Macron urges Sofia and Skopje to solve their dispute amid tensions in Europe

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje May 19, 2022

Pressure on Sofia to lift its veto and allow North Macedonia to start EU accession talks has increased since Russia's invasion of Ukraine raised fears of destabilisation in the Western Balkans.

Amid sanctions, Kazakh firm stops supplying Russian steelworks

Joanna Lillis for Eurasianet May 19, 2022

Kazakh companies are treading carefully doing business with Russia.

Romania hopes to unlock Black Sea natural gas projects with revised Offshore Law

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest May 19, 2022

The amendments have been expected for years to unlock several investment projects in the country’s Black Sea perimeters that could bring in 6 bcm of gas a year from 2027.

Nine dead after Tajikistan launches ‘anti-terrorist operation’ in GBAO

Aida Kadyrzhanova in Almaty May 19, 2022

Restive region has seen series of protests since death in custody of activist arrested as kidnapping suspect. No evidence of terrorists in midst of protesters has been presented by authorities.

Poland and European Commission strike rule of law deal to unlock billions from pandemic recovery fund

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw May 18, 2022

Brussels will assess the real value of the pledged changes before deciding ultimately on unlocking funds that could total €4bn this year.

Serbian officials blame bomb hoaxes that paralysed Belgrade on refusal to sanction Russia

bne IntelliNews May 18, 2022

Primary schools, shopping malls and restaurants were targeted by hundreds of bomb threats on May 16, shutting down much of the Serbian capital.

EU opens loophole for Russian gas-for-rubles scheme

bne IntelliNews May 18, 2022

The EU said that companies could keep buying Russian gas through Gazprombank without breaching sanctions for Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, with the condition that they consider their obligations fulfilled once they pay in euros or dollars

Iran, Tajikistan unveil military drone factory in Dushanbe

bne IntelIiNews May 17, 2022

Allies step up defence cooperation as security situation in Afghanistan deteriorates. Iranians have rapidly become a big regional drone power.

Borrell says EU should step up engagement in Western Balkans to counter Russia threat

bne IntelliNews May 17, 2022

EU high commissioner warns decision of most candidate countries to align to the EU sanction policy exposes them to threats from Russia.

End of siege of Azovstal is near as hundreds of wounded Ukrainian troops evacuated

Dominic Culverwell in Berlin May 17, 2022

Hundreds of injured Ukrainian troops were evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol where they had been holed up for more than two months.

PPF agrees to sell Russian banking assets

bne IntelliNews May 17, 2022

Czech financial group finally sells out to a group of investors led by Ivan Tyryshkin, chairman of the fintech SPB Exchange.

Switzerland inches towards Nato as neutrality is put to the test

bne intellinews May 17, 2022

The Swiss defence ministry is compiling a report on the options for increasing Swiss security. One possible result is that the country will re-interpret its neutral status and move closer to Nato.

Critical TV director jailed in Georgia

Javid Agha in Baku May 17, 2022

Nika Gvaramia was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for causing damage to Rustavi-2 TV company while serving as director.

Lukashenko hits out at lack of unity shown by member nations of Russia-led military bloc

bne IntelIiNews May 17, 2022

In front of Putin in Moscow, Belarusian dictator addresses counterparts from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Armenia.

Russia launches homespun Google Play alternative

bne IntelIiNews May 17, 2022

Russia has launched NashStore, its answer to Google Play. The platform was designed with the help of 700 Russian companies, and is intended to help circumvent sanctions. But it only offers a thousand apps at present, and has to be downloaded online.

Significant gains for Ukraine as troops reach the Russian border in Kharkiv region

Dominic Culverwell in Berlin May 17, 2022

Ukraine’s advance in the north-east is an impressive turnaround after Russian troops had attempted a siege on Kharkiv for two months.

In Nato expansion row Erdogan tells Sweden, Finland ‘Don’t bother sending delegations to Turkey’

bne IntelIiNews May 16, 2022

Turkish president doubles down on opposing Nordic nations’ applications to join defence alliance.

UK sanctions Putin’s family and “girlfriend” former gymnast Kabaeva

bne IntelliNews May 16, 2022

The UK has added Russia’s President Vladimir Putin's ex-wife, cousins and alleged “girlfriend” Alina Kabaeva to the sanctions for Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, according to the announcement of Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on May 13.

Moscow plans to re-launch Moskvitch brand with Renault’s nationalised assets

Theo Normanton May 16, 2022

French carmaker Renault will sell its 68% stake in Russia's biggest car manufacturer to the Russian government. Russian officials hail the acquisition as a way of protecting jobs, and plan to revive Soviet brand "Moskvitch" at the facility.

McDonald’s to continue operating in Russia under new name – RBK

bne intellinews May 16, 2022

McDonald's is reportedly planning to re-open under a new brand in Russia as soon as June.