Russian Digest 4/29
Top stories I'm keeping an eye on
Patrushev instructed to prepare bunkers for the population of the southern regions of the Russian Federation
The Russian authorities are beginning to revise and prepare bunker defenses in the southern regions of the country, where a "yellow" level of terrorist danger has been introduced and where the air defense system has worked twice just last night.
In the south of the Russian Federation, it is necessary “everywhere” to bring the protective structures of civil defense into proper condition, to ensure the reliable operation of the warning system, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said on Wednesday.
He added that it is necessary "to exclude cases of illegal disposal of such facilities from federal property", as well as to strengthen the material and technical base of departments and organizations whose functions include ensuring chemical and biological safety (quotes from TASS ).
Protective structures of civil defense (ZSGO) are structures designed to protect the population from the damaging factors of modern weapons of destruction (ammunition of weapons of mass destruction, conventional weapons), as well as from secondary factors arising from destruction (damage to potentially dangerous objects), it is said on website of the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
In addition to special facilities prepared, among other things, for radiation protection, these may include “underground structures of urban infrastructure”, such as pedestrian crossings and sewers. The simplest shelters can serve as "crevices", dugouts and basements of buildings, the department notes.
Patrushev proposes to pay special attention to the biological safety of the Southern Federal District.
“In the course of a special military operation, data were obtained that in these laboratories, military scientists from the United States created viruses, bacteria and toxins, and in fact, a new biological weapon. The active phase of the creation of biological laboratories in Ukraine under the control of the Pentagon began in 2014 - immediately after the coup d'état provoked by the United States and its Western allies, the purpose of which was to create a state hostile to our country, " the Security Council Secretary said. via Moscow Times
Cracks emerge in Russian elite as tycoons start to bemoan invasion
In the two months since Russia invaded Ukraine, the silence — and even acquiescence — of the Russian elite has started to fray.
Even as opinion polls report overwhelming public support for the military campaign, amid pervasive state propaganda and new laws outlawing criticism of the war, cracks are starting to show. The dividing lines among factions of the Russian economic elite are becoming more marked, and some of the tycoons — especially those who made their fortunes before President Vladimir Putin came to power — have begun, tentatively, to speak. via Washington Post
NATO JETS SCRAMBLE IN RESPONSE TO RUSSIAN AIRCRAFT OVER BALTIC AND BLACK SEA
RAMSTEIN, Germany - NATO fighter jets stationed around the Baltic and Black Seas have scrambled multiple times over the past four days to track and intercept Russian aircraft near Alliance airspace. This routine collective response demonstrates NATO's readiness, vigilance and responsiveness.
NATO radars tracked a number of unidentified aircraft over the Baltic and Black Seas since April 26. In response, NATO's Combined Air Operations Centres (CAOC) at Uedem, Germany and Torrejón, Spain launched Allied fighter aircraft in their respective regions to intercept and identify the approaching aircraft.
Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) fighters from Poland, Denmark, France and Spain have been airborne at different times in the Baltic Sea Region since Tuesday to safeguard Allied airspace. In the Black Sea region, QRA aircraft from Romania and the UK were scrambled to investigate unknown tracks approaching Allied airspace. via NATO
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Fox's Sean Hannity exchanged more than 80 text messages between Election Day 2020 and Joe Biden's January 2021 inauguration, communications that show Hannity's evolution from staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump's election lies to being "fed up" with the "lunatics" hurting Trump's cause in the days before January 6. via CNN
Flying into Beijing is tougher than ever as China ramps up its zero-Covid measures
Beijing is partially locking down to control a Covid outbreak that could completely shutter the Chinese capital. But just as the government is tightening controls in the city -- testing 21 million residents, shutting schools and some shopping malls -- I'm trying to get in.
Flights from Tokyo to Beijing this week were impossible to find -- the closest available flight was to Kunming, southern Yunnan province, around 1,600 miles (2,600 kilometers) away. There, I'll spend 21 days in quarantine, and even then, there's no guarantee I'll be allowed into the Chinese capital. via CNN Int’l
Russian connections of the Cypriot bank RCB
On February 24, the Russian bank VTB sold all its shares (46.29%) in the fourth largest bank in Cyprus, RCB, to two non-transparent local companies. OCCRP found that the beneficial owner of one of them is RCB CEO Kirill Zimarin, who previously worked at VTB. Many RCB employees obtained Cypriot passports under dubious circumstances. via OCCRP
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