The Federal Statistics Service released its first estimate of Russia's GDP growth on Monday morning, reporting that the country's economy contracted by 3.7%. *
Russia has been hit by the fall in commodity prices and by Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over the annexation of Crimea and its role in the wider conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Last week, the rouble briefly hit an all time low of 85.97 per dollar.
- A British inquiry has concluded that President Vladimir Putin 'probably approved' the murder by poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB officer, in London in 2006.
Nikolai Patrushev, who at the time was the head of Russia's Federal Security Service and is currently the chairman of the Russian Security Council, is also likely to have approved the killing according to the report.
Mr. Litvinenko, aged 44, died after drinking a cup of tea at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair that contained radioactive polonium - Dmitri Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi are accused of putting polonium in the teapot, allegations which they both deny.
Marina Litvinenko said she was pleased with the report's findings on her husband's murder.
Motion for German operation against ISIS in Syria
The Bundestag has approved Germany joining military action against ISIS in Syria.
Chancellor Merkel's government plans to send send 1,200 troops to the region, as well as reconnaissance aircraft and a warship.
December 3rd, 2015
Britain joins Syria airstrkes
Motion approving UK airstrikes against ISIS in Syria
- The RAF bombed an ISIS oil field in Syria overnight as it joined the coalition.
The House of Commons overwhelming backed the airstrikes on Wednesday night.
British media reports say 67 of 231 Labour MPs voted with the government.
December 1st, 2015
Syrian hospital barrel bombed
Médecins Sans Frontières says a hospital it supports it the Syrian province of Homs was bombed on Saturday.
The facility in the town of al-Zafarana was first hit at 9.40am local time, again shortly afterwards and then again around 10.30am.
MSF says that a young girl was among seven people killed, while a further 16 people were wounded.
November 18th, 2015
Russia's Federal Security Service says it believes the Russian passenger jet that crashed while flying over Sinai in Egypt was brought down by a homemade bomb - 224 people died in the tragedy on October 31st; the FSB is offering a $50 million reward for information about who might be responsible.
- The report published on November 5th and entitled 'Between Prison and the Grave' accuses the Assad regime of carrying out tens of thousands of 'enforced disappearances'. An enforced disappearance is defined as the deprivation of a persons liberty by a state or an an agent of the state and the subsequent refusal to either acknowledge the deprivation of liberty in question or to reveal the fate of the person who has been 'disappeared'.
The report claims that friends and families searching for answers about missing love ones are exploited by 'middlemen' with ties to authority. These intermediaries take bribes in return for information about people who have been disappeared. Family members told Amnesty that while sometimes they approached the intermediaries, there were also occasions where the intermediaries approached them.
October 21st, 2015
Unannounced visit to discuss joint military campaign with Putin
October 20th, 2015
U.S, Russia reach Syria safety deal
Deal to keep aircrafts apart over Syria
Agreement designed to prevent confrontation between U.S and Russian military aircraft operating over Syria.
Lines of communication and safety protocols will be implemented, but intelligence sharing and 'zones of cooperation' are not involved.
The memorandum of understanding, which remains secret, came into effect immediately following its signing on Tuesday.
October 18th, 2015
Sanafi al-Nasr, leader of the group of Al Qaeda veterans targeted in coalition airstrike
Al-Nasr, also known as Abdul Mohsen Adballah Ibrahim al Charekh, is the 5th senior Khorasan figure to be killed in the last four months according to the U.S Department of Defence.
October 16th, 2015
U.S and Russia discuss Syria co-ordination
October 12th, 2015
Human Rights Watch criticises 'disturbing' use of advanced cluster munition
The organisation said on October 10th that an advanced cluster munition had been used in an airstrike near the Syrian town of Kafr Halab, southwest of Aleppo, on October 4th.
- Activists have posted videos on YouTube claiming to show the use of cluster munitions.
October 9th, 2015
$500 million programme to end in failure..
The U.S will no longer train Syrian opposition fighters, shifting instead to a policy of providing 'equipment packages and weapons' to a group of 'vetted leaders and their units'. The Pentagon said the changes would be refined and adjusted over time and cautioned that the effort to take back territory from ISIS would be a 'long and arduous process'.
October 2nd, 2015
Russia in Syria: Coalition calls on Russia to only target ISIS
Speaking in New York on October 1st, Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, said that the country's airstrikes 'did not go beyond' ISIS, al-Nusra or other terrorists groups recognised by the UN and by Russian law.
The spread of ISIS
Russia and the West
The Russian SU24 jet was shot down for allegedly violating Turkish airspace along with another SU24 aircraft, Russia says the downed plane was in Syrian airspace.
Russia's defence ministry says the plane's pilot survived but the co-pilot was killed, as was a servicemen involved in a helicopter rescue operation.
- President Putin said the incident was a 'stab in the back', while PM Davutoğlu said it was Turkey's right and its duty to defend its territory.