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Two stations in Moscow evacuated after bomb threat

Two railway stations in Moscow, Russia, were evacuated after police received a tip-off that bombs had been planted, according to the RIA news agency.

Around 500 people were forced to leave Paveletsky and Kursky stations earlier today.

Citing an emergency services source, the agency said a search involving sniffer dogs had not found any explosives at Kursky, but did not mention what happened at Paveletsky station.

It comes after two stations in Munich, Germany, were evacuated following a terror alert overnight.

Russia sanctions Turkey after plane shot down

Russia will impose a string of economic sanctions against Turkey after one of its fighter jets was shot down near the Syrian border, it has been announced.

From January 1, Turkish companies will be barred from construction, tourism, the hotel business and services for state and municipal needs in Russia.

Turkey has argued the Russian jet had violated its airspace, which Russia denies.

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European chief 'cannot see' Russia competing in Rio

European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen does not expect Russia to return to international competition in time to take part in next year's Rio Olympics.

Russia's athletics federation has been banned by the IAAF following allegations of widespread doping, and must meet a series of conditions before being readmitted.

An IAAF inspection team is due to visit Russia in January. Credit: PA

However, Hansen does not believe there is enough time for Russia to complete the process before the Olympic Games begin in August.

"For the moment they have to fulfil the conditions, but I cannot really see them competing in Rio," Hansen said in Athletics Weekly magazine.

"They must have a cultural change. They must get rid of all those people from before.

"We know some good people in Russian athletics and I'm sure they will be elected. We hope that some new people will come in who really understand that this must be changed."

An IAAF inspection team is due to visit Russia in January, and could then report back to the IAAF Council at its next meeting on March 27.

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Russia fires 'warning shots' at Turkish vessel in Aegean

Russia has said one of its warships was been forced to fire warning shots at a Turkish vessel in the Aegean Sea to avoid a collision, its defence ministry has said.

It also said that the Turkish military attache has been summoned over the incident involving the Russian destroyer Smetlivy.

Russian destroyer Smetlivy pictured in 2013 Credit: Reuters

The Interfax news agency reported that the Turkish vessel, which the ministry did not name, had failed to respond to earlier warnings, but had sharply changed course after shots were fired before passing within 500 metres of the Russian warship.

Tensions are high between the two countries after Turkey downed a Russian jet near the Syrian border last month, which led to one of its pilots being killed.

Russia President Vladamir Putin has ordered economic sanctions in retaliation for the incident on 24 November.

Russia assists Free Syrian Army to take on IS

File photo of Putin and Assad shaking hands Credit: Reuters

Russia is helping the Free Syrian Army with air support, weapons and ammunition in joint operations with regular Syrian forces against so-called Islamic State, President Putin said.

Russia has been supporting the government forces of President Bashar al-Assad - who are fighting the Free Syrian Army in parts of the country, as well as so-called Islamic State and many other factions of rebel groups who want to oust the government.

But Russia's airstrikes are now assisting in "uniting the efforts of government troops and the Free Syrian Army".

Russia's aerial bombing campaign in Syria has previously been criticised by Western analysts and rebel sources who say most of the Russian bombing - which they say is attacking IS - has targeted anti-Assad groups who are not jihadists.

The work of our aviation group assists in uniting the efforts of government troops and the Free Syrian Army.

Now several of its units numbering over 5,000 troops are engaged in offensive actions against terrorists, alongside regular forces, in the provinces of Homs, Hama, Aleppo and Raqqa.

We support it from the air, as well as the Syrian army, we assist them with weapons, ammunition and provide material support.

– Putin
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