Russian plane with supplies for virus fight arrives in US | AFP

A Russian military plane carrying medical supplies arrives in the United States, the Russian mission to the UN said, as the Kremlin flexes its soft power during the coronavirus pandemic. The Antonov-124, landed at JFK Airport in New York — the epicenter of America’s coronavirus outbreak — video posted on the mission’s Twitter page showed.

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Thousands march in Moscow for ‘Russia without Putin’ | AFP

Thousands rally in central Moscow to call on President Vladimir Putin not to stay in power indefinitely, in the first major protest by the Russian opposition since the Kremlin chief announced controversial plans to change the constitution. The rally marks five years since the assassination of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov but its organisers also want the event to send a message to Putin after he proposed major constitutional changes. Organisers, including the country’s most prominent opposition leader Alexei Navalny, called for a mass turnout to show Putin that he must not consider staying in power by any means when his current mandate ends in 2024.

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Opposition urges ‘Russia without Putin’ in rally for slain liberal | AFP

Thousands rally in central Moscow to call on President Vladimir Putin not to stay in power indefinitely, in the first major protest by the Russian opposition since the Kremlin chief announced controversial plans to change the constitution. IMAGES

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Putin meets with Netanyahu in Moscow | AFP

Vladimir Putin receives Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kremlin. IMAGES of the meeting

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AP Top Stories December 16 P

Here’s the latest for Monday, December 16th: Senator says President Donald Trump will announce U.S. troop drawdown; Democrats release impeachment report; Hundreds re-enact WWII battle on 75th anniversary; Father Frost delivers tree to Kremlin.

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Russia marks anniversary of wartime parade on Red Square | AFP

Russia holds a historical reenactment on Moscow’s Red Square to mark the 78th anniversary of the historic 1941 parade, when Red Army soldiers marched past the Kremlin walls towards the front line to fight Nazi Germany troops during World War Two. IMAGES

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Moscow protesters learn rules of engagement in training sessions | AFP

The truncheons are made of plastic, but the scene playing out in central Moscow with protesters chanting anti-Kremlin slogans and the riot police seizing them one by one looks only too realistic. Alexander Archagov, a psychologist and rights activist, is holding a training session that aims to teach opposition protesters how to stand up for their rights as police clear streets of demonstrators. The training session is responding to the current wave of protests, one of the largest since President Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin in 2012.

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Putin opponent Navalny freed after 30 days in jail | AFP

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is released after serving 30 days in jail for planning opposition protests, which have grown into a movement that has shaken Moscow since last month. Police were present outside the prison on his release but made no move to re-arrest him, as they have when other opposition figures were freed recently. IMAGES

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Moscow: Arrests during unauthorized protest against crackdown on opposition members | AFP

Russian police arrest opposition supporters for beginning an unauthorised protest after almost 50,000 opposition supporters rallied in Moscow at one of the largest police-authorised protests since President Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin in 2012. IMAGES

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Thousands attend Moscow opposition rally after crackdown | AFP

Thousands of Russian opposition supporters rally in Moscow after mass police detentions at recent protests that have been among the largest since President Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin in 2012. IMAGES

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Russian opposition leader Navalny jailed for 30 days | AFP

Top Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is taken to prison, in Moscow, after being sentenced to 30 days in jail, in an apparent bid by authorities to crush a new wave of protest. IMAGES AND SOUNDBITE

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