Main news of October 18


*The United States is ready to provide Moscow with written assurance that the NATO-backed Euro missile defense shield is not directed against Russia, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher said

*Russia is ready to support Palestinian membership in UNESCO, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov said

*The EU reiterated on Tuesday that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s visit to Brussels had not been cancelled but postponed and that it was committed to further cooperation with Ukraine

*The deal to exchange Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was captive for over five years, for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners is a victory for the Jewish state, a spokesman for the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia said

*Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit returned to Israel on Tuesday, following his release from five years’ captivity in the Gaza Strip


*A bill that would require prospective adoptive and foster parents to undergo special psychological training has passed Russia’s State Duma in a first reading

*Russia’s gas export monopoly Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogaz will succeed in reaching a mutually beneficial agreement, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said

*Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday the trial of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulya Tymoshenko was the country’s “internal affair,” but stressed that the Ukrainian judiciary should not have “a political or anti-Russian dimension”

*Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is interested in the so-called Strategic Earth Defense concept proposed by Russian NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin, a Kremlin source said

*The Netherlands hopes that people implicated in the death of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky will be punished, the country’s ambassador in Moscow said


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