Breaking News -- Russia
|Kiev’s Decision to Cut Gas Supply to Donetsk 'Bears Hallmarks of
Putin made the remarks during a meeting with President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday the decision of the Ukrainian authorities to halt gas supplies to Donetsk amid the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe “bear hallmarks of genocide”.
“As if hunger [in Donetsk and Luhansk] was not enough – the OSCE has already stated that the region is experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe – they had their gas supplies cut off. What would you call it? I would say this bears the hallmarks of genocide,” he said during a meeting with President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades.
"Apparently, some responsible leaders of the modern-day Ukraine are unable to understand the importance of humanitarian issues. It seems that the very notion of humanism has been forgotten," he added.
Top Russian Grocery Stores Freeze Prices on Key Goods as Inflation Bites
The Moscow Times
Russia's top food retailers will freeze prices on 20 "socially important" goods for two months,
the Association of Retail Stores (AKORT) said on its website Wednesday.
The list of 12 major chains that signed on to the initiative includes: Magnit, Auchan, Dixy, Lenta, O'Key, Billa, Globus, Metro Cash & Carry and the X5 Retail group, which owns the Perekryostok and Pyatyorochka brands.
The signatories "are certain that their actions will help stabilize the situation on the food market, in the interests of the population," AKORT said in its statement.
The announcement did not specify which goods will be considered socially important, but newspaper Vedomosti earlier reported that the following would likely see price freezes: beef, pork, lamb, chicken, fish, milk, sugar, salt, sunflower oil, grains, potatoes, cabbage, carrots and apples.
The move comes amid steep increases on food prices on the back of the ruble's plunge of over 40 percent to the dollar since last year and the imposition of food import bans on countries that sanctioned Russia over its alleged role in the Ukraine crisis.
As of January, the price of sugar had shot up 60 percent, grain prices — 45 percent and vegetable prices — 40 percent since the same period last year, federal statistics agency Rosstat said.
Russia's Anti-Monopoly Service has approved the AKORT initiative, news agency RBC reported Wednesday.
Russian Patriots Want to Rename Their Town 'Putin'
The Moscow Times
Activists in the Ural Mountains want to change the name of a local town to "Putin" in honor of the Russian president, arguing that his name alone will be enough to force authorities to address ongoing municipal problems.
Renaming the town of Krasnokamsk in the Perm region would enshrine the name of President Vladimir Putin, "who has done a lot for the country and for the town in particular," said a petition posted on Russia's public initiatives website roi.ru. The petition then goes on to list some of the possible benefits of the proposed name change.
"With such a great name, the town [will be more prosperous]," the petition reads. "The authorities will be obliged to solve [our] problems with clean water, roads, parks, kindergartens, infrastructure and other pressing problems."
Problems with the municipal running-water system have essentially left Krasnokamsk without proper drinking water, Ura.ru reported. But a name change will draw greater attention to this issue, said local activists, who have even come up for a slogan for their campaign: "Give Putin Clean Water." Their petition notes that the name change would also be a boost for tourism in the town, which lies 35 kilometers from the city of Perm.
Putin visited Krasnokamsk in 2012, attending a hockey game and promising the town's residents that a new ice rink would be opened the following year. But despite Putin's pledge to personally attend the opening ceremony, the stadium's construction was delayed, regional news site Ura.ru reported, blaming local officials for "disrupting" the president's plans.
The name-change petition needs to gather 3,541 votes by April 11 in order to be reviewed by municipal authorities, according to the community initiatives website. By Thursday morning, it had gathered a total of eight votes, in addition to two people who had voted against it.
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