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President Obama has ordered the intelligence community to conduct a "full review" of "malicious cyber activity" during the 2016 election, according to Lisa Monaco, the White House homeland security adviser. In early October, intelligence officials released a strongly worded statement saying they were "confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from US political organizations." The statement went on to say ...

In what could mark an escalation of tensions with the West, commercial satellite images suggest that Russia is moving a new generation of nuclear-capable missiles into Eastern Europe. Russia appears to be preparing to permanently base its Iskander missile system in Kaliningrad, a sliver of territory it controls along the Baltic coast between Lithuania and Poland. Arms control experts shared fresh satellite imagery with NPR, which they say provides evidence that the Iskander will soon be...

Rifle fire crackled over a snowy field in central Estonia, interrupted by the rhythmic thumping of a heavy machine gun. From their position on a ridge, paratroopers from the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade opened up on the opposite tree line, as their comrades below inched toward an imaginary enemy bunker. The foe in the exercise earlier this month was unnamed. But with the Russian border just 70 miles away, it was clear what kind of scenario was being played out. "What you're seeing today...

A Mediterranean-bound convoy of Russian warships will not be stopping for fuel at a Spanish port, Russia said Wednesday, after Spain's NATO allies objected to the refueling plan. NATO members are worried the ships are intended to support increased Russian airstrikes in Syria. The convoy includes Russia's only aircraft carrier. Some ships in the convoy had been planning to stop for fuel in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in North Africa directly across from Gibraltar. It's normal practice for Spain...

A Dutch-led team of international investigators has concluded that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which crashed in July 2014, was shot down by a Russian Buk missile that had been transferred into rebel-held eastern Ukraine. After the shooting, the surface-to-air missile launcher was transferred back to Russia. The crash of MH17 killed all 298 people aboard. The preliminary results of the international criminal investigation were announced on Wednesday in the Netherlands. Investigators said they...

A Syrian cease-fire went into effect at sundown on Monday, at approximately 11:45 a.m. EDT. Just hours before the start of the planned cease-fire, Syrian President Bashar Assad announced on state media that he plans to "reclaim every area from the terrorists," The Associated Press reports. Assad's government had earlier indicated it would abide by the negotiated truce. The planned week-long cease-fire is part of a deal negotiated between the U.S., which supports opposition forces, and Russia,...

Two weeks from now in Surrey, England, a coroner's inquest is scheduled for a most peculiar death. Here are the facts: In November 2012, a 44-year-old man died while out jogging near his Surrey home. The man was reported to have been in robust health, and police declared that the death was not suspicious. But here are a few more facts: The jogger was a Russian banker who had fled Russia after helping expose tax fraud that implicated both the Mafia and the Russian state. Traces of a rare,...

Last month, when Wikileaks published 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee, cyber-security experts quickly said that the hack bore a Russian fingerprint. Russia denies that it is trying to meddle in the U.S. presidential election. But Mark Galeotti, who follows cyber-crime for the Institute for International Relations in Prague, says worldwide research points in the Russians' direction. "When cases like this crop up, you have literally thousands of people who will seek...

The chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign says he never received a single off-the-books cash payment for political work in Ukraine. The statement from campaign chairman Paul Manafort comes after The New York Times reported that his name appears in a so-called "black ledger" recording under-the-table payments made by the political party of Ukraine's former pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. The newspaper says the ledger lists $12.7 million in payments to Manafort between 2007...

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Giant health insurers fighting legal action against their merger plans will get their wish for separate trials. The D.C.-area judge who was charged with hearing the government’s anti-trust suits against Anthem and Aetna said he will only hear one of the cases.

A day after shocking the political and foreign policy establishments on both sides of the aisle with a call for Russia to hack into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's email , Republican nominee Donald Trump now says he was being "sarcastic." Less than 24 hours earlier, Trump said he would welcome Russian hackers releasing any emails they could "find" from the private email server Clinton used while serving as secretary of state. "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able...

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It's the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia - and the ride has been almost as wild as last week's Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Why would Russian President Vladimir Putin want to help Donald Trump win the White House? That's the accusation from Democrats this week, after embarrassing internal Democratic National Committee emails appeared on Wikileaks on the eve of the party's convention in Philadelphia. The emails were lifted earlier this year in a hacking breach that security experts have linked to Russian espionage groups . As part of their pushback against the emails' damning details, many Democrats accuse Putin of...

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Donald Trump wants to advance his business interests in Russia - and Vladimir Putin couldn't be happier. Putin's geopolitical interests rely on weakening the West. To that end, he has supported right-wing populists in Europe for more than a decade. Donald Trump may be the perfect tool to help Putin destroy the West. He supports many of the goals of Putin and has openly admired him. He's cultivated ties to Russia for a long time, including with a Russian gangster once jailed for slashing a man's face with a broken margarita glass. To make it worse, Trump has surrounded himself with advisors with shady ties to Russia.

Russia launched the world's biggest, most powerful icebreaker on Thursday in St. Petersburg. The Arktika is 568 feet long and powered by two nuclear reactors. It can break through ice 13 feet deep, NPR's Mary Louise Kelly reports. The ship set forth early, ahead of its planned 2017 launch, according to Sputnik News and the shipyard where the Arktika was built. "She is one of several new icebreakers planned for Russia's growing fleet — a fleet already bigger than all other countries, combined,...

This post was updated at 3:10 PM Russian hackers have been accessing the Democratic National Committee's computer network for the past year, and have stolen information including opposition research files on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. According to CrowdStrike, the security firm the DNC called in to deal with the massive data breach, one group of hackers tied to the Russian government has been stealing information from the national party for about a year. "They...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auMcWKuB7sA In 2014, Sergei Roldugin told the New York Times , "I don't have millions." But if the document trail of the Panama Papers proves correct, this Russian cellist and conductor — and a close friend of Vladimir Putin since the 1970s — may actually possess much more than that. According to reporting from the consortium of 370 international journalists from over 100 news organizations working on the data leak of more than 11 million documents in what's...

Associates of President Vladimir Putin of Russia have channeled as much as $2 billion through offshore accounts, banks and shadow companies, according to a massive leak of documents from a Panamanian law firm. More than 11 million documents, dubbed the Panama Papers, show how dozens of rich and powerful people around the world have used offshore and secret accounts to dodge taxes and sanctions and launder money. The documents were leaked from the law firm Mossack Fonseca and connect to 140...

Russian President Vladimir Putin just made another shrewd and decisive move with his surprising decision to start withdrawing forces from Syria. Or, the Russian leader was overextended abroad and short of cash at home and was looking for a quick exit. Putin wants everyone to believe the former, claiming the Russian airstrikes and the Syrian government army have achieved a "fundamental turnaround in the fight against international terrorism." But some analysts are arguing the latter, saying...

The fifth year of the Syrian conflict was the worst yet for civilians — and Russia, the U.S., France and Britain are partly to blame. That's according to a new report from 30 aid and human rights groups, including Oxfam and Care International. Titled " Fuelling the Fire ," the report says some 50,000 people have been killed since April 2014 and that nearly a million more have been forced to flee their homes. It also says that as permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the U.S.,...

It wouldn't end all the violence that's torn at Syria for years now, but two key parties — President Bashar Assad's government and a main opposition group — have agreed to a truce, according to a joint statement by the U.S. and Russia. Despite its potential landmark status, the "cessation of hostilities" agreement is being met with skepticism, in part because it doesn't include two powerful jihadist groups, ISIS (known as Daesh in Syria) and Jabhat al-Nusra, and also because Assad recently...

Feryal Salem

The 2016 presidential race has been loaded with rhetoric about a so-called “ ISIS caliphate ." But what exactly is a caliphate? And what does it mean to say that ISIS has one? This hour, local Islamic scholar Dr. Feryal Salem fills us in.

Nearly 10 years after Kremlin critic and former spy Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned with a rare radioactive element and died in London, a retired British judge has issued a report concluding that Russian President Vladimir Putin "probably" approved a plan by Russia's security service to kill the former FSB agent. The Kremlin has long denied any involvement in Litvinenko's death. The two men who are accused of poisoning Litvinenko, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, have suggested he might...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Sergey Ananov wants you to know his helicopter did not technically crash. A crash, he says, is the result of a pilot's mistake. His helicopter made a forced landing on water in the Arctic. And that's where we pick up this story of survival. Mr. Ananov, welcome to the program. SERGEY ANANOV: Thank you very much. SHAPIRO: You were trying to break a new record. What was the record you were trying to break?...

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Justin Lifflander wanted nothing more than to become a spy for the CIA. Growing up during the Cold War, he practiced spying on friends, family, and schoolmates in preparation for what he thought would be a career full of high-tech gadgetry and secret rendezvous. When Lifflander was finally assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in 1987, he thought his dream was coming true. What followed was something Lifflander could never have predicted. He was a mechanic at the embassy, then an inspector of Soviet missile sights, and then a suspected American agent followed at every turn by the KGB. Lifflander found himself living in a world which very much resembled his childhood dream -- but he was never a spy.

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