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Putin orders officials to speed up World Cup stadium construction

Vladimir Putin

FILE - In this June 27, 2014, file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony of presentation of credentials by foreign ambassadors in the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow. In a statement published on the Kremlin website on Friday, July 4, 2014, Putin said “regardless of difficulties and disagreements” he hoped that Russia and the U.S. could “successfully develop relations on pragmatic and equal grounds.” Relations between Russia and the U.S. have deteriorated as the two countries have struggled to find common ground in Ukraine, where Russia annexed the Black Sea region of Crimea in March and a conflict in the east of the country has claimed over 400 lives. (AP Photo/Yuri Kadobnov, Pool, File)


MOSCOW (AP) Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered officials in St. Petersburg to speed up construction of a trouble-plagued stadium, which is scheduled to host matches during the 2018 World Cup, including a semifinal.

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In a decree published Monday on the Kremlin’s website, Putin said the stadium - provisionally named Zenit Arena - and other infrastructure must be built on time.

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The stadium in Russia’s second-largest city has been in construction for almost a decade, and St. Petersburg City Hall announced Friday it had fired the general contractor over cost overruns and delays.