said more Russians could be … Read more

Why the fundamentals of war haven’t changed

The reality, of course, is that ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons do not exist – they are all strategic weapons – and, as such, come under the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction which ably governed the nuclear relationship between the superpowers during the Cold War. Putin won’t use a nuclear weapon, because he can’t be sure that … Read more