Tag: Russia

Afghan Contractor Handed Out Russian Cash to Kill Americans, Officials Say

KABUL, Afghanistan — He was a lowly drug smuggler, neighbors and relatives say, then ventured into contracting, seeking a slice of the billions of dollars the U.S.-led coalition was funneling into construction projects in Afghanistan. But he really began to show off his wealth in recent years, after establishing a base in Russia, though how […]

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White House Dismisses Reports of Bounties, but Is Silent on Russia

First President Trump denied knowing about it. Then he called it a possible “hoax.” Next, the White House attacked the news media. And now an unnamed intelligence official is to blame. The one thing Mr. Trump and his top officials have not done is to address the substance of intelligence reports that Russia paid bounties […]

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Putin Orchestrates Russia Referendum to Keep Him in Power

MOSCOW — The outcome of Russia’s seven-day national plebiscite, intended to keep President Vladimir V. Putin in power until at least 2036, is all but certain: Mr. Putin will get the numbers he needs after a final day of voting on Wednesday. Less clear, however, is why he even needs voters to approve a raft […]

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A Russian Plot to Kill U.S. Soldiers

Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile device: Via Apple Podcasts | Via Spotify | Via Stitcher A New York Times investigation has revealed evidence of a secret Russian operation to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan — and of the failure of the Trump administration to act on that intelligence. As lawmakers from […]

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Trump’s New Russia Problem: Unread Intelligence and Missing Strategy

The intelligence finding that Russia was most likely paying a bounty for the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan has evoked a strange silence from President Trump and his top national security officials. He insists he never saw the intelligence, though it was part of the President’s Daily Brief just days before a peace deal […]

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‘You Know Your Audience’: Russia’s Internet Stars Turn Away From Putin

MOSCOW — Ksenia Hoffman, a Russian video blogger, says another blogger passed along an offer back in March: Was she interested in putting up an Instagram post mentioning the coming referendum on President Vladimir V. Putin’s amendments to the Constitution? “They’ll pay well for it,” she recalls the blogger saying. Ms. Hoffman, 22, says she […]

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Data on Financial Transfers Bolstered Suspicions That Russia Offered Bounties

American officials intercepted electronic data showing large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account, which was among the evidence that supported their conclusion that Russia covertly offered bounties for killing U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, according to three officials familiar with the intelligence. Though the […]

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Father of Slain Marine Finds Heartbreak Anew in Possible Russian Bounty

WASHINGTON — Erik Hendriks has largely avoided news reports since his son, Cpl. Robert A. Hendriks, was killed by a car bomb in Afghanistan last April. But the news that several American officials believe that a Russian military intelligence unit paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill American and coalition troops in Afghanistan has been […]

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A New Superpower Competition Between Beijing and Washington: China’s Nuclear Buildup

When negotiators from the United States and Russia met in Vienna last week to discuss renewing the last major nuclear arms control treaty that still exists between the two countries, American officials surprised their counterparts with a classified briefing on new and threatening nuclear capabilities — not Russia’s, but China’s. The intelligence had not yet […]

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How Generations of Russians Have Tried to Influence American Elections

RIGGEDAmerica, Russia, and One Hundred Years of Covert Electoral InterferenceBy David Shimer On Election Day 2016, the United States braced for a crippling sneak attack by a foreign power. “It was very high alert,” Barack Obama’s deputy adviser for homeland security, Amy Pope, recalled for David Shimer, a journalist and current graduate student at Oxford, […]

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Trump Got Written Briefing in February on Possible Russian Bounties, Officials Say

American officials provided a written briefing in late February to President Trump laying out their conclusion that a Russian military intelligence unit offered and paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, two officials familiar with the matter said. The investigation into the suspected Russian covert operation to incentivize such […]

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Lawmakers Press for Answers on Russian Bounty Offers to Taliban to Kill U.S. Troops

Democrats and Republicans in Congress demanded on Monday that American intelligence agencies promptly share with lawmakers what they know about a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, and threatened to retaliate against the Kremlin. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic […]

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Trump Wants Us to Believe No One Told Him Russia Offered Bounties for Killing U.S. Troops in Afghanistan. Have I Told You That Trump Is a Liar?

Photo: David Dee Delgado (Getty Images) President Donald Trump would like America to believe that U.S. intelligence learned that a bounty had been placed on the heads of American troops in Afghanistan and no one told him. Advertisement No one sent him a strongly worded email. No one mimed it to him. No one called […]

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Putin Pushes Through Referendum Even as Virus Surges in Russia

Despairing of finding enough beds for patients stricken with the coronavirus, a nurse in the Siberian city of Irkutsk has been forced to begin taking people to a village hospital more than 100 miles away. And the worst is yet to come, said the nurse, Valentina M. Monkhoroeva, adding, “the number of confirmed cases in […]

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Spies and Commandos Warned Months Ago of Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops

WASHINGTON — United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, according to officials briefed on the matter. The crucial information that led the spies and commandos to focus on […]

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Biden Criticizes Trump Over Intelligence on Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. assailed President Trump on Saturday for failing to punish Russia for offering bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, while the White House denied that Mr. Trump had been briefed on the months-old classified intelligence assessment about Russia’s activities. Citing officials briefed on […]

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Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says

WASHINGTON — American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter. The United States concluded months ago that […]

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Russian Criminal Group Finds New Target: Americans Working at Home

A Russian ransomware group whose leaders were indicted by the Justice Department in December is retaliating against the U.S. government, many of America’s largest companies and a major news organization, identifying employees working from home during the pandemic and attempting to get inside their networks with malware intended to cripple their operations. Sophisticated new attacks […]

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Leo Tolstoy vs. the Police

In the early months of lockdown, many people stuck at home found themselves turning to unusual sources of comfort: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s PowerPoint presentations, bread-baking (especially, for reasons unclear, sourdough) and “War and Peace,” Leo Tolstoy’s 1,200-page novel about the Napoleonic era in Russia. Gathering online around the hashtag #TolstoyTogether, readers perhaps unsurprisingly found themselves […]

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Roger Stone Really Is a Pimp, and Bill Barr Is a Hitman

Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Getty Images) President Trump began to hate former Attorney General Jeff Sessions right around the time he recused himself from the Russia investigation. In November 2018, Sessions was forced out of the position and it was clear that Trump wanted a bodyman to take over that spot. The president believed that he […]

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How Two Russians Got Caught Up in Libya’s War, Now an Action Movie

MOSCOW — In the 13 months since the swashbuckling Russian sociologist was kidnapped by terrorists in the Libyan capital, he has been tortured, starved and tormented with mock beheading by sadistic Islamists. Through it all, he stoutly rejected demands that he confess to being a Russian spy. That at least is Russia’s big-screen version of […]

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For Migrants in Russia, Virus Means No Money to Live and No Way to Leave

MOSCOW — Migrant workers from Central Asia, shrugging off the risk of coronavirus infection, have gathered in groups each day outside their countries’ embassies in Moscow, banging on doors and fences and shouting for officials to come out and tell them when they can finally get on a charter flight home. With regular flights canceled, […]

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As Virus Infections Surge, Countries End Lockdowns

NEW DELHI — At Nigambodh Ghat, the oldest cremation grounds in India’s capital, the bodies keep coming. One ambulance arrives with five inside. Then another. Then another, in an endless display of death. As the coronavirus pandemic surges in New Delhi, a public health care system that was already strained might be reaching its breaking […]

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Major Petroleum Spill Spreads Toward Arctic Ocean in Russia’s North

MOSCOW — Floating barriers hastily laid across rivers in the far north of Russia have failed to contain a major diesel fuel spill that has now spread to a lake near the Arctic Ocean and is threatening a nature reserve, a regional governor said Tuesday. The environmental disaster is unfolding far to the north of […]

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OPEC and Russia Agree to Extend Oil Production Cuts

Many of the world’s major oil producers agreed on Saturday to extend the record oil production cuts that have helped bolster oil prices since their collapse in April in the depths of the coronavirus pandemic. Oil ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, as well as other producers led by Russia, met by […]

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Trump Plans to Withdraw Some U.S. Troops From Germany, a Key NATO Ally

WASHINGTON — The United States will cut its troop presence in Germany by more than 25 percent, former American officials said on Friday, as the Trump administration sends a frosty message to a major NATO ally and shrinks a military footprint long resented by the Kremlin. The new cap, approved by President Trump and Defense […]

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Prague Says Ricin Plot Was a Hoax, and Moves to Expel 2 Russians

MOSCOW — Russia on Friday denounced a decision by the Czech Republic to expel two Russian diplomats over an alleged ricin poison plot that Czech officials now believe was a hoax engineered as part of internal quarrels in Moscow’s embassy in Prague. The Russian Embassy described the Czech order giving the diplomats 48 hours to […]

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Coronavirus Rips Into Regions Previously Spared

CAIRO — For months, one enduring mystery of the coronavirus was why some of the world’s most populous countries, with rickety health systems and crowded slums, had managed to avoid the brunt of an outbreak that was burning through relatively affluent societies in Europe and the United States. Now some of those countries are tumbling […]

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