US sanctions entities linked to "Putin's chef" Prigozhin

bne IntelliNews July 15, 2020

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accused Prigozhin of "exploiting Sudan’s natural resources for personal gain and spreading malign influence around the globe”.

IMF head urges Ukraine to preserve NBU independence

bne IntelliNews July 15, 2020

IMF issues warning as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy prepares to appoint a new central bank governor. Zelenskiy promised an “independent technocrat” but analysts are sceptical.

Azerbaijani authorities crack down on pro-war demonstration in Baku

bne IntelliNews July 15, 2020

Demonstrators in Baku pushed for a full-blown war with Armenia after several days of the heaviest fighting between the two South Caucasus foes for years.

Protests in Belarus after opposition candidates blocked from standing in presidential election

bne IntelliNews July 15, 2020

Clashes between protesters and police as hundreds demonstrate in Minsk and other cities.

Protesters try to storm Bulgarian parliament

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia July 14, 2020

Suspected provocateurs try to break into parliament building but pushed back by police. Crowd swells to at least 20,000 in Sofia, and thousands more in 17 other towns.

European Commission approves merger of Poland’s PKN Orlen with peer Grupa Lotos

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw July 14, 2020

Poland's two refining companies to merge to create a “multinational company with a global reach”, government officials say. PKN Orlen lines up its next merger, with oil and gas company PGNiG.

Gazprom swings to first quarterly loss since 2015

bne IntelliNews July 14, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic caused Gazprom's European sales to collapse, and ruble devaluation led to hefty foreign exchange losses.

Lithuania’s LG to buy €200mn of new trains as Rail Baltica picks up steam

Linas Jegelevicius July 14, 2020

Need to modernise its fleet to meet modern passenger requirements as well as progress with international EU-supported railway project Rail Baltica prompted Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai to act.

Death toll mounts as tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan spill over

bne IntelliNews July 14, 2020

Azerbaijan reported the deaths of one of its generals and five other officers on July 14, in the worst outbreak of fighting over the dispute Nagorno Karabakh enclave in several years.

Belarus denies main presidential challengers spots on the ballot

bne IntelliNews July 14, 2020

Former banker Viktor Babariko has been disqualified by Belarus' central electoral commission due to the ongoing investigation into his alleged money-laundering activities. Valery Tsepkalo's candidature has also been rejected.

Turkmenistan urges citizens to start wearing masks to combat “dust”

bne IntelliNews July 14, 2020

New rules on masks and social distancing introduced after WHO visit look suspiciously like those used to contain coronavirus but Turkmenistan still claims to have no cases at all.

Russia's Putin puts brakes on National Projects spending spree

bne IntelliNews July 14, 2020

Putin could extend his signature National Projects investment leap worth over $400bn from 2024 to as far as 2030 owing to the pressure of the coronavirus crisis.

Protests in Bulgaria expand to more cities, get support from US embassy

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia July 13, 2020

"No one is above the law," said US embassy statement, as tens of thousands rallied in Bulgaria's biggest cities on July 13, demanding the immediate resignation of the government.

Andrzej Duda wins Polish presidential election

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw July 13, 2020

Duda’s victory is expected to pave the way for the ruling right-wing coalition, led by PiS, to continue with its reformist – if hugely controversial and divisive – agenda.

Russian Norilsk Nickel reports third fuel spill as it wards off $2bn fine

Vadim Dumesh in Paris July 13, 2020

The timing for yet another fuel spill is unfortunate as the company is contesting RUB148bn ($2.1bn) environmental damages estimated by the RosPrirodNadzor watchdog.

International Fencing Federation announces coronavirus support plan

bne IntelliNews July 13, 2020

CHF1mn support plan to help fencers and fencing federations through the coronavirus pandemic that forced a halt to the sport.

Turkey warns local lenders to accept borrowers’ requests to delay repayments

Akin Nazli in Belgrade July 13, 2020

Retail and commercial borrowers’ requests to delay payments due until end-2020 must be met by lenders, said Turkish banking watchdog BDDK that has taken a proactive approach during the coronavirus pandemic.

Iran blames misalignment and poor communications for UIA PS752 downing

bne IntelliNews July 13, 2020

The flight was shot down outside Tehran on January 8, killing all 176 people on board.

Anti-government protests spread across Bulgaria

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia July 13, 2020

Thousands of Bulgarians flooded onto the streets of major cities on July 12. After years of political apathy, the current wave of demonstrations is looking increasingly similar to the 2013 mass protests that forced the then government to resign.