On May 20 the Latvian court plans to hear the case of veteran antifascist Vasili Kononov, 79. The Latvian Prosecutor-General's Office accuses him of "genocide against the Latvian people and of military crimes". Persecution against Kononov has lasted for three and a half years. He is the first citizen in Latvian history accused of having committed "military crimes". One is a partisan operation in the village of Malye Baty, in which nine people are alleged to be killed -- six policemen and three members of their families, one pregnant woman among them. In January 2000 the Riga district court sentenced Kononov to six years in prison. On April 25 of the same year the Latvian Supreme Court reversed the judgement, released the defendant and sent the case for additional investigation. Kononov's health has sharply worsened of late. Observers say the May 20 court hearing may be put off till autumn.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea