3rd Man Detained in Bribery Case Surrounding Russian Deputy Defense Minister

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov inspects the construction of apartment blocks in Mariupol, Russian-controlled Ukraine, in this still image from video released October 15, 2022. Russian Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov inspects the construction of apartment blocks in Mariupol, Russian-controlled Ukraine, in this still image from video released October 15, 2022. Russian Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS
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3rd Man Detained in Bribery Case Surrounding Russian Deputy Defense Minister

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov inspects the construction of apartment blocks in Mariupol, Russian-controlled Ukraine, in this still image from video released October 15, 2022. Russian Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov inspects the construction of apartment blocks in Mariupol, Russian-controlled Ukraine, in this still image from video released October 15, 2022. Russian Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

A third man has been detained in a bribery investigation centering on Deputy Russian Defense Minister Timur Ivanov, the Moscow court service said on Thursday.
It said Alexander Fomin, the co-founder of a construction company called Olimpsitistroy, was suspected of paying bribes to Ivanov, who was detained on Tuesday, and Sergei Borodin, a close associate of Ivanov who is also in custody.
The scandal is the biggest in years to hit the defense ministry, and is seen as a severe blow to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
The court service said Fomin was suspected of "providing services" to Ivanov, Borodin and others in the form of goods, work and services relating to property renovation.
"Also, Fomin and other persons, acting as an organized group, contributed to Ivanov's receipt of a particularly large bribe in the form of the illegal provision of property-related services to him," it said.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday dismissed media speculation about the reasons behind the arrest of Ivanov on bribery charges, and urged reporters to focus on official information.
Asked about a report that Ivanov was suspected of treason, Peskov said: "There are many different interpretations around all this now."
"You need to focus on official information," Peskov said. "It is necessary to focus on the information of the investigative authorities and, ultimately, on the court's decision."

Ivanov was detained on Tuesday at work by the Federal Security Service (FSB), the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB.
Moscow's Basmanny District Court ordered Ivanov be kept in custody until June 23. Ivanov, 48, dressed in his uniform, was shown standing in a glass cage in court, frowning slightly, footage released by the court service showed.



Taiwan Says China Drills More about Intimidation, Propaganda than Starting War

A man stands on a jetty behind a tourist boat and Chinese flags on Pingtan island, opposite Taiwan in China’s southeast Fujian province on Sunday. (AFP)
A man stands on a jetty behind a tourist boat and Chinese flags on Pingtan island, opposite Taiwan in China’s southeast Fujian province on Sunday. (AFP)
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Taiwan Says China Drills More about Intimidation, Propaganda than Starting War

A man stands on a jetty behind a tourist boat and Chinese flags on Pingtan island, opposite Taiwan in China’s southeast Fujian province on Sunday. (AFP)
A man stands on a jetty behind a tourist boat and Chinese flags on Pingtan island, opposite Taiwan in China’s southeast Fujian province on Sunday. (AFP)

China's military drills last week were more about propaganda and intimidation than starting a war, but Chinese forces did show how they could react quickly, Taiwan's top security official said on Wednesday.
China said it carried out the two days of war games starting Thursday as "punishment" for new President Lai Ching-te's inauguration speech last week, in which he said the two sides of the Taiwan Strait were "not subordinate to each other", which China viewed as a declaration the two are separate countries, Reuters said.
China views democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control. Lai rejects China's sovereignty claims, saying only Taiwan's people can decide their future, and has repeatedly offered talks with Beijing but been rebuffed.
Speaking to reporters at parliament, Taiwan National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai Ming-yen said the aim of China's drills was not to go to war.
"The purpose of the military exercises was to intimidate," he said.
The drills were meant to show an external and domestic audience that Beijing "has absolute control over the situation in the Taiwan Strait", Tsai added.
Speaking in Beijing, Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, reiterated its list of complaints about Lai being a dangerous supporter of Taiwan's formal independence, and threatened continued Chinese military activity.
The drills were a "just action to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity", she said.
"As Taiwan's provocations for independence continue, the People's Liberation Army's actions to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity continue."
The government in Taipei says Taiwan is already an independent country, the Republic of China. The Republican government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with Mao Zedong's Communists who set up the People's Republic of China.
China says any decisions on Taiwan's future are for all of China's 1.4 billion people to make, not only Taiwan's 23 million, and has offered a Hong Kong-style "one country, two systems" autonomy model, though that has almost no public support on the island, according to opinion polls.
"Different systems are not an obstacle to reunification, let alone an excuse for separation," Zhu said.
China has never explained how it would integrate Taiwan's vibrant democracy and direct election of its leaders into any plan to govern the island.
China has in the past four years sent its military to areas around Taiwan on an almost daily basis, as it seeks to exert pressure on the island.
But China also appeared to be trying to keep the scope of these drills contained, Tsai's bureau said in a written report to lawmakers, noting there was no declaration of no-fly or no-sail zones and the exercises lasted only two days.
"The intention was to avoid the situation escalating and international intervention, but in the future it is feared (China) will continue its compound coercion against us, gradually changing the Taiwan Strait's status quo," it said.
Tsai added that Chinese forces mobilized almost as soon as China announced the drills early on Thursday.
"The speed was extremely fast, demonstrating rapid mobilization capabilities," he said.