RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – April 9, 2020

Today in Russia: China closes its border with Russia due to COVID-19; India and Russia announce cooperation; Oil prices surge on reports that Russia and Saudi Arabia near a deal; Phone surveillance of foreigners in Moscow; COVID-19 cases exceed 10,000 in Russia; Moscow Duma virus outbreak; Companies that fire workers lose right to state aid; US and UK jointly warn of cyber threats from Russia and China.

In a twist from just months before when Russia closed its border to China over coronavirus fears, yesterday China announced it was closing its border with Russia after a number of imported cases from Russia were reported in the country’s northwestern Heilongjiang province.

India and Russia announced that they would be cooperating to fight the coronavirus.

Kommersant reported [in Russian] that Moscow plans to target the mobile phones of foreigners in Moscow in an effort to contain the coronavirus.

Coronavirus cases in Russia surged beyond 10,000 cases.

Oil prices surged by 12 percent on reports that Russia and Saudi Arabia are nearing a deal in the OPEC+ meeting being held today by videoconference. The US continues to resist agreeing to any production cuts of their own, insisting that market forces have already decreased the production of their “shale oil” producers.

There is a COVID-19 outbreak in the Moscow Duma. After two deputies tested positive, the Duma continued to hold a scheduled in-person meeting. Now, due to testing chaos, it is unknown how severe the outbreak may be.

The Kremlin announced [in Russian] that companies that fire workers during the outbreak will lose their right to any state aid.

Britain’s National Cyber Security Center — a branch of signals intelligence agency GCHQ — and the US’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency — part of the Department of Homeland Security warned in an unusual joint report that “Advanced Persistent Threat” groups such as Russia and China are using COVID-19 in their hacking efforts as well as searching for information about other countries’ responses to the outbreak. Last month, the US Department of Health and Human Services came under cyberattack.