Putin threatens to pull plug on Biden showdown talks – World on brink


The Kremlin did not say what those steps were. Mr Biden, in a phone call on Tuesday, proposed a summit of the estranged leaders to tackle a raft of disputes and told Moscow to reduce tensions over Ukraine triggered by a Russian military build-up. Frustrations are also arising over Mr Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday that a US plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan within six months violated an agreement with the Taliban and could lead to an escalation, the Interfax news agency reported.

US President Joe Biden plans to withdraw his country’s remaining 2,500 troops from Afghanistan by September 11 – 20 years to the day after the al Qaeda attacks on US soil that triggered America’s longest war, US officials said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Russian state prosecutors asked a court on Wednesday to sentence Lyubov Sobol, a close ally of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, to a year of community service for using violence to trespass on private property, the TASS news agency reported.

Sobol’s trial comes amid a crackdown on Navalny’s allies and supporters, who staged several rallies to protest over his jailing earlier this year. The case relates to an incident in December.

In its account, the Investigative Committee has said that Sobol and several others tried to gain entry to an elderly woman’s flat in Moscow, wearing uniforms used by the state consumer health watchdog.

Her supporters said that she rang the doorbell of a flat owned by the family of a man who Navalny has said was an FSB security service officer involved in his poisoning with a nerve agent. The FSB has dismissed Navalny’s account of the poisoning.

On Wednesday, the prosecutor asked the court to dock 20% of Sobol’s salary and award it to the state and to sentence her to community service. It was possible the court would reach a verdict in the case later on Wednesday.

Sobol also faces separate charges of flouting COVID-19 restrictions during a protest in January. She was put under house arrest in that case, but the court eased that restriction for her and several other Navalny allies last week.


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