RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Oct 10, 2008

101008.jpgTODAY: Agrarian Party to join United Russia; Amnesty International says South Ossetia was ‘torched’; Russia to be rewarded, or suspended? Weapons debates heat up over Iran and Venezuela. Lavrov suspects foul play between UN and Nato. Ukraine bans Russian broadcasts. The opposition Agrarian Party will vote in its final congress today to dissolve the party and unify with United Russia. ‘Only big parties can influence state decisions,’ said party leader Vladimir Plotnikov. Satellite images indicate that areas of South Ossetia were ‘torched’ during the war, says Amnesty International. It was recently reported that Russia and Georgia could be suspended from human rights body the Council of Europe, unless they uphold obligations to prevent further abuses, but new reports suggest that the EU may reward Russia for withdrawing troops from Georgian security zones. The UN Security Council has renewed the mandate of its mission in Abkhazia.

The Foreign Ministry has suggested that Moscow would not sell its advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran and ‘troubled regions’, although international nuclear inspectors are investigating whether a Russian scientist helped Iran conduct nuclear weapon experiments. The Ministry has denied that Russia’s ships, currently en route to Venezuela, are carrying nuclear weapons. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suspects that the UN and Nato have been acting behind Russia’s back.The Foreign Ministry isn’t pleased that Ukraine has banned the broadcast of Russian television channels in many of its regions.PHOTO: A satellite image of South Ossetia showing track marks and possible munition craters, taken after the Georgia-Russia conflict. REUTERS/American Association for the Advancement of Science/Handout (RUSSIA).