A meeting between the leaders of Russia, Ukraine and the European Union in Minsk next week is a step towards defusing the conflict in Ukraine, the speaker of the Russian parliament was quoted as saying on Thursday. "The Minsk meeting is one of the stages on the way towards de-escalation of this conflict," Sergei Naryshkin was quoted by state-run RIA news agency as saying.
Russia's food safety watchdog is conducting checks at McDonald's restaurants in the Tatarstan region and will begin scheduled checks at its outlets in the region of Bashkortostan later this month, Interfax news agency reported on Thursday. On Wednesday, the agency ordered the suspension of operations at four McDonald's restaurants in Moscow over what it said were "numerous" sanitary law breaches. It is also conducting unscheduled checks at McDonald's restaurants in the Ural mountains region of Sverdlovsk and plans checks in the southern Krasnodar region next week.