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Russia releases jailed Ukrainian pilot Savchenko

Russia has released Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko. Credit: Reuters

Ukrainian military pilot Nadiya Savchenko arrived home in Kiev on Wednesday after nearly two years in a Russian jail.

"A presidential plane with Ukraine's hero Nadiya Savchenko has landed," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in a post on Twitter.

Russia released jail Savchenko in exchange two Russians held by the Ukrainian government.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had pardoned Savchenko on "humanitarian considerations" in the hope that her release would help reduce tension in the Ukraine conflict and avoid further loss of life.

The servicewoman volunteered to fight with a ground unit against pro-Moscow separatists who challenged Kiev's rule in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

She was captured by Russia-backed rebels and sentenced in March to 22 years in prison for her alleged role in the deaths of two Russian journalists in the conflict zone.

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US Justice Department 'opens investigation into Russian doping scandal'

A WADA report alleged widespread doping by Russian athletes in November Credit: Reuters

The US Justice Department is investigating allegations of state-sponsored doping by "dozens" of top athletes in Russia, according to the New York Times.

Russia's Athletics Federation is currently suspended from all competitions - including the Olympic Games in Brazil, following a vote by the IAAF in November.

It led to the acting head of Russian Athletic Federation, Vadim Zelichenok, threatening to resign.

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Three suicide bombers set off blasts in Russia

Three suicide bombers have blown themselves up near a police department in the southern Stavropol region of Russia, according to a report from Russian news agency Sputnik.

Stavropol police confirmed the attack to Russian media and said that no one aside from the attackers was hurt.

Three suicide bombers allegedly detonated themselves near the police station in the Novoselitsk District of the Stavropol region.

The terrorists died, and around five explosions were heard.

– Law enforcement source speaking to Ria Novosti

It was not clear who carried out the attack, though Russia has struggled with an Islamist insurgency on its southern borders.

Magnitude 6.6 earthquake hits Russia's Commander Islands

. Credit: Bing Maps

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake has hit near the Commander Islands, also known as Komandorskiye, off the coast of Russia according to the US geological survey.

The quake struck at a depth of 18.4 miles, 140 miles west-southwest off Komandorskiye.

According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center there is "no danger of a Pacific-wide tsunami" following the quake.

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