News of the Day: 7 January 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia surpassed 60,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths Thursday, according to daily official figures. National task force figures showed 506 new deaths and 23,541 infections detected in the past 24 hours. Autopsy-based statistics suggest the official death toll is a fraction of the true number. A total of 3,332,142 cases and 60,457 fatalities have been registered in Russia since the start of the pandemic, around half of Russia’s state statistics agency Rosstat’s own estimate of 116,000 coronavirus-related deaths, not including December fatalities.  Medics, statisticians and demographers have questioned Russia’s official Covid-19 fatality numbers since the start of the outbreak in spring, suggesting an effort to downplay its impact.

Human Rights in Ukraine: Valentin Vyhivsky was just 29, with a 5-year-old son, when he became one of the other victims of Russia’s undeclared war against Ukraine  – those it seized, tortured and imprisoned on fabricated charges.  He remains imprisoned in Russia, having now spent longer in Russian captivity than his grandfather, a victim of Soviet repression. On 7 January 2020, he will be spending his seventh Orthodox Christmas in near solitary confinement, thousands of kilometres from his family in Ukraine.  

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