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Main News of December 17

© RIA NovostiMain News of December 17
Main News of December 17 - Sputnik International
A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours


* The arrest of an independent election monitor in the oil-rich authoritarian former Soviet state of Azerbaijan drew vocal international condemnation

* Western officials have reacted with alarm at Russia’s deployment of tactical missiles on areas bordering NATO members states, describing it as a potentially destabilizing move

* Russia is ready to provide a naval escort for ships carrying chemical weapons being removed from Syria, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said


* Russia on Tuesday sharply lowered natural gas prices for Ukraine and provided its economically struggling neighbor with a multibillion loan package in a move that Ukraine’s government may hope will spell an end to ongoing street protests

* A former senior Moscow Region official has been ordered by a court to pay 950 million rubles ($29 million) to the state, the largest ever fine imposed in Russia, for attempted bribery, the Interior Ministry reported


* At least one alleged militant was killed as gunmen clashed with police forces in the restive southern Russian republic of Dagestan, officials reported


* Vitali Klitschko has vacated his World Boxing Council heavyweight title to focus on his political battles in his native Ukraine, the organization has said


* Iran believes its contract to buy S-300 missile defense systems from Russia is legitimate and expects it to be fulfilled, Iran’s ambassador to Russia said

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