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U.S.-Russian relations worst Ambassador Antonov can remember

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He added that “there is great mistrust between the United States and Russia” at present.

“Today Russia’s responsible for everything, even for bad weather,” he said. “It’s high time for us to stop blaming each other. It’s high time for us to start a real conversation about real problems.”

The heightened tensions come as President Donald Trump has picked two foreign policy hard-liners for key roles in his team: Mike Pompeo as secretary of state and John Bolton as national security adviser.

As with the allegations of election meddling, Antonov said Russia had nothing to do with the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury earlier this month.

“If United States does not want to dance tango, what should I do?”

“If United States does not want to dance tango, what should I do?”

The U.S., in tandem with the U.K., France, and Germany, previously issued a joint statement blaming Russia for the attack. Twenty-six countries expelled more than 150 Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning, with Washington kicking out a total of 60.

On Thursday, Russia responded by announcing it was kicking out 58 employees of the U.S. embassy in Moscow and two of the U.S. consulate in Yekaterinburg.

Antonov explained why Russia had responded by expelling U.S. diplomats.

“If anybody slaps your cheek, your face, what will be the reaction from your side?” he said. “You will retaliate. It goes without saying.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the British allegations that his government was behind Skripal’s poisoning are “nonsense.” Ambassador Antonov echoed this, saying there was “no evidence” Russia was responsible, even suggesting a conspiracy by noting that the attack happened “very close to U.K. military chemical laboratory.”

He asked: “Do we have a motive to kill [Skripal] on the eve of [the] Russian presidential election? … Where is the motive?”

Skripal “spent five years in Russian jail. So it was enough time for us to know everything that he knew,” the ambassador said. “Why we should make revenge? You see that he was in our jail. And you’ll see that he was in our hands. And for us, it’s clear that he’s empty. He knows nothing.”

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Yuri Gagarin: Russia celebrates 60th anniversary of historic first human space flight | World News

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Russia is celebrating the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin, the cosmonaut who was the first person in space.

Gagarin’s 108-minute mission on 12 April 1961 took the Space Age to a new level and marked a historic achievement for the then Soviet Union.

His history-making Vostok 1 space flight and single orbit of the Earth made him a national hero – and an international celebrity – with the United States beaten in the tight race to launch a man beyond the planet’s atmosphere.

Sixty years on, he remains a symbol of bravery, success and pride in Russia.

Russian commemorate the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin
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Russians gather to mark the anniversary. Pic AP

The anniversary of his voyage is marked every year by Cosmonautics Day and sees Russians lay flowers at monuments dedicated to Gagarin’s achievement.

Over the years, he has been immortalised in murals across Russia, with a 138ft (42m) statue on Moscow’s Leninsky Avenue.

This Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 photo shows the 42-meter (138-feet) high and 12 ton (26,455 pounds) monument built in 1980 of Yuri Gagarin, the first person who flew to space, became a Moscow landmark. Gagarin's statue standing on a pedestal made to resemble a rocket exhaust is made of titanium. The successful one-orbit flight on April 12, 1961 made the 27-year-old Gagarin a national hero and cemented Soviet supremacy in space until the United States put a man on the moon more than eight years later.
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There are several statues of Gagarin across Russia, but this one in Moscow is the most striking. Pic: AP

Born on 9 March 1934 in the village of Klushino, more than 100 miles west of Moscow, Gagarin had a humble upbringing.

His parents were farmers and his village was the centre of many wars and conquests, including a German invasion during World War Two.

In 1946, his family moved to nearby Gzhatsk, later renamed Gagarin.

Russian's lay flowers at his grave
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Russians lay flowers at the site of Gagarin’s burial. Pic: AP

Having originally trained as a steelworker, he enrolled in the Saratov Technical College, where he learned how to pilot a light aircraft.

In 1955, he enrolled in pilot school and joined the Soviet air force as a lieutenant, where he was chosen to board Vostok 1.

Gagarin was just 27 years old when he blasted off on the first manned spaceflight.

After landing back on his feet, Gagarin continued to train as a pilot.

FILE - In this Thursday, July 13, 1961 file photo, Yuri Gagarin, the Soviet cosmonaut, sips a cool drink at a reception in his honor at Hyde Park Hotel, London. The successful one-orbit flight on April 12, 1961 made the 27-year-old Gagarin a national hero and cemented Soviet supremacy in space until the United States put a man on the moon more than eight years later. (AP Photo/Bob Dear, File)
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Gagarin at a reception in his honour at Hyde Park Hotel, London, in July 1961. Pic: AP

He died at the age of 34 during a training jet crash in March 1968, and was buried near the Kremlin Wall alongside former Soviet leaders.

There are statues of the cosmonaut across Russia, including in a field near the Volga River where Gagarin landed after his historic flight, and the site also bears a commemorative obelisk.

A theme park was set up there to mark the 60th anniversary of his flight.

Marianna Poberzhskaya, associate professor at Nottingham Trent University, said: “There is still a lasting memory of Gagarin in Russia, his legacy is very much still alive. It is one of the few positives from the Soviet era and it has many benefits to the nationalist identity. Over the years his memory has been commercialised in Russia, through souvenirs, TV shows and statues.”

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Police hunting gunman who shot two, one dead, outside Paris hospital | World News

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Two people have been shot outside a hospital in Paris, one of them fatally, according to reports.

The incident happened in front of the Henry Dunant hospital in the 16th arrondissement of the French capital, and the attacker fled on a motorcycle, a police source told Reuters news agency.

One of those shot has died, the source said, while the other is being treated at the hospital.

Police officers leave the scene. Pic: AP
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Dozens of officers were called to the scene. Pic: AP

A police spokesman said the gunman, who witnesses say wore a hood, fired several shots before fleeing.

Local television said the person killed was a man while the other injured person was a woman, who worked as a security guard at the hospital, which is also operating as a COVID vaccination centre.

Witness Noura Berrahmouni said: “It was so fast we suppose it was a score settling … If not, we think there would be more victims.”

Police say there is, as yet, no known motive for the shooting.

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Two people shot, one dead, outside hospital in Paris – reports | World News

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Two people have been shot outside a hospital in Paris, one of them fatally, according to reports.

The incident happened in front of the Henry Dunant hospital in the 16th arrondissement of the French capital, and the attacker fled on a motorcycle, a police source told Reuters news agency.

One of those shot has died, the source said, while the other is being treated at the hospital.

A police spokesman said the gunman fired several shots before fleeing.

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