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By Nataliya Vasilyeva The Associated Press

Women recall the ‘hell’ of Soviet war in Afghanistan

MOSCOW — Sitting in her living room, 65-year-old Tatyana Rybalchenko goes through a stack of black-and-white photos from more than 30 years ago. In one of them, she is dressed in a nurse’s coat and smiles sheepishly at the camera; in another, she shares a laugh with soldiers on a road with a mountain ridge behind them.

Russia blames Israel for shooting down of plane off Syria

MOSCOW — A Russian reconnaissance aircraft was brought down by a Syrian missile over the Mediterranean, killing all 15 people on board, the Russian defence ministry said Tuesday. It blamed Israel for the crash, saying the plane was caught in the crossfire as four Israeli fighters attacked targets in northwestern Syria.

Russians unconcerned by Kremlin’s saber-rattling

BALTIYSK, Russia — Russia held civil defence drills involving 40 million people this month, the largest since the collapse of the Soviet Union. State media broadcast instantly recognizable Soviet imagery, showing school children trying on gas masks, and urge viewers to find the nearest bomb shelter “before it’s too late.”

Problems fixed all over Russia after appeals on Putin’s show

MOSCOW — In just one day, roads of a Siberian city were repaired, swindled fishery workers got wads of cash and a child prodigy was invited to go to a Crimean summer camp. One thing made it possible: President Vladimir Putin’s Thursday call-in show where distressed Russians brought their problems to the leader.