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.

President says Serbia suffering from refusal to join sanctions on Russia

bne IntelliNews May 16, 2022

Serbia is missing out on investments because of its stance, President Aleksandar Vucic says, but stands by decision not to join sanctions on its old ally.

Profits of Romanian gas, nuclear companies surge on high energy prices

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest May 16, 2022

Two state-controlled energy companies in Romania — Romgaz and Nuclearelectrica — boasted record profits in the first quarter of this year helped by the high natural gas and electricity prices.

Separatist Transnistria expects 20% economic contraction this year

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest May 16, 2022

Moldovan officials believe leaders in Transnistria don't want to become involved in the Ukraine war that would further devastate the region's economy, despite a strong pro-war faction.

Estonian firms move forward with LNG facility project without state support

Linas Jegelevicius in Vilnius May 16, 2022

The Paldiski terminal is expected to receive LNG from a floating terminal, ending Estonia's 80% dependence on Russian gas.

Azerbaijani activists protest against police brutality in Baku

Javid Agha in Baku May 16, 2022

Demonstrators protest against the lack of investigation into the attacks on government critics and journalists.

Reports of four dead in Iran as protests spread over bread price hikes

bne IntelIiNews May 15, 2022

Unrest, however, does not appear to have reached Tehran. Government may be in difficulties with its subsidy reform.