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R 271257Z SEP 22 MID200080258806U FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC TO ALCOAST BT UNCLAS ALCOAST 360/22 SSIC 7000 SUBJ: E-GOV TRAVEL SYSTEM (ETS) IMPLEMENTATION UPDATE FOUR A. ALCGFINANCE 035/22, GUIDANCE FOR TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL ORDERS CROSSING FISCAL YEARS B. ETQC ADVISORY, CHANGE TO C-SCHOOL ORDERS PROCESSING FOR REMAINDER OF FY22 1. This ALCOAST provides guidance for ETS use in preparation for FY23 and required actions for users and approvers. 2. Preparation for FY23: a. To better support the traveler, CWT Sato Travel will turn off the funds check function in ETS while funds are loaded into FSMS, between 01 October and 15 October 2022. ETS bulletins will provide updates on the funds check status. Travelers should obtain travel approvals using the normal routing process to ensure reservations are ticketed. Travel crossing into or originating in FY23 cannot be vouchered until the Office of Resource Management (CG-8) applies funds to the funding reference data (POET). During the remainder of FY22, travelers should not create any new ETS open authorizations (blanket orders) or group authorizations. b. Travel originating in FY23 travel should not be obligated until October 2022. When booking travel that crosses fiscal years, lodging and rental car reservations should be for the entire TDY period to avoid interruption. Lodging must be set to no reimbursement for the FY23 dates and later adjusted via an amendment, to reflect expenses in the correct fiscal year. REF (A) discusses airfare procurement. c. Open Authorizations (OA) from Direct Access: Members in receipt of PCS, Separation, or Reserve orders must check ETS for an OA to use for planning travel. Reserve members will see an OA for Active Duty for Training - Annual Training (ADT-AT) periods, however, contingency travel requires direct entry of a POET to create authorizations. REF (B) provides guidance on the transition from OAs to direct entry of a POET for reimbursement to attend C-schools. Similar guidance is forthcoming for A-school and Accession training travel. 3. Required actions for users: a. Travelers must use ETS to book official travel. To minimize travel costs and meet system goals for electronic booking, calls to CWT Sato Travel should be limited to complex travel needs such as international flights without contracted fares, urgent travel within 48 hours, and booking the Alaska Marine Highway System. b. Mission Critical (MC) status expires 30 September 2022, and any unpaid Government Travel Charge Card (GTCC) balances will become past due at the end of October 2022. Cardholders are required to file a travel voucher within three (3) days of travel completion and should use split disbursement to pay the balance. Personnel with unreimbursed travel must notify AOs to take corrective action. c. Travelers should immediately notify the Funds Approver when travel is cancelled so unit funds managers can de-obligate the funds. Funds approvers or funds managers must manually de-obligate unused travel obligations for trips cancelled after ticketing. 4. Required actions for approvers: a. Approving Officials (AOs) and funds approvers are reminded of their responsibilities as Treasury Funds Certifying Officials. Funds approvers must ensure the POET is accurate and, where applicable, ensure documentation supporting the use of a POET belonging to another organization is uploaded. AOs should verify the form of payment, to wit: Traveler, Travel Charge Card, or Agency Billed, is properly selected and allowed by policy. Additionally, AOs should scrutinize the class of airfare selected and, before vouchering, account for any upward adjustment in costs to ensure the travel remained within policy. b. AOs should poll their members to identify authorizations or vouchers that do not have final approval or are no longer needed and delete unnecessary claims. Command Travel Managers should use available GTCC balance reports to encourage reconciliation before the end of the FY. 5. PCS travel claim guidance. Military personnel must continue to submit PCS travel claims using TPAX. Pay and Personnel Center (PPC) auditors will review the travel claim and send travelers an email directing them to perform actions in ETS and DA, if necessary, to process their reimbursement. The PPC website provides guides on the PCS travel claim process. 6. Travel assistance is available through the online help tool in ETS, guidance on the PPC website, and from the AO supporting the unit. The Travel Assist Team (TAT) remains a resource for AOs and is available through 24 April 2023. The ETS website remains the best resource for ETS-related news, training, and tips for processing travel. Users can access the website at: (Copy And Paste The URL Below into Browser)

7. For other related ETS or Travel Management Officer (TMO) questions, contact CDR William Suter, TMO Implementation (CG-133) at (202) 758-9116 or [email protected]. 8. RADM B.K. Penoyer, Assistant Commandant for Human Resources (CG-1), sends. 9. Internet release is authorized

For more Coast Guard news, visit our online newsroom here.  

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Dominican Republic

Travel Advisory June 6, 2023

Dominican republic - level 2: exercise increased caution.

Reissued with updates to health information.

Exercise increased caution in the Dominican Republic due to crime.

Country Summary:  Violent crime, including armed robbery, homicide and sexual assault is a concern throughout the Dominican Republic. The development of a professional tourist police corps, institution of a 911 system in many parts of the country, and a concentration of resources in resort areas means these tend to be better policed than urban areas like Santo Domingo. The wide availability of weapons, the use and trade of illicit drugs, and a weak criminal justice system contribute to the high level of criminality on the broader scale.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to the Dominican Republic.

If you decide to travel to the Dominican Republic:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Follow the advice of resort and tour operators regarding local safety and security concerns.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter .
  • Review the Country Security Report for the Dominican Republic.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations.  Review the Traveler’s Checklist .
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

Embassy Messages

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Quick Facts

Passports must be valid for the period of stay in the Dominican Republic.

1 page required for entry stamp

Not required for visits shorter than 30 days

None required if arriving from the United States

$10,000 and over or its equivalent must be declared

Embassies and Consulates

U.s. embassy santo domingo.

Av. República de Colombia #57 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Telephone: +(809) 567-7775 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(809) 567-7775, dial zero (0) ask for Duty Officer Email:   [email protected] Hours: Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM except U.S. and Dominican holidays 

Consular Agencies

U.S. Consular Agent - Puerto Plata Plaza el Doral, carretera Luperón KM 3 1/2 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic Telephone:  +(809) 586-4204, +(809) 586-8023 Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  (809) 567-7775, dial zero (0) ask for Duty Officer Email:  [email protected] Hours:  Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM except U.S. and Dominican holidays

U.S. Consular Agent - Bavaro/Punta Cana Palma Real Shopping Center Business Center 2nd Floor Bavaro, La Altagracia, Dominican Republic Telephone:  (809) 552-8990 Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  +(809) 567-7775, dial zero (0) ask for Duty Officer Email:  [email protected] Hours:  Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM except U.S. and Dominican holidays

Destination Description

Learn about the U.S. relationship to countries around the world.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visas are not required for visits shorter than 30 days. Visit the  Embassy of the Dominican Republic  website for current visa information.

All visitors to the Dominican Republic are charged a $10 tourist card fee that is incorporated into airline charges. Cruise passengers must obtain a tourist card if they are disembarking for longer than 24 hours. Once used, the card allows for stays up to 30 days but can be extended at the General Directorate of Migration in Santo Domingo.

Contact the  Migration Department  in Santo Domingo for visa extension requests. Failure to request an extension will result in a fine at the airport upon departure. The fines range from approximately $55 USD for one month to as high as $1,555 USD for overstays of 10 years or more.

All passengers are required to fill out an  E-Ticket  or paper form when entering or exiting the Dominican Republic. If using E-Ticket, a new form is required for each entry and exit and the code generated upon form completion can be presented at the airport on a digital device.

Visitors must have a ticket entering and leaving the country, the financial means to pay for their stay, and an address in the Dominican Republic where they will be staying.

Exit Requirements for Children:  Minors (children under 18) who are citizens (including dual citizens) or legal residents of the Dominican Republic, if not accompanied by both parents or legal guardian(s), are required to present official proof of parental consent to travel. Please see the Dominican  Migration Department's  website for detailed instructions on the required documents.

HIV/AIDS Restrictions:  Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic has restrictions on granting residency to people with HIV/AIDS. Please verify information with the Dominican Republic’s  Migration Department  before you travel.

Yellow Fever Vaccine:  Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers entering the Dominican Republic from Brazil. Similar requirements may apply to those traveling from other  countries with yellow fever risk .

Find information on  dual nationality ,  prevention of international child abduction ,  and  customs regulations  on our websites.

Safety and Security

Crime:  Crime is a threat throughout the Dominican Republic. Tourist destinations are generally more policed than metropolitan areas.

  • If robbed, hand over your personal belongings without resisting.
  • Do not carry or wear valuable items that will attract attention.
  • Be wary of strangers.
  • Travel with a partner or group if possible.

International Financial Scams:  See the  Department of State  and the  FBI   pages for information.

Dating App Robberies:  Several U.S. citizen travelers in the Dominican Republic have reported that they were robbed by people they met through popular online dating applications. If meeting with strangers, you should strongly consider meeting only in public places and avoiding isolated locations where crimes are most likely to occur.

Demonstrations:  Avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if you are in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.

Victims of Crime:  Report crimes to the local tourist police (POLITUR) at 809-222-2026 or  911  and contact the U.S. Embassy at 809-567-7775. 911 is operational throughout the country apart from some areas located near the Haitian border. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on  help for U.S. victims of crime overseas .

  • Help you find appropriate medical care.
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police.
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent.
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion.
  • Provide a list of local attorneys.
  • Provide our information on  victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution.
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport.

Domestic Violence:  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact POLITUR (809-222-2026), the  National Police ( 809-682-2151), and the U.S. Embassy for assistance.

Sexual Assault:  Rape and sexual assault has been reported throughout the Dominican Republic, including at major resorts and hotels.

Notes for your safety:

  • U.S. citizens have been targeted with date rape drugs.
  • Sexual assault victims in the Dominican Republic should not expect the totality of assistance offered in the United States. Rape kits are often not available until the following morning and must be administered by Dominican authorities.
  • Victims often have to request medication to avoid transmission of STDs and reduce the chances of pregnancy.
  • Prosecution of a rape case moves forward very slowly. Dominican law may require the victim to return to the Dominican Republic at some stages of the judicial process.
  • Security outside of the resort area, including beach areas, is unpredictable, especially at night.

Best Practices:

  • Contact the police/hotel management if resort staff demonstrate unwanted attention.
  • Victims of sexual/other assault should contact the police and the Embassy. Insist that hotel management take immediate action by contacting the police.
  • In a resort, avoid secluded places. Always be accompanied by someone you know, even going to the restroom.
  • Do not consume alcoholic beverages alone or with new acquaintances. Do not leave drinks unattended.  Know your limits and help your friends/travelling companions to remain safe.
  • Shout for help immediately if threatened or made uncomfortable.
  • Report suspicious activity, including excessive friendliness by hotel employees, to hotel management, the U.S. Embassy, and local police.
  • Do not swim alone due to life-threatening undertows.

Tourism:  The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities may not commonly occur in all parts of the country. Hazardous areas and activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in or near major cities or major tourist zones. First responders may be unable to access areas outside of major cities or major tourist zones. The ability to provide urgent medical treatment may be limited. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more  information on insurance providers for overseas coverage . 

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business. 

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on  crimes against minors abroad  and the  Department of Justice  website. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in the Dominican Republic are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Arrest Notification:  If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage and  general information on legal assistance  for further information.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, their possession they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See the following webpages for details:

  • Faith-Based Travel Information
  • International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
  • Human Rights Report – see country reports
  • Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
  • Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad

LGBTI Travelers:  There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in the Dominican Republic.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities:  The law in the Dominican Republic prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual or mental disabilities, but the law is not enforced consistently. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States. Accessible facilities, information, communication/access to services and ease of movement is limited in most parts of the country. Large resorts and Santo Domingo may have some generally accessible infrastructure, but travelers should not expect the level available in the United States.

Students:  See our  Students Abroad  page and  FBI travel tips .

Women Travelers:  See our travel tips for  Women Travelers .

Disaster Preparedness:  Register with the Embassy on or before your arrival through our  travel registration website . In the event of a natural disaster or emergency, this will keep you informed. Additional information on  natural disasters and disaster preparedness  can be found on our website. Real Estate:  Property rights are irregularly enforced, and investors often encounter problems in receiving clear title to land. Consult a reputable attorney before signing documents or closing on any real estate transactions. Real estate investments by U.S. citizens have been subject to legal and physical takeover attempts. Absentee landlords and absentee owners of undeveloped land are particularly vulnerable. Consider purchasing title insurance. Scams:  Scammers often target elderly people by pretending to be a law enforcement official, an attorney, or a U.S. Embassy official, claiming that a loved one has been arrested overseas. The caller instructs the victim to wire money. Scammers sometimes impersonate family members, such as a scared grandchild. Contact the U.S. Embassy before wiring money to the Dominican Republic. When in doubt, try to contact your loved one directly.

For emergency services in the Dominican Republic, dial 911 or 809-202-2026 .

Ambulance services:

  • The training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards.
  • Ambulances are not present or reliable in most areas of the country. They are more reliable and available in Santo Domingo, Santiago, Punta Cana, and Puerto Plata.

We do not pay medical bills.  Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas.  Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

Medical Insurance:  Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See  our webpage  for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the  Ministry for Public Health  to ensure the medication is legal in the Dominican Republic.

Vaccinations:  Be up-to-date on all  vaccinations  recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

  • World Health Organization
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC)

Air Quality:  Visit  AirNow Department of State  for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a  list of doctors and hospitals . We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

Health facilities in general:

  • Public medical clinics lack basic resources and supplies.
  • Hospitals and doctors require payment “up front” prior to service or admission.
  • Private hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient.
  • Be aware that some hotels, resorts, etc. have exclusive agreements with medical providers, which have costs associated and may limit your choices in seeking emergency medical attention.
  • Medical staff may speak little or no English.
  • Generally, in public hospitals only minimal staff is available overnight in non-emergency wards. Consider hiring a private nurse or having family spend the night with the patient, especially a minor child.
  • Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals.
  • Psychological and psychiatric services are limited, even in the larger cities, with hospital-based care only available through government institutions

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery

U.S. citizens have suffered serious complications or died during or after having cosmetic or other elective surgery. 

If you are considering travel to the Dominican Republic for cosmetic surgery, be mindful of the following:

  • Have a medical evaluation from a U.S. doctor to determine if you are a good candidate for surgery.
  • Before travel, carefully research the doctor (e.g. qualifications, experience performing the surgery, complication rate) and credentials of the recovery facility you plan to use.
  • Share all health information (e.g. medical conditions, medications, allergies) with your doctor before your surgery.
  • Obtain international travel insurance that covers medical evacuation back to the United States and repatriation of remains. For more information, see: . 
  • See a travel medicine professional in the United States at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to discuss healthy travel and to learn about specific risks related to your surgery and travel. For more information on the risks of medical tourism, see: .
  • Your legal options in case of malpractice are very limited in the Dominican Republic. 

Tap Water:  Tap water is unsafe to drink. Bottled water and beverages are considered safe. Please note that many restaurants use tap water for ice.

Adventure Travel

  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about  Adventure Travel .

General Health

The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Chikungunya

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about  Resources for Travelers  regarding specific issues in the  Dominican Republic .

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:  Driving conditions vary across the country. Drive defensively and with extreme caution.

Consider hiring a professional driver instead of driving yourself. You can hire licensed drivers who are familiar with local roads through local car rental agencies. In case of accidents, normally only the driver will be taken into custody. In 2019 six people died per day due to traffic accidents in the Dominican Republic.

Frequent hazards include:

  • other drivers not using headlights and/or taillights after dark
  • animals in the road
  • missing manhole covers and large potholes
  • uneven road surfaces
  • scooters and motorcycles driving erratically and splitting lanes
  • driving on sidewalks or against traffic
  • intersections without stop signs
  • unregulated and congested traffic patterns
  • speeding or the running of stoplights
  • heavy urban traffic

Traffic Laws:  Traffic laws are not enforced consistently. After an accident causing serious injury or death, authorities will often take the driver into custody, even if the driver is insured and appears to have not been at fault. Detentions frequently last until a judicial decision has been reached or until a waiver has been signed by the injured party.

Seat belts, and helmets for motorcyclists, are required by law. Violators may be fined. There are no child car seat laws. Police stop drivers using cell phones without a hands-free device.

Public Transportation:  Public transportation includes a metro and public bus system as well as shared bus or van taxis known as “guaguas” (converted vans or microbuses, often without doors). Guaguas run regular routes within urban areas and between towns in the countryside. Public buses and guaguas operating in the capital do not meet U.S. safety standards. Avoid unregulated taxis, which also often lack basic safety features. Use a reputable taxi service, either one recommended by your hotel or a well-known, vetted company. Rideshare services such as Uber are available in many parts of the country. Private bus lines travel between large cities and to popular tourist destinations. 

See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Tourism and INTRANT (Instituto Nacional de Transito y Transporte Terrestre) the national authority responsible for road safety.

Aviation Safety Oversight:  The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of the Dominican Republic’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the  FAA’s website.   FAA’s safety assessment page .

Maritime Travel:  The U.S. Coast Guard has concerns about the security practices in the ports of the Dominican Republic. Until those concerns can be addressed, the Coast Guard advises that Mariners and passengers on commercial vessels traveling through the ports of the Dominican Republic should exercise caution.

Mariners planning travel to the Dominican Republic should also check for  U.S. maritime advisories and alerts . Information may also be posted to the  U.S. Coast Guard homeport website , and the  NGA broadcast warnings .

For additional travel information

  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • See the  State Department’s travel website  for the  Worldwide Caution  and  Travel Advisories .
  • Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook .
  • See  traveling safely abroad  for useful travel tips.

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in  Dominican Republic . For additional IPCA-related information, please see the  International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act ( ICAPRA )  report.

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US Reporter Evan Gershkovich, Jailed in Russia on Espionage Charges, To Stand Trial, Officials Say

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage

MOSCOW — U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich, who has been jailed for over a year in Russia on espionage charges, will stand trial in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg, authorities said Thursday.

An indictment of the Wall Street Journal reporter has been finalized and his case was filed to the Sverdlovsky Regional Court in the city about 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) east of Moscow, according to Russia’s Prosecutor General’s office.

Gershkovich is accused of “gathering secret information” on orders from the CIA about Uralvagonzavod, a facility in the Sverdlovsk region that produces and repairs military equipment, the Prosecutor General’s office said in a statement, revealing for the first time the details of the accusations against him.

The officials didn’t provide any evidence to back up the accusations. There was no word on when the trial would begin.

The Biden administration has sought to negotiate his release, but Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it would consider a prisoner swap only after a verdict in his trial.

Gershkovich was detained while on a reporting trip to Yekaterinburg in March 2023 and accused of spying for the United States. The reporter, his employer and the U.S. government denied the allegations, and Washington designated him as wrongfully detained .

The Federal Security Service, or FSB, alleged at the time he was acting on U.S. orders to collect state secrets but also provided no evidence.

Uralvagonzavod, a state tank and railroad car factory in the city of Nizhny Tagil about 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Yekaterinburg, became known in 2011-12 as a bedrock of support for President Vladimir Putin.

Plant foreman Igor Kholmanskih appeared on Putin’s annual phone-in program in December 2011 and denounced mass protests occurring in Moscow at the time as a threat to “stability,” proposing that he and his colleagues travel to the capital to help suppress the unrest. A week later, Putin appointed Kholmanskikh to be his envoy in the region.

Putin has said he believed a deal could be reached to free Gershkovich, hinting he would be open to swapping him for a Russian national imprisoned in Germany, which appeared to be Vadim Krasikov . He was serving a life sentence for the 2019 killing in Berlin of a Georgian citizen of Chechen descent.

Asked last week by The Associated Press about Gershkovich, Putin said the U.S. is “taking energetic steps” to secure his release. He told international news agencies in St. Petersburg that any such releases “aren’t decided via mass media” but through a “discreet, calm and professional approach.”

“And they certainly should be decided only on the basis of reciprocity,” he added in an allusion to a potential prisoner swap.

Gershkovich faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

He was the first U.S. journalist taken into custody on espionage charges since Nicholas Daniloff in 1986 at the height of the Cold War. Gershkovich’s arrest shocked foreign journalists in Russia, even though the country had enacted increasingly repressive laws on freedom of speech after sending troops into Ukraine.

The son of Soviet emigres who settled in New Jersey, Gershkovich was fluent in Russian and moved to the country in 2017 to work for The Moscow Times newspaper before being hired by the Journal in 2022.

Since his arrest, Gershkovich has been held at Moscow’s Lefortovo Prison, a notorious czarist-era prison used during Josef Stalin’s purges, when executions were carried out in its basement.

U.S. Ambassador Lynne Tracy, who regularly visited Gershkovich in prison and attended his court hearings, has called the charges against him “fiction” and said that Russia is “using American citizens as pawns to achieve political ends.”

Since sending troops to Ukraine, Russian authorities have detained several U.S. nationals and other Westerners, seemingly bolstering that idea.

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DeSantis blames Biden’s ‘posture of weakness’ for Russian flotilla off Florida coast

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks while visiting Fire Rescue Station 5 in the Hollywood, Fla., on June 14, 2024.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks while visiting Fire Rescue Station 5 in the Hollywood, Fla., on June 14, 2024. (Pedro Portal/TNS)

Gov. Ron DeSantis is blaming what he called the Biden administration’s “posture of weakness” for a fleet of Russian warships sailing less than 30 miles off South Florida’s coast earlier this week.

In response, the U.S. Navy deployed warships and aircraft to track the Russian naval flotilla. But DeSantis at a Hollywood press conference on Friday said President Joe Biden isn’t doing enough to deter “bad actors” like Russia.

“We’re failing as a country with the deterrent capability, and I think it starts at the top with the president of the United States,” DeSantis said. “I think that history has shown that these bad actors, they respond to strength and they’re deterred by strength. They are not going to be deterred by weakness. They are not going to be deterred by confusion.”

DeSantis added: “They’re not going to be deterred by a president wandering around aimlessly at the G7.” The reference is to the leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations meeting in Italy this week.

U.S. officials told McClatchy and the Herald/Times last week that Russia would be deploying several naval vessels and aircraft for military exercises in the Western Hemisphere, including port calls in Cuba and possibly Venezuela. The Russian fleet – including a frigate, two smaller ships and a nuclear submarine – passed within 30 nautical miles off Key Largo on Tuesday on its approach to Havana, remaining in international waters but coming unusually close to U.S. shores, one U.S. official said.

The U.S. Navy deployed three powerful destroyers, a Coast Guard cutter and a maritime reconnaissance plane to track the Russian movements after learning that a nuclear submarine would be included in Moscow’s exercises – the first submarine deployment of its kind in the region since the end of the Cold War. Officials told McClatchy that they never lost track of the submarine on its voyage to Cuba before it surfaced in the waters of Havana’s port.

The Russian fleet is expected to continue exercises in the Caribbean before possibly making a port of call in Venezuela. U.S. warships would follow the Russian vessels on their way, an official said.

Moscow has conducted military exercises in the Western Hemisphere during the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations. But five years have passed since Russia last conducted air and sea exercises in the region, and past exercises have not included a nuclear submarine.

The Russian submarine, called the Kazan, is not carrying nuclear weapons, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

©2024 Miami Herald.


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

previous coverage

  • Russian warships reach Cuban waters ahead of military exercises in Caribbean
  • US deploys warships as Russian fleet makes close pass to Florida in approach to Cuba

related stories

  • US attack sub, Canada navy patrol ship arrive in Cuba on heels of Russian warships
  • US attack sub arrives at Navy base in Cuba a day after Russian fleet docks in Havana

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Defense for Moscow murder suspect Bryan Kohberger granted expanded access to DNA records

The man awaiting trial on charges of killing four University of Idaho students secured access for investigators working on his behalf to sealed DNA records central to how police first landed on him as the suspect.

At the request of attorneys for defendant Bryan Kohberger, the judge overseeing the widely watched capital murder case expanded review privileges to the protected information as he continues to mount his legal defense. The court’s ruling came after a closed-door hearing on the issue held last month.

State prosecutors initially fought release of documents to the defense concerning the use of investigative genetic genealogy, or IGG, which they eventually lost in court . The advanced policing technique involves submitting DNA found at a crime scene to public genealogy websites to build a family tree and narrow the list of possible suspects in violent crimes.

Judge John Judge of Idaho’s 2nd Judicial District in Latah County ruled last year that the defense had met the “low threshold” needed to show that at least some of the IGG records are “material to the preparation” of their client’s case.

But the Latah County Prosecutor’s Office, which is leading the prosecution of Kohberger, did not appear to formally object to allowing defense investigators to inspect the DNA records. Over the defense’s insistence , Judge did grant the prosecution’s request that the hearing be closed to the public.

Kohberger, 29, is accused in the stabbing deaths of the four U of I students at an off-campus Moscow rental home in mid-November 2022. The victims were seniors Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, both 21, junior Xana Kernodle and freshman Ethan Chapin, both 20.

Kohberger, a Washington State University graduate student in nearby Pullman, Washington, at the time of the quadruple homicide, was arrested in eastern Pennsylvania about seven weeks later in late December 2022. He was back home on the East Coast visiting his family during winter break from school, and brought back west to answer to the charges.

Kohberger faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary. Prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty if he is convicted at an eventual trial, which still does not have a scheduled date.

Unsealing of IGG records left unaddressed

Kohberger’s attorneys also asked that most of the IGG records, which state prosecutors had to acquire from the FBI after its investigators assisted in the high-profile homicide case, be unsealed and made public. They agreed that the identities of relatives to Kohberger included in the family tree process should remain withheld from the public.

Judge did not address the defense’s request to unseal additional IGG records in his ruling that expanded Kohberger’s public defense team’s access to the documents.

In a separate hearing open to the public last month, the two sides in the case argued over the release of other evidence that the defense has requested through the legal process known as discovery. It was revealed at that hearing that a federal grand jury was used to issue dozens of subpoenas for information in the case against Kohberger.

The parents of victim Kaylee Goncalves have consistently vented frustrations about the length of time the case has taken — more than 17 months and counting since Kohberger’s arrest — to bring to trial. A twice-delayed hearing is scheduled for Aug. 29 to hear arguments over whether to move the expected trial elsewhere in Idaho from where the county crime took place.

“The court needs to take control of the case and the attorneys involved,” the Goncalves family said in a statement obtained by the Idaho Statesman after the two hearings last month. “As long as the court continues to entertain anything and everything at every hearing, the delay will never end. … The victims’ families want justice, but, just as importantly, we want the case to move forward.”

Another pretrial hearing in the case to set additional dates and deadlines is newly scheduled for June 27 .

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    During the year PPC Travel processes 144,483 claims totaling $224,083,076 including 1,584 evacuation claims totaling $1,099,376.26 in payments to displaced members and their dependents. ... U.S. Coast Guard Pay & Personnel Center 444 S. E. Quincy St. Topeka, KS 66683-3591. Telephone (866) 772-8724 . ... Defense Travel Management Office.

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    The Coast Guard Travel Program. provides all the resources you'll need for your trip, including guidance on the entire process and support contacts. Please see the program's homepage for the full suite of resources. Here are some key links: Traveler information. ADTRAV - Online Travel Reservations (RezDesk) Government Travel Charge Card Program.

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    How do I make travel Reservations? Full Service: Both TDY and PCS travel reservations should be made online here or for Alaska click here!.However, agent support can be reached 24x7 by calling CWTSato at 800-753-7286; El Sol (USCG Alaska) 844-977-1157 or collect 210-877-3302. International travelers (calling from outside the US) can only call CWTSato using a collect call to 210-877-3302.

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    ETS, the government's current Travel & Expense management solution, serves an active user base of over 1 million Civilian Government employees, and was used for 86 percent of all civilian agency travel in 2017. ... U.S. Coast Guard Pay & Personnel Center 444 S. E. Quincy St. Topeka, KS 66683-3591. Telephone (866) 772-8724 . E-Mail. Customer ...

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  27. Defense for Moscow murder suspect Bryan Kohberger granted expanded

    Fri, June 14, 2024, 12:16 PM PDT · 3 min read. The man awaiting trial on charges of killing four University of Idaho students secured access for investigators working on his behalf to sealed DNA records central to how police first landed on him as the suspect. At the request of attorneys for defendant Bryan Kohberger, the judge overseeing the ...

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