Presidential Election Kicks off in Russia

MOSCOW-  Russia’s presidential election has begun in the Far East. Residents of the country’s easternmost regions - Kamchatka and Chukotka - are the first to cast their votes.

Eighty-five Russian regions cover eleven time zones. While it is still Saturday night in most Russian regions, it is 08.00 a.m. Sunday in Kamchatka and Chukotka, when polling stations open the doors for voters, Itar Tass reported.

How Russia votes

At midnight Moscow time, the Sakhalin and Magadan Regions will begin voting. At 01.00 Moscow time, the Primorsky and Khabarovsk Regions, eastern Yakutia will start casting their ballots. An hour later, the bulk of Yakutia will follow suit.

At 03.00 Moscow time, the presidential election will kick off in the Trans-Baikal and Irkutsk Regions, and an hour later, in the Krasnoyarsk, Kemerovo and Tuva Regions.

Army advances in Ghouta towards Kafr Batna and Saqba, secures evacuation of thousands of civilians

Damascus Countryside – Syrian Arab Army units intensified on Saturday their military operations in Eastern Ghouta in Damascus countryside, inflicting heavy losses on terrorists, and at the same time continued to secure the safe corridors for the evacuation of civilians held hostage by terrorist organizations.

SANA said that army units carried out during the past few hours operations focused on pursuing the remnants of terrorist organizations in the direction of the towns of Kafr Batna and Saqba in the southern part of Ghouta.

The army units advanced steadily from Hamouriyah town, which had been liberated from terrorists two days ago, and destroyed the fortified positions of the terrorist organizations at the outskirts of Saqba, continuing to advance in the residential neighborhoods in the depth of the town as the terrorists’ ranks collapsed rapidly and many of them fled westwards towards the town of Hazeh.

Lavorv: Any Plans on Syria's Partitions Must Be Foiled

During an interview with the television and radio company of Kazakhstan's President, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has commented on a wide range of issues: from the situation in Syria to Skripal's poisoning and beyond.

While stressing that the level of violence in Syria has significantly decreased, the foreign minister emphasized that "the process of de-escalation in Eastern Ghouta could start only if the militants stopped shelling Damascus."

"This process has not been underway for a very long time, now there seems to be some hope that these armed formations will separate from Jabhat al-Nusra, " Lavrov said, Sputnik reported.

According to Lavrov, any plans on Syria's partitions should be abandoned.

US Prepared Militants for Conducting Chemical Attacks, Poised to Hit Syria: Moscow

Provocations by US-trained militants groups using chemical weapons will serve as a pretext for the United States to attack Syria, and Moscow has seen corresponding preparatory moves, including the formation of naval strike groups, the Russian General Staff has said.

"We note the evidence of preparation for possible attacks. Strike groups of naval carriers with cruise missiles are being formed in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean, in the Persian Gulf and in the Red Sea," chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff Col. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy said, according to Sputnik.

Over 30,000 civilians leave Eastern Ghouta, army units receive them and provide their needs

Damascus Countryside – Thousands of civilians have managed to exit Eastern Ghouta in Damascus Countryside, as Syrian Arab Army units secured their exit and provided them with their needs in cooperation with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC).

A military source told SANA that 30,000 civilians, most of them women and children, have exited Eastern Ghouta through the safe corridors secured by the army.