* Russian President Vladimir Putin sharply criticized Western powers for their inability to sufficiently plan for the future of Syria without its president, Bashar Assad, and what to do if terrorists come to power in the country.
* Former Russian police officer Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, who pleaded guilty to charges connected with the murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya, told a Moscow court that he had, upon the request of two of his co-defendants, run surveillance on murdered Forbes Russia editor-in-chief Paul Klebnikov.
* Dozens of school students, accompanied by parents and teachers, stormed a district administration office in northern Moscow on Thursday to protest the closure of their public school and held lessons in the seized building.
* US Senator John McCain, well-known for his vociferous criticism of the Russian leadership, has slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime for corruption, repression and bigotry in an op-ed published on a Russian news website, Pravda.ru, in response to Putin’s piece in a US newspaper last week.
* The flagship of Russia’s Pacific Fleet, the Varyag missile cruiser, could join the country’s naval task force in the Mediterranean while on a mission in the Indian Ocean, a high-ranking source in Russia’s Pacific Fleet told RIA Novosti on Thursday.