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Man kills 6, then himself, in Colorado birthday party shooting



COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A gunman opened fire at a birthday party in Colorado, killing six adults before committing suicide Sunday, police said.

The shooting occurred shortly after midnight at a mobile home park on the east side of Colorado Springs, police said.

Officers arrived at a trailer to find six dead adults and a seriously injured man who later died at a hospital, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.

The alleged assailant was the boyfriend of a female victim at the party attended by friends, family and children. He entered and opened fire before shooting himself, police said.

The birthday party was killed for one of the people, police said.

On Sunday, police had not released the identities of the shooter or the victims. Authorities say the motive was not immediately known.

Children in the attack were not injured and were placed with relatives.

“My heart breaks for the families who have lost a loved one and for the children who have lost their parents,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski said in a statement.

It was Colorado’s worst mass shooting since a gunman killed 10 people in a Boulder supermarket on March 22.

“The tragic shooting in Colorado Springs is devastating,” the governor said. Jared Polis said Sunday, “especially since so many of us are spending the day celebrating the women in our lives who have made us the people we are today.”

Colorado Springs, with a population of 465,000, is the second largest city in Colorado after Denver. In 2015, a man killed three people, including a police officer, and injured eight others in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

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Jordan’s unprecedented palace drama moves to the courtroom



AMMAN, Jordan (AP) – Jordan’s version of a century-old trial begins this week when a relative of King Abdullah II and a former head of the royal court are brought into the defendants’ cage at the state security court. to face charges. of sedition and incitement.

They are accused of conspiring with a member of the greater royalty, Prince Hamzah, the king’s half-brother, to foment riots against the monarch while requesting foreign aid.

The palace drama broke out in the open air in early April, when Hamzah was placed under house arrest. Since then, he has broken taboos in Jordan and sparked nervousness in foreign capitals, with Western powers backing Abdullah, an indispensable ally in an unstable region.

The case exposed rivalries in Jordan’s traditionally low-key Hashemite dynasty and generated unprecedented public criticism against the monarch. The defendants are the top figures in the establishment who appeared before the security court, which generally goes after drug offenders or suspected militants.

“As far as I know, there has not been such a big case in Jordan’s history,” said defense attorney Ala Khasawneh. He said the trial could start on Monday.

Hamzah, 41, is the central figure, although he does not face charges. In conflicting narratives, he is a defender of ordinary Jordanians suffering from economic mismanagement and corruption, or a disgruntled royal who never forgave Abdullah for stripping him of his crown prince title in 2004 in favor of the king’s eldest son.

The indictment, leaked to state-linked media, alleges that Hamzah “was determined to achieve his personal ambition” to become king. It says the prince and the defendants, Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a royal, and Bassem Awadallah, a former royal adviser, conspired to generate discontent.

Security agencies began monitoring them in mid-March, at a time of public uproar over an oxygen cut at a hospital in Salt City that killed eight coronavirus patients.

Hamzah met with grieving families shortly after the king visited Salt. The indictment alleged that the prince “took advantage” of the families’ pain to spread a populist message.

Hamzah’s popularity stems from the ties he has forged with the tribes of Jordan, the base of the Hashemite government. Atef Majali, a tribal leader in the city of Karak, said that he and other sheikhs have met with the prince more than a dozen times over the years, but denied that the king has been criticized for these events.

The indictment alleged that Hamzah and the two defendants were working on the social media messages that the prince was going to post, with the aim of “inciting some groups in society against the ruling system and state agencies.”

Hamzah has denied the sedition allegations, saying he is being punished for exposing corruption and mismanagement.

On April 3, the day he was placed under house arrest, more than a dozen tribal and public figures were arrested, including his top aide. Only Awadallah and bin Zaid remain in detention.

The prince has no legal problems, and the king says the matter is being resolved by the family and that his half brother remains in his care. The royal court has declined to comment when asked if Hamzah can leave his Amman palace or communicate with others. Atef Majali said that Hamzah’s staff were not allowed to return to work.

Khasawneh, who represents bin Zaid, a distant cousin of the king, said his client is “in shock” and plans to plead not guilty. In addition to sedition and incitement, Bin Zaid is also charged with possession of narcotics after two pieces of hashish were allegedly found in his home.

The lawyer said he plans to call Hamzah to the stand, potentially amplifying the sensational nature of the trial. It is unclear whether the palace, eager to quell the crisis, would allow the prince to make his case on such a public stage.

Khasawneh said his client plans to fight the charges and dismissed questions about a possible plea deal. During the trials in the security courts, the defendants stood in a cage in the courtroom. Awadallah and bin Zaid are also expected to be confined in the cage, wearing the detainees’ blue uniforms, said former head of the state security court Mohammad al-Afeef, who represents Awadallah. The defendants, who are being held in an intelligence compound in Amman, face up to 20 years in prison.

In the days leading up to the trial, a broader narrative has emerged, although it is only mentioned in the indictment.

In this version, the alleged conspirators sought foreign help to exploit the king’s perceived vulnerability at a time when he was under pressure from the United States and Saudi Arabia to agree to a Middle East plan of the now-defunct Trump administration often referred to as the deal of the century. Jordan has expressed concern that the plan will weaken the monarch’s historic role as guardian of the Al Aqsa Mosque, an important shrine in disputed Jerusalem and a pillar of Hashemite claims of legitimacy.

Accusations of overseas disclosure center on Awadallah, who has Jordanian, American and Saudi citizenship, once served as the king’s official envoy to Saudi Arabia and has close ties to Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. .

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In Jordan, Awadallah has been widely accused of economic policies that are seen to primarily benefit the wealthy and has been prosecuted on suspicions of corruption. In Riyadh, he had been visibly involved in efforts to attract foreign investment.

The indictment alleges that Hamzah and bin Zaid invited Awadallah to join them because of his ties to abroad. At one point, Hamzah allegedly asked Awadallah: “If something happened to me in Jordan, will Saudi officials help me or not?”

Saudi Arabia, a major financial backer of Jordan, immediately sent its foreign minister to the kingdom after the crisis broke out, publicly reaffirming its support for the king.

Mohammed Momani, a member of the Jordanian Senate and former Minister of Information, argued that there was a link between the alleged sedition plot and regional politics.

“When he sees that Jordan is under pressure from his main allies because of the Deal of the Century, then he probably saw this as an opening or as a possibility or opportunity to request some support from the outside world,” alleged Momani, who said he was briefed on the investigation.

Momani alleged that bin Zaid had approached a foreign embassy, ​​”trying to ask them for their reaction” if the alleged conspirators implemented their plan. He did not identify the embassy.

Jordanian officials have said the alleged plot was discovered in time, but posed a threat to stability.

Critics said claims of a threat appear exaggerated, noting that any plot would have required the backing of security forces.

“I can’t find any evidence that leads to this kind of trial,” said political analyst Amer Sabaileh. He and Momani are among 92 members of a political reform committee formed by the king to deal with the crisis.

Sabaileh said the saga may have caused lasting damage.

“It has opened the door for the Hashemites for ordinary people to look inward, and I think this is not good regardless of how it happened,” he said. “It is better for this family to be together and not show that there is this kind of competition or sense of revenge.”


Associated Press writers Omar Akour in Amman and Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates contributed.

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AP Interview: Former President Says US Failed in Afghanistan



KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – The former president of Afghanistan said Sunday that the United States came to his country to fight extremism and bring stability to his war-tortured nation and that he will leave nearly 20 years after failing both. .

In an interview with The Associated Press just weeks before the last US and NATO troops left Afghanistan, ending their “eternal war,” Hamid Karzai said that extremism is at a “peak” and that troops that leave are leaving behind a disaster.

“The international community came here 20 years ago with this clear goal of fighting extremism and bringing stability … but extremism is at an all-time high today. So they have failed, ”he said.

His legacy is a war-torn nation in “utter disgrace and disaster.”

“We acknowledge all our failures as Afghans, but what about the greater forces and powers that came here for exactly that purpose? Where do they leave us now? “He asked and replied,” In total disgrace and disaster. “

Still, Karzai, who had a troubled relationship with the United States during his 13-year tenure, wanted the troops to leave, saying the Afghans were united behind an overwhelming desire for peace and now needed to take responsibility for their future. .

“We will be better off without their military presence,” he said. “I think we should defend our own country and take care of our own lives. … His presence (has given us) what we have now. … We do not want to continue with this misery and indignity that we face. It is better for Afghanistan that they leave. “

The Karzai government followed the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001 by a US-led coalition that launched its invasion to hunt down and destroy the Al Qaeda network and its leader, Osama bin Laden, accused of the September 11 attacks on the United States. .

During the Karzai government, women re-emerged, girls again attended school, a young and vibrant civil society emerged, new skyscrapers were erected in the capital Kabul, and roads and infrastructure were built. But his administration was also characterized by accusations of widespread corruption, a burgeoning drug trade, and in recent years relentless disputes with Washington that continue to this day.

“The (US / NATO military) campaign was not against extremism or terrorism, the campaign was more against Afghan villages and hopes; put Afghans in prisons, create prisons in our own country … and bomb every village. That was very bad. “

In April, when President Joe Biden announced the final withdrawal of the remaining 2,500-3,500 soldiers, he said the United States was leaving having achieved its objectives. Al-Qaeda had declined enormously and bin Laden was dead. The United States no longer needed boots on the ground to fight terror threats that could emanate from Afghanistan, he said.

Still, America’s attempts to bring about a political end to decades of war have been elusive. It signed an agreement with the Taliban in February 2020 to withdraw its troops in exchange for a promise from the Taliban to denounce terrorist groups and prevent Afghanistan from being the scene of attacks against the United States again.

There is little evidence that the Taliban are honoring their end of the bargain. The United Nations claims that the Taliban and al-Qaida are still linked. The architect of the US agreement and current US peace envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, says some progress has been made, but without offering details.

Karzai has spoken harshly and uncompromisingly criticized America’s tactics of war for the past two decades in Afghanistan. Yet it has become something of a linchpin in a joint effort being launched by the United States and Britain to get Kabul’s rowdy Afghan leaders together enough to talk peace with the Taliban. The insurgent group has shown little interest in negotiating and has instead intensified its attacks on government positions.

The Taliban have made considerable progress since the May 1 start of the US and NATO withdrawal. They have invaded dozens of districts, often negotiating their surrender with Afghan national security forces.

But in many cases the fighting has been intense. Last week, a brutal Taliban assault in the northern province of Faryab killed 22 of Afghanistan’s elite commandos, led by a local hero, Colonel Sohrab Azimi, who was also killed and greatly lamented.

“The desire of the Afghan people, overwhelmingly, throughout the country is peace,” said Karzai, who despite being out of power since 2014 has lost little political influence and is often at the center of the country’s political machinations. .

Diplomats, Western officials, generals, tribal elders and politicians from all ends of Afghanistan’s political spectrum regularly make their way to the Karzai gate in the heart of the Afghan capital.

Given that the final military withdrawal is already more than 50% complete, the need for a political settlement or even a visible path to a final settlement seems to be taking on greater urgency even as thousands of Afghans seek a way out. They say they are frustrated by relentless corruption, marauding criminal gangs, some linked to powerful warlords in Kabul, and worsening insecurity and few see a future that is not violent.

Karzai had a message for both parties to the conflict: “The two Afghan parties, neither of them should be fighting. “While accusing both Pakistan, where the Taliban leadership is based, and the United States of stoking the fighting, Karzai said it is up to the Afghans to end decades of war.

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“The only answer is for the Afghans to unite. … We must recognize that this is our country and we must stop killing ourselves. “


Follow Kathy Gannon on Twitter at

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Visualizing 70 Years of Refugee Travel | Human rights news



When we entered 2021, there were 82.4 million people around the world displaced by conflict or persecution.

Thirty million of them are refugees, the rest are internally displaced (48 million) or asylum seekers (4.1 million), according to the latest UNHCR report. report. Almost half of these forcibly displaced people are children.

55 percent of the refugees come from three countries: Syria, Palestine and Venezuela.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, “everything else stopped, including economies, but wars, conflicts, violence, discrimination and persecution, all the factors that pushed these people to flee, have continued”, UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said.

Refugee travel during 2020

In 2020, 1.27 million people from 64 countries became refugees. The infographic below shows the desperate journeys these people made despite the additional challenges brought on by COVID-19.

Africa accounts for more than a third of the world’s displaced people. By the end of 2020, at least 30.6 million people were displaced across the continent.

In 2020, about 60,000 refugees fled Ethiopia to neighboring countries following violence in various parts of the East African country. In November 2020, fighting broke out in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, displacing more than a million people. according to the International Organization for Migration.

In the Middle East, Syrian refugees continued to flee their country’s 10-year war, with nearly 134,000 recorded leaving in 2020. Half of them (65,000) fled to neighboring Turkey, which is now home to the community of largest refugees in the world: 3.7 a million people. That same year, almost a quarter of Syrian refugees (32,500) arrived in Germany.

In Latin America, about 400,000 refugees fled Venezuela after a political and economic crisis in the country. Of these, 139,000 were registered fleeing to Peru, 80,000 to the Dominican Republic and 60,000 to Brazil.

In Asia, the UN registered at least 29,000 refugees from Myanmar. Almost all of these refugees reached neighboring India (17,000) and Bangladesh (12,000).

In Europe, at least 89,000 refugees fled from Azerbaijan to Armenia after 44 days of fighting that broke out between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory.

On the other side of the Atlantic, during 2020, the United States received 8,500 refugees from 20 countries. Almost half of these refugees came from just three countries: Venezuela (1,600), El Salvador (1,200) and Guatemala (1,100). This is significantly lower than in 2019 when the country received 32,000 refugees.

Canada received 7,500 refugees from 21 countries in 2020. The main countries of origin were Nigeria (1,400), Iran (1,200) and Hungary (629). On the other side of the world, Australia received only 956 refugees in 2020, mostly from Iran.

Where are the largest refugee camps?

Refugee camps are intended as a temporary safe haven to meet the basic needs of refugees. However, many people end up living in these camps for decades. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kenya: “Many displaced people spend more than 16 years living as refugees in temporary shelters.”

The infographic below highlights some of the largest refugee camps in the world.

The Kutupalong Camp In Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, it is the largest refugee camp in the world. It was established informally in the early 1990s after Myanmar’s Rohingya minority began fleeing various repressions against them in Rakhine State.

In 2017, brutal crackdown targets across the state and the camp had to be significantly expanded, reaching a capacity of approximately 800,000 people.

On March 22, 2021, a major fire engulfed a neighboring refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. Fifteen people died and tens of thousands were left without their homes and belongings.

Smoke rises from a fire in the Rohingya refugee camp in Balukhali. It destroyed hundreds of shelters and left thousands homeless. March 22, 2021 [Shafiqur Rahman/AP Photo]

The Dadaab Refugee Complex Kenya comprises three large refugee camps – Hagadera, Dagahaley and Ifo – and hosts more than 200,000 refugees near the border with Somalia. Dadaab was established in 1991 after the civil war in Somalia and expanded in 2011 after widespread drought and famine.

The Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya it is home to at least 150,000 refugees, mostly from South Sudan and Somalia. The camp was established in 1992 after the arrival of thousands of Sudanese children fleeing the civil war.

In March 2021, the Kenyan government announced that it would close the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps by June 30, 2022.

Kenya said in March that it planned to close two refugee camps housing more than 400,000 people. [Tony Karumba/ AFP]

The Zaatari refugee camp was established in Jordan in 2012 to host Syrian refugees. Today, it is the largest Syrian refugee camp in the world. The world’s first COVID-19 vaccination center in a refugee camp opened there in February 2021.

70 years of refugee travel

In 1951, the UN established the 1951 Refugee Convention, created to protect the rights of refugees in Europe after World War II. In 1967, the convention was expanded to address displacement in the rest of the world.

The infographic below highlights 70 years of refugee travel, from 1951 to 2020. The number of refugees has more than doubled over the past decade, from 15 million in 2011 to 30 million in 2020.

The plight of the Palestinian refugees is the world’s longest unsolved refugee problem. On May 14, 1948, the British mandate for Palestine expired, triggering the first Arab-Israeli war. The Zionist militias expelled at least 750,000 Palestinians. According to figures compiled by UNHCR, in 1952 the number of Palestinian refugees was 867,000. Today, that number is 5.7 million.

Afghanistan has been devastated by four decades of war. From 1979 to 1989, the country was the scene of one of the last battles of the Cold War, when Soviet troops waged a bloody guerrilla war against the Afghan mujahideen. Over the next decade, the county kept fighting. Only 12 years after the Soviet withdrawal, Afghanistan would be invaded again, this time by the United States. The largest number of Afghan refugees was registered in 1990, where 6.3 million refugees were reported.

Which countries host the most refugees today?

At 6.7 million people, Syrians are the largest refugee population today, followed by Palestinians (5.7 million) and Venezuelans (4 million). In 2020, 88 percent of the world’s refugees came from just 12 countries.

At the receiving end, 65 percent of the world’s refugees are housed in just 16 countries. Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees (3.7 million) followed by Jordan (3 million) and Colombia (1.7 million).

In Europe, Germany is home to around 1.2 million refugees, the largest number on the continent.

According to UNHCR, developing countries are home to 86 percent of the world’s refugees.

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China says 1 billion doses of COVID vaccine were administered | Coronavirus pandemic news



Beijing plans to fully vaccinate 40 percent of the country’s nearly 1.4 billion people by the end of this month.

China has announced that more than 1 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the country, as the world’s most populous nation accelerated its immunization program.

The announcement by the National Health Commission (NHC) comes after the number of injections given globally surpassed 2.5 billion on Friday, according to an AFP tally from official sources.

The NHC did not say how many people had been vaccinated. As elsewhere, most vaccines in China are given in two doses.

The pace of vaccinations has accelerated in the country of 1.4 billion people after a slow start. The total number of doses administered doubled from 500 million in less than a month, according to government figures.

Lack of transparency and past vaccine scandals have also sparked resistance from residents.

Authorities have set an ambitious goal of fully vaccinating 40 percent of the country’s nearly 1.4 billion people by the end of this month.

Incentives for vaccines

Some provinces are offering vaccines for free to encourage people to roll up their sleeves. Residents of the central province of Anhui received free eggs, while some living in Beijing received shopping vouchers.

A recent outbreak of the most contagious Delta variant of the virus in the southern city of Guangzhou has also served as a wake-up call for many shufflers.

China reported 23 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday.

The country has four conditionally approved vaccines, whose published efficacy rates lag behind rival hits from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which have success rates of 95 percent and 94 percent, respectively.

China’s Sinovac previously said that trials of its injection in Brazil showed about 50 percent effectiveness in preventing infections and 80 percent in preventing cases requiring medical intervention.

Sinopharm’s two vaccines have efficacy rates of 79 percent and 72 percent respectively, while CanSino’s overall efficacy is 65 percent after 28 days.

Regulators have not approved any non-Chinese vaccines so far, although they appear to be moving to do so for the one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

China is expected to produce more than three billion doses of vaccines this year, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported in April.

Health authorities have not said when China will achieve herd immunity or what proportion of its vaccine doses will be sold abroad.

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Pope on Myanmar: houses of worship serve as neutral refuge



VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Francis on Sunday condemned the suffering of refugees in Myanmar and called for houses of worship to be respected as neutral places of refuge.

He told the public gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his customary midday remarks Sunday that he was joining his voice with that of the Asian nation’s bishops by also asking for humanitarian corridors.

Francis lamented that thousands of displaced people in Myanmar are “starving.” The violence, including the devastation of villages, has become endemic since the army took power in February, toppling the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

A nonviolent civil disobedience movement is challenging the military rule, but the junta’s attempt to suppress it with deadly force has fueled resistance.

Francis noted that the Catholic bishops of Myanmar launched an appeal last week, “drawing the attention of the world to the heartbreaking experience of thousands of people in that country who are displaced and starving.” He added that he was joining the ecclesiastical call for humanitarian corridors to allow the safe passage of those who flee.

Echoing the bishops, Francis also insisted that “churches, pagodas, monasteries, mosques, temples, as well as schools and hospitals, be respected as neutral places of refuge.”

The pope then prayed for peace in Myanmar before pointing out that Sunday was World Refugee Day, an initiative promoted by the United Nations.

“Let us open our hearts to the refugees,” the Pope said. “Let us make his sadness and his joys ours, let us learn from his courageous resilience,” Francis said.

In that way, he said, “all together, we will develop a more humane community, a great family.”

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Prominent UAE Activist Alaa al-Siddiq Dies in London Car Accident | Human rights news



Alaa was the CEO of a UK-based non-profit organization that advocated for human rights in the Gulf.

Alaa al-Siddiq, a prominent dissident Emirati activist and rights critic, was killed in a car accident in London.

Alaa was the CEO of the UK-based ALQST, a non-profit organization that advocates for greater freedoms and human rights in the UAE and the wider Gulf region.

“With deep sadness, ALQST mourns the sudden death of its beloved and respected CEO Alaa Al-Siddiq on Saturday, June 19, 2021,” the group said in a tweet. “May he rest in power.”

His father, Mohammad al-Siddiq, is also a prominent activist who has been detained by the Emirati authorities since 2013.

Today, the capable Emirati researcher and honest sister, Professor Alaa al-Siddiq, left this world, while her father, Mohammad al-Siddiq languishes in the famous prisons of the [United Arab] Emirates, ”wrote Saudi activist Abdullah al-Awda.

According to Doha News, Alaa and her husband sought asylum in Qatar in 2012, where they had been living with their relatives.

The activist’s presence in Qatar and Doha’s stance towards political activists at a time when the UAE was cracking down on dissenting voices, led to a rift between the two neighbors.

In 2018, Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani said that a dispute between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates had taken place in 2015 regarding the wife of a political dissident.

Abu Dhabi had sent an envoy to Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to request that the woman in question be handed over to the Emirati authorities, a request that was rejected by the Qatari ruler.

Although kept secret, Abdullah al-Athbah, editor-in-chief of Qatar’s al-Arab newspaper, later said that it was Alaa that the Emiratis were seeking to repatriate.

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Russian Ambassador Returns to US to Build “Equal and Pragmatic” Ties | Russia News



Diplomatic relations between the two countries had practically broken down since Biden took office.

Russia’s ambassador to the United States flew back to Washington, DC, and said he hoped to build “equal and pragmatic” ties after a US-Russian summit in Geneva aimed at reducing tensions.

The plane carrying Ambassador Anatoly Antonov, who was called for consultations in March, left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday for New York, where it will travel to Washington, Russian news agencies reported.

“Given the results of the meeting between the two presidents, I am counting on constructive work with my American colleagues to build egalitarian and pragmatic relationships,” Antonov told Ria Novosti news agency, adding that he was in “an optimistic mood.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, following talks at the Geneva summit with his US counterpart Joe Biden, said on Wednesday that Moscow and Washington agreed to return their ambassadors to their posts.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries had all but been severed since Biden took office and accused the Kremlin of interfering in the US elections and launching cyberattacks.

After Biden disliked Putin as a “murderer,” Russia in March took the rare step of calling Ambassador Antonov and saying that US envoy John Sullivan to Moscow should return to Washington.

Sullivan left Moscow in April when the two countries announced a wave of tit-for-tat sanctions and expulsions of diplomats.

“After an important summit, I hope to return to Moscow soon,” Sullivan said in a tweet from US embassy spokesman Jason Rebholz.

Relations between the United States and Russia have deteriorated for years, notably with Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, its intervention in Syria in 2015, and accusations by the United States, denied by Moscow, of meddling in the 2016 election won by Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump.

Putin said last week that it was “difficult to say” whether relations would improve, but that there was a “glimmer of hope.”

The Russian leader called Biden a constructive and experienced partner, and said they spoke “the same language.”

But he added that there has been no friendship, but a pragmatic dialogue on the interests of his two countries.

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