UPDATED: Kosovo’s President Hashim Thasi resigns to face war crimes charges

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje November 5, 2020

Indictment on multiple charges related to the 1998-1999 war of independence confirmed against Kosovan president.

Poland announces new batch of near-lockdown restrictions after coronavirus cases shoot up

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw November 5, 2020

Poland will close the remainder of schools as well as most retail and cultural facilities after new COVID-19 cases shot up to 24,692 on November 4.

Turkey fines Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and Periscope

Akin Nazli in Belgrade November 4, 2020

Platforms fail to name representative in Turkey by deadline as required by new social media law. Only VKontakte, the Russian version of Facebook, did so. Bandwidth throttling lies ahead.

EU ambassadors postpone meeting on North Macedonia in attempt to find compromise with Sofia

bne IntelliNews November 4, 2020

Hopes two-day delay will enable Germany’s diplomatic efforts to prevent Bulgaria from vetoing the start of EU accession talks with Skopje.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict shelling of civilians could amount to war crimes says UN human rights chief

bne IntelIiNews November 3, 2020

Armenia’s PM, meanwhile, calls for international investigation into presence of “foreign mercenaries” in Azerbaijan’s ranks after ethnic Armenian forces say they captured two fighters from Syria.

Bulgaria’s “Poisonous Trio” calls for halt to protests to stop spread of COVID-19

bne IntelliNews November 2, 2020

After 116 nights of anti-government protests, organisers say "other forms of resistance" are needed as mass demonstrations risk putting further pressure on Bulgaria's over-stretched healthcare system.

Ukraine faces a constitutional crisis over the sacking of Constitutional Court judges bill

Ben Aris in Berlin November 2, 2020

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has submitted a bill to dismiss all 15 judges of the Constitutional Court that will plunge Ukraine into a major constitution crisis.

Hungary in talks with China, Russia and Israel to buy vaccine as fatalities surge

bne IntelliNews November 2, 2020

Hungary is seeing an exponential rise in new cases and people needing hospital treatment, but the government is reluctant to introduce restrictions.

Below average 2020 wine production destined for volatile and uncertain global market

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow November 2, 2020

First estimates from OIV show drought hitting the grape crops in countries such as Romania and Moldova, while others like Hungary and Russia managed to boost production.

Protest turnout falls to 10,000 at weekend rally

Ben Aris in Berlin November 2, 2020

The number of demonstrators that turned out for the weekend Sunday rally in Minsk fell to only 10,000 as the protest movement loses some of its momentum.

Polish women tell government to “f*** off” as mass protests shake country

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw November 2, 2020

In the ninth straight day of street protests, hundreds of thousands of Polish women and men demanded – in no diplomatic language – liberalisation of the abortion law.

Half of Slovakians tested for coronavirus in one day, 1% positive

bne IntelliNews November 2, 2020

Health Minister Marek Krajci hopes mass testing programme will flatten the curve of new infections.

Pro-EU candidate Sandu leads in first round of Moldova’s presidential elections

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest November 2, 2020

Surprise lead over incumbent Igor Dodon puts Sandu in strong position to take the Moldovan presidency in runoff vote.

Georgian Dream poised to retain power after “far from perfect” general election

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest November 2, 2020

Ruling party just one seat short of majority prior to run-off contests. Thousands gather outside parliament in protest at claimed irregularities.

Azerbaijan’s next move awaited as its troops close on Nagorno-Karabakh’s second largest city

bne IntelIiNews November 2, 2020

Analyst warns Stepanakert could “become like another Sarajevo”.

Pro-EU opposition has its best-ever shot at winning the presidency in Moldova

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest October 30, 2020

Polls indicate Sunday’s vote will set up a rematch of the 2016 runoff between President Dodon and his pro-EU challenger Maia Sandu — but this time Sandu has a strong chance of winning despite top Russian officials’ backing for Dodon.

Zelenskiy scrambles to defuse anti-corruption crisis of confidence in his government

Ben Aris in Berlin October 30, 2020

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was scrambling on October 29 to head off a crisis of confidence in his government that could end the current International Monetary Fund (IMF) $5.5bn stand by agreement and right to visa-free travel to the EU

Lukashenko closes borders, sends top aides to western regions to face down faux Nato threat

Ben Aris in Berlin October 30, 2020

Belarus' self-appointed President Alexander Lukashenko closed the borders to the countries west of Belarus and shook up his security team on October 29, as he grapples to find a way out of the deadlock in his confrontation with the population.

Sofia streets empty as most of Bulgaria put in coronavirus “red zone”

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia October 29, 2020

No restrictions on movement yet despite spike in new infections, but fearful Sofia residents stay home.

Russian residential real estate developer Samolet Group IPOs at a price of RUB950 per share

Ben Aris in Berlin October 29, 2020

The Russian residential real estate developer Samolet Group has set its IPO price at RUB950 per share in a rare listing on the Moscow Exchange that starts trading today that values the company at c.$750mn