Lucian Kim

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made his way to the Duma, the lower house of parliament, on the eve of Defender of the Fatherland Day. The Feb. 23 national holiday was once known as Soviet Army and Navy Day, and Shoigu, dressed in the uniform of a general, came to boast about the Russian military's latest achievements.

"We tested 162 types of contemporary and modernized weapons in Syria, which showed a high level of effectiveness," Shoigu said. Only 10 weapons systems performed below expectations, he added.

The young mother spoke softly but with determination. After fleeing from her abusive boyfriend, she and her newborn baby found refuge last month in a women's shelter on the outskirts of Moscow.

According to Russian law at the time, he could have faced criminal prosecution for striking her. Now, under legislation signed Feb. 7 by Russian President Vladimir Putin, her partner would most likely face an administrative fine of up to $500.

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The Kremlin has given a positive readout of the long-awaited phone call Saturday between President Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

Putin's overture to the United States to join forces in the fight against international terrorism was the main subject of the one-hour conversation, while thorny issues such as alleged Russian cyber-attacks on U.S. political parties or economic sanctions on Russia weren't mentioned.

Thomas Graham, managing director of the Kissinger Associates consulting firm, doesn't like to discuss speculation that he may become President-elect Donald Trump's next ambassador to Moscow.

But the former diplomat and adviser on Russia in the George W. Bush administration does like to talk about something else: how to salvage U.S.-Russian relations following accusations that Russian President Vladimir Putin interfered in the November presidential election.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin downplayed Donald Trump's tweet Thursday calling for the United States to expand its nuclear capabilities.

"There's nothing out of the ordinary here," Putin said, since the U.S. president-elect had advocated a stronger military throughout his election campaign.

Tuesday was supposed to be a day of triumph for Russian diplomacy, when Russia aimed to replace the United States as the indispensable power in the Middle East. Instead, it became a day of mourning, with a Turkish honor guard in Ankara loading the flag-draped coffin of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov onto a Moscow-bound plane.

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