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The latest news and stories from Russia. Stay tuned for updates and breaking news on defense, politics, economy and more.

Morning re-cap of main news, December 8

* Russian and British investigators started questioning Andrei Lugovoi, a key witness in the murder of Russian security service defector Alexander Litvinenko by radiation poisoning, a source close to investigators said

* Russia's federal security service chief Nikolai Patrushev denied claims by Akhmed Zakayev, a Chechen separatist emissary living in London, that Russian special forces used radioactive polonium-210 in Chechnya

* Gazprom's board chairman said Dmitry Medvedev said the Russian energy giant might join the Kovykta gas project in East Siberia operated by TNK-BP if talks with the British-Russian joint venture were successful

* Russian Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said foreign companies would be able to participate in Russian energy giant Gazprom's ambitious Shtokman project off Russia's Arctic coast

* Russia's Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev said Russian authorities had all but lost control over compliance with environmental laws in the development of mineral resources

* Uzbekneftegaz oil and gas company agreed with Gazprom to deliver Uzbek natural gas to Russia in 2007 at $100 per 1,000 cubic meters, a spokesman for the Uzbek company said

* A U.S. airman who killed a Kyrgyz national Wednesday acted in self-defense and in accordance with security instructions, the U.S. airbase in Kyrgyzstan said in a news release

* A senior Russian diplomat said Moscow would not ratify the Energy Charter, but would resolve contentious issues with the EU through the Russia-EU cooperation agreement currently being prepared.

* Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fatyga said Warsaw would lift its veto on Russia-EU talks on a new partnership deal if Moscow ended its ban on meat imports from Poland within 50 days

* Energy ministers of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey met in Tbilisi and agreed that Georgia, which asked to raise gas supplies after Russia threatened to double the gas price, would receive 10 million cu m of gas from Azerbaijan until the end of this year; Turkey agreed to share its Caspian gas quota with Georgia and Azerbaijan

* A lawyer said Russian prosecutors extended an investigation into a new money laundering case involving bankrupt oil company Yukos until March 2

* A court decided to postpone for another 72 hours a ruling on the arrest of Tomsk Mayor Alexander Makarov who suffered a heart attack when a graft probe was opened against him

* Prosecutors in the Moscow Region said they had arrested four suspects in the murder of an Armenian boy last month

* Six people were killed and 25 injured in a road accident in the Perm Territory in the Urals, after a bus transporting oil company LUKoil workers collided wit a crane

* Russia's upper house, the Federation Council, passed the 2007 budget, with a budget surplus set at $56.54 billion

* The first plane carrying Russian combat engineers who helped Lebanon repair infrastructure devastated in fighting between Hizbollah and the Israeli military this summer has flown out of Beirut, a defense ministry official said

* Russia's Supreme Court agreed to launch criminal proceedings in absentia against former senator Levon Chakhmakhchyan, currently in hospital

* The board of directors of the Russian electricity monopoly decided that the base scenario for divesting electricity sales assets of Unified Energy System would be public auctions

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