Sanctioned Russian banks seeking way out of Kazakhstan

Almaz Kumenov for Eurasianet April 21, 2022

Alfa-Bank Kazakhstan has been fully bought out by Kazakh peer CenterCredit.

ISKP attack on Uzbekistan WAS launched but rockets failed to cross border say Taliban

bne IntelIiNews April 21, 2022

Statement might explain why Tashkent denied there was any evidence of an incident and may rekindle fears terrorists in Afghanistan have started to target Central Asia.

Iran claims it’s rejected US offers of sanctions removal in return for scrapping plan to avenge Soleimani

bne IntelIiNews April 21, 2022

Assassination of top general in 2020 and Donald Trump’s designation of Revolutionary Guard as “terrorist” remain sensitive matters that could end efforts to revive 2015 nuclear deal.

Biden announces yet another $800mn military aid package for Ukraine that will arrive in Kyiv by the weekend

Ben Aris in Berlin April 21, 2022

US President Joe Biden announced he was authorising a eighth $800mn military aid package, only a week after signing off on a similar $800mn package, as Ukraine prepares for the Battle of Donbas that is expected to start in earnest any day now.

Ukraine conflict will trigger recessions across CEE, says Capital Economics

bne IntelliNews April 21, 2022

Russian GDP forecast to slump 12% in 2022, while Ukraine's GDP will halve. Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Baltic states will have two quarters of negative growth.

Chinese UnionPay payment system backs away from Russian banks on secondary sanctions fears

bne IntelliNews April 21, 2022

Russia’s efforts to bypass the SWIFT sanctions that effectively cut it off from the global payment system took a body blow on April 20 after China’s UnionPay payment system said it is wary of cooperating with sanctioned Russian banks.

Ukrainian millionaire asks the military to bomb his mansion after it was occupied by Russian troops

Social media correspondent Dominic Culverwell April 21, 2022

A Ukrainian millionaire asked the Ukrainian Armed Forces to bomb his newly completed mansion after discovering that Russian troops were using it as an artillery position.

Former Slovak premier Robert Fico charged with running organised criminal group

bne IntelliNews April 21, 2022

The case could destroy his political career or become another own goal for the government if police fail to make the charges stick.

Erdogan opponent taunts president over his failed ‘Vision 2023’

bne IntelIiNews April 20, 2022

“What did you promise for 2023? With eight months to 2023, our nation in today’s Turkey waits in line for bread and butter and buys tomatoes and peppers piece by piece,” says IYI party leader Aksener.

Possible prisoner exchange between captured British fighters and Putin ally Viktor Medvedchuk

Dominic Culverwell in Berlin April 20, 2022

Pro-Russian MP Viktor Medvedchuk, who is currently being detained by Ukraine’s State Security Service (SBU), has asked to be exchanged for Ukrainian soldiers captured in Mariupol, Interfax Ukraine reported on April 18.

Outcry in North Macedonia over Bulgarian cultural centre named for Nazi collaborator

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje April 19, 2022

North Macedonia’s opposition and Jewish community call on EU to condemn Bulgaria for naming cultural centre after Nazi collaborator amid efforts by the two countries to resolve differences and unblock Skopje’s EU path.

ISKP terrorists in Afghanistan said to claim rocket attack on Uzbekistan

bne IntelIiNews April 19, 2022

A regional affiliate of Islamic State on April 18 reportedly said it had carried out a rocket attack on Uzbekistan from neighbouring Afghanistan. If confirmed, it would be the first strike by the terrorist group against the Central Asian nation.

Moldova revises budget in response to energy and humanitarian crises

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest April 19, 2022

Revised budget envisages a deficit of around 6.9% of the projected GDP for 2022 as government hikes spending to support economy and save jobs.

The battle of the Donbas has begun

Ben Aris in Berlin April 19, 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says Russia’s widely anticipated battle of the Donbas in eastern Ukraine has begun, as reports of heavy fighting and a Russian assault rolled in the evening of April 18.

Kazakhstan braces for fresh weakening of tenge in May amid Ukraine war uncertainy

Nizom Khodjayev in Almaty April 18, 2022

Analyst notes currency reacts to rate of ruble against dollar more than it does to oil price or any other factors.

Bulgaria’s parliament closes specialised court, prosecution amid fierce opposition

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia April 17, 2022

Closure of specialised prosecution and court seen as a step towards restoration of the rule of law in the EU’s most corrupt country.

Turkey moving to jail researchers who publish unapproved economic data

bne IntelIiNews April 14, 2022

Istanbul’s ENAG, which argues inflation stands at 143% not 61%, a particular thorn in side of Erdogan administration with country now in election mode.

Croatia raises €1.25bn from 10-year Eurobond

bne IntelliNews April 14, 2022

Croatia gets away first Eurobond of 2022 despite challenging market conditions.

Serbia’s new Chinese anti-aircraft system fuels fears of Balkan arms race

bne IntelliNews April 14, 2022

Weaponry arrived at a time of concern over the stability of the Western Balkans following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy appeals for more heavy weapons as Donbas battle looms

bne IntelliNews April 14, 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on the West to provide more and heavier weapons, warning that without them the conflict in Ukraine would become, “an endless bloodbath, spreading misery.”