Telephone conversation with Italian Prime Minister 
Giuseppe Conte

In a phone call with the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed Moscow’s readiness to provide any assistance needed to stem the coronavirus outbreak and informed him that Moscow plans to send medical teams and equipment along with means of protection from coronavirus to Italy, the Kremlin said on Saturday.
"They focused on the coronavirus pandemic and the two countries’ efforts aimed at stemming the spread of the infection.
Vladimir Putin voiced his support to the leadership and people of Italy in the wake of the most severe epidemiological situation in the Italian Republic," the statement says.
"In response to Italy’s request, the president of Russia confirmed readiness to promptly provide the required assistance and informed about its practical parameters. In particular, supplies of means of protection and mobile vehicles mounted on Kamaz trucks for spraying disinfectants over transport and in the areas as well as medical and other equipment are to be delivered, while Russian specialists are to be dispatched to the country’s worst-hit regions for practical assistance," the Kremlin said. "The deliveries will be carried out by the Defense Ministry on aircraft of the Aerospace Force of the Russian Federation," the statement said.
For his part, Conte "sincerely thanked [the Russian president] for the steps taken by Moscow to support Italy during those difficult times."
The phone call was made at Russia’s request.

The 6thAnniversary of the Crimean Spring – 18 March
Vladimir Putin: Today we are celebrating the sixth anniversary of the reunification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia, the signing of truly historic documents, without exaggeration – the agreement on the accession of Sevastopol and Crimea to the Russian Federation.
We all remember well those days of February and March 2014. We remember how the people here, in Sevastopol and Crimea, chose their future, how they spoke, how they thought and made decisions on how they would build their own lives, and the lives of their children.
Andrei Vandenko: We’ve been hit with sanctions because of Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin: To hell with those sanctions. According to various estimates, we have lost around 50 billion but we have earned the same amount.
Andrei Vandenko: That’s quite a bit.
Vladimir Putin: Quite a bit, but it made us use our brains. We spent quite a lot of money on the so-called ‘import substitution’ programme and started to produce such items and technologies that we did not have before or simply forgot about them and lost them. We recreated all of this. And we are undoubtedly benefiting from it. It diversifies our economy. In fact, it helps us address our overriding priority.
In accordance with the decree of the Government of the Russian Federation dated March 16, 2020 № 635-r to ensure the security of the nation, public health protection and COVID-19 non-proliferation in the Russian Federation, starting from March 18, 2020, the Consular Division of the Embassy will temporarily suspend the issuance of all categories of visa with the exception of diplomatic, official, common business visas for international drivers, crew of aircraft, river and sea-going vessels, international train and locomotive crew, and common private visas for foreign citizens or stateless persons to enter Russia in connection with the death of a close relative.
 The abovementioned measures are justified by the extraordinary circumstances and have entirely temporary nature.
Russian Direct Investment Fund - RDIF, The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Yandex and Group announce the creation of an alliance against coronavirus (COVID19). The main objective of the Alliance is to ensure operational testing of the population using the best available technologies, as well as industrial safety and uninterrupted operation of Russia’s largest enterprises.
The approved innovative Russia-Japanese testing system is a unique solution, one of the most effective in diagnostics COVID-19, with high mobility, accuracy and speed of testing.
The Supervisory Board of RDIF has approved investment in a diagnosis system for the detection of coronavirus, or COVID-19. The system uses a SmartAmp isothermal molecular diagnostic method, where the speed of testing significantly exceeds real-time methods. This express testing system reflects successful cooperation between Russian and Japanese companies and scientists.

Telephone conversation with President of China Xi Jinping

The presidents thoroughly discussed the situation around the coronavirus pandemic, given that Russia and China established close cooperation in fighting the infection from the very outset.
The Russian side highly assessed the results achieved by the Chinese leadership and the Chinese people in countering the spread of the disease.
Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping spoke in favour of further mutual assistance and deeper cooperation in healthcare and the development of new medicines.
In addition, the leaders exchanged opinions on a number of other aspects of promoting friendly Russian-Chinese relations.  
The West's Russophobic obsession should have abated amid the coronavirus pandemic but baseless accusations continue. From the point of view of common sense, I cannot comment on it, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. 
  Russian scientists from the Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza have managed to decode the first full genome of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Russian Health Ministry informed on Thursday.
"Specialists of the Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza with the Russian Health Ministry sequenced the first full genome of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in Russia from the material taken from a COVID-19 patient," the message informs.
The Health Ministry informed that the data had been sent to an international database used by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the world’s leading research teams monitoring the global evolution of the novel coronavirus.
From 29 March, Aeroflot will continue to operate flights to the  
U.S. only between Moscow and New York

Aeroflot flights between Moscow and the following cities suspended:
Los Angeles
, 29 March to 30 April
Miami, 29 March to 30 April
Washington DC, 24 March to 30 Apr



  Outstanding Russian diplomat Sergei Lavrov began his diplomatic career in 1972 at the Soviet Embassy in Sri Lanka and became the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry in 2004. Lavrov speaks Russian, English, French, Sinhala, and Dhivehi.
His Western colleagues have called him "Mr No", but still recognise the effectiveness of his fine diplomatic game. Lavrov enjoys watching football on television and is known to be a fan of the Moscow club Spartak.
  The album mostly features images by Eduard Pesov, personal photographer of eight Soviet and Russian foreign ministers, and includes over 100 photos from the archives of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the TASS information agency, as well as from a number of other Russian and international media. 
The photos capture the minister during regular working meetings with his colleagues, with their curious incidents and formalities, as well as landmark events in the history of bilateral relations. 
The photo album was issued by the Boslen publishing house with the support from Moscow State Institute of International Relations Alumni Association, with a print run of 2,000 copies. The book can be purchased in the bookstores Moskva, Biblio-Globus and Moscow House of Books, as well as at the Book Department of the Administrative Directorate of the Russian President, and the publishing house's online bookstore of the publishing house. Proceedings from the sales will go to the Chicherin Centre for Family Support and Assistance to Children in the Tambov Region.
"We called and are calling on the United States to abandon the inhumane practice of applying unilateral sanctions against Iran, which has an acute shortage of means to solve urgent health issues in the current situation of the spread of the coronavirus," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Saturday.
Sergey Ryabkov has blasted recent comments by the US State Department about the country's "malign" use of its own energy resources, calling them an "insinuation" and noting that this is not the first time that Moscow has heard such claims. He added that the Kremlin expects Washington to "chew over the topic" of Russian "energy weapons" for some time in the future.
Ryabkov further noted that the US has long been resorting to scaremongering, including in the energy sphere, to pressure its allies who want to develop their ties with Russia into not doing so.
Russia responds to EU sanctions with expanded list of EU states’ and institutions’ representatives that are denied entry into the Russian Federation
Venezuela update
I wanted to draw your attention again to the fact that all this is happening against the background of continuing US officials’ statements on their intention to further toughen sanctions against Venezuela. They are even discussing the possibility of a naval blockade. This seems unthinkable to us.Who is going to be affected by this policy? The ordinary people, the ordinary Venezuelans. This is typical hypocrisy.
The activities of the pseudo-humanitarian organisation White Helmets in Syria
Accusations of unleashing a disinformation campaign to exaggerate the threat of the coronavirus in the West
The possibility of providing material assistance to Afghanistan



According to the decree of the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu, the Russian Aerospace Forces completed creation of the aviation grouping to deliver the forces and equipment of the Ministry of Defence of Russian Federation allocated to assist the Italian Republic in the fight against coronavirus.
At the Chkalovsky airfield in the Moscow region, 9 Il-76 aircraft of the Russian military transport aviation are concentrated, which over the past night, along with trained crews, were quickly transferred from the Pskov, Ulyanovsk and Orenburg regions.
Eight medical and nursing teams, equipped with the necessary medical equipment are ready to be transferred to the Italian Republic.
The group of about 100 people included the leading specialists of the Russian Ministry of Defence in the sphere of virology and epidemiology, who have significant international experience in combating epidemics.

The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs explains the procedure for extending the period of temporary stay of foreign citizens on the territory of the Russian Federation
“In order to ensure the realization of the rights and freedoms of citizens, taking into account the situation associated with the spread of a new coronavirus infection, from March 19, 2020, foreign citizens can extend the period of their temporary stay in the Russian Federation.
To do this, they need to contact the closest (to the place of their actual location) territorial body of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs with an application written in any suitable form.
For those citizens arriving in Russia with a visa the term of its validity will be extended, regardless of the purpose of entering the country. If the existing visa has already expired, the temporary stay will also be extended.
Citizens who have arrived in Russia in a manner that does not require a visa the term of their stay extends, including cases when this term has already expired.
The application for issuing permits to use foreign workers and work permits for foreign citizens residing in the Russian Federation is resumed.
In addition, labor migrants can apply for new patents without the need to travel outside Russia, they will also be relieved from administrative responsibility for violation of the deadline for submitting relevant applications.
Foreign citizens legally residing in Russia on the basis of a temporary residence permit or residence permit will get their stay extended if their document expires, ”said the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs Irina Volk.



  Question:Certain media outlets say that the Consular Section of the Russian Embassy stopped accepting citizens. Is it really so? 
Anatoly Antonov:Due to a national emergency declared in the U.S. and the rapidly deteriorating epidemiological situation of coronavirus infection, as well as the recommendations issued by the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention we took certain precautions in order to protect the health of our employees and their family members. 
However, the Consular Section of the Embassy and our diplomatic mission itself continues its operation. We will simply refrain from holding mass public events on the Embassy’s grounds and limit access to our diplomatic facilities, as well as reduce the amount of routine consular work. 
We call upon our visitors, especially those who had an appointment at the Consular Section of the Russian Embassy to take our precautions with understanding and, if possible, reschedule their visits to a later date. Russian diplomats will be accepting citizens, who seek assistance in emergency situations and on urgent matters, as well as those who reserved an appointment before March 16 – the date when the restrictions were imposed. 
I wish to emphasize, that Russian diplomatic missions are always ready to accept Russian citizens and provide them with assistance in urgent matters. The Embassy will set up a “hotline” to accept calls from the Russian citizens and our compatriots with information on those who caught virus infection, their location, health situation and requests to provide assistance. 
We are in close contact with the State Department and other U.S. government organizations in charge of epidemiological security. Additionally, diplomatic, not to mention – consular (for instance, in visa matters) cooperation with U.S. agencies remains unchanged. 
Question:Please advise – what will happen to consular visits to our compatriots, who are incarcerated in U.S. prisons? For instance, there was information on the upcoming visit to Viktor Bout. How will the restrictions imposed on U.S. prisons affect the Russian diplomats, who were supposed to visit him? 
Anatoly Antonov:Taking care of Russians, who were incarcerated in U.S. prisons, is a priority of the Russian diplomatic mission. We will continue to monitor the situation around our compatriots. Certainly, we will take any restrictions imposed in the U.S. on visiting places with severe epidemiological situation into consideration, as well as visits in U.S. prisons. 
It is true – we were planning to visit Victor Bout, who is currently held at the Marion prison, Illinois, on March 16. However, due to a national emergency declared in the U.S. we had to postpone the meeting to a later date. We maintain constant contacts with Russian citizens in the U.S., as well as their relatives in Russia.


  Fifty-five years ago, Soviet pilot-cosmonaut Alexey Leonov was the first person in the world to walk in outer space. This was free floating with no gravity. He moved from the spacecraft to a distance of up to five metres and conducted a number of studies and observations.
The whole world applauded this triumph of Soviet cosmonautics.
The Voskhod-2 spacecraft with cosmonauts Pavel Belyayev and Alexey Leonov was launched by a Voskhod carrier rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on March 18, 1965. Ninety minutes after the launch Leonov climbed into a high-pressure suit and walked into the abyss for the first time.
Many years later the public was told that Leonov had difficulty returning to the spacecraft at first because the pressure difference had expanded his spacesuit and the added bulk was preventing him from passing through the Voskhod’s hatch. The cosmonaut could not afford to panic even though time was running out. He slowly deflated his space suit through a valve and squeezed himself into the air lock.
In all, the cosmonauts spent 26 hours in orbit and then landed 70 km from the city of Solikamsk (Perm Region) at 12:02 on March 19. 
Since Leonov’s feat 55 years ago, 232 people have flown into space, including 67 Soviet and Russian cosmonauts, 144 US astronauts, four people from France, Japan and Canada, three Germans, two Chinese, and one each from Switzerland, Sweden, Italy and the UK.
  American, British  and French Allied soldiers liberated by the Red Army from Nazi prison camps leave Odessa. "In a letter to Marshal of the Soviet Union Rokossovsky, Captain Robert Tier wrote: On behalf of the officers and soldiers of our train, I want to express yo Your Excellency and your Army our heartfelt gratitude for our liberation from the Hitlerite yoke. The Red Army has made us free men. After a long journey trough your vast country and several weeks in camp, we are leaving for our country in order to serve again, and together with you to struggle for the destruction of our common foe, fascism". 
  • School For Merchant Navy Apprentices in Vladivostok;
  • The Road To Danzig;
  • Twilight On The Oder.


With its unique fleet Volga-Dnepris able to provide creative air freight solutions like no other airline. Despite the challenges presented by the Coronavirus outbreak. Read more details in AirCargoNews.


Foreign writers have always been drawn to Russia. Our country can offer food for thought and inspiration for writing with its vast spaces, centuries-old traditions, authentic architecture and a lot more. Here are a few writers who have been to Russia and became fascinated by it!

American writer and humorist Samuel Clemens, known to the world by his pen name Mark Twain, visited Russia in 1867 – and even was introduced to the Russian Tsar! “America owes much to Russia for her unwavering friendship in the season of her greatest need”, he wrote in a joint address of a group of American travelers to Alexander II. “That she (America) will ever forfeit it by any premeditated unjust act, or unfair course, it were treason to believe”. In his book An Innocent Abroad Twain describes the hospitality and warm welcome that he experienced in Odessa and Sevastopol.


Spring in the city (Moscow)

10 things you should eat in Russia


"Pipeline to Russia: The Alaska-Siberia Air Route in World War II" – now
available online!

This publication by the U.S. National Park Service and Alaska-Siberia Research Center is free for the public. You are welcome to download and share this book with your friends, colleagues and affiliated institutions, and keep this title in your e-library.

The heroism and dedication of the Soviet and American participants of the Alaska–Siberia Airway will not be forgotten. It is our civic duty to express our deep respect to those whose efforts led to the program’s success and, in the process, brought the war to a close. This is our history. Future generations should be brought up with a respectful spirit of patriotism to understand this history of cooperation between our countries. This edition will preserve awareness of that massive effort for all time.


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