OSCE talks between Russia and West on limiting Nato expansion end with little result

Ben Aris in Berlin January 13, 2022

The first round of Russian prompted talks to halt Nato’s eastern expansion and negotiate a new security deal in Europe has concluded, but with little progress made.

Lukashenko and Xi Jinping hold telephone conversation praising future co-operation

bne IntelliNews January 13, 2022

On January 10, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a phone conversation, marking 30 years of bilateral contact between the countries and praising the development of future bilateral co-operation.

Croatia probes alleged insider trading by central bank management

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia January 13, 2022

Probe into central bank governor Boris Vujcic and other senior officials launched after media reports that dozens of HNB employees traded in bonds of banks regulated by the central bank.

MEPs accuse EU Commissioner Varhelyi of supporting Dodik’s separatism in Bosnia

bne IntelliNews January 13, 2022

MEPs demand investigation into claims enlargement commissioner backed Dodik, despite denial by Hungary's ruling Fidesz.

Azerbaijan president uses rare interview to threaten Armenia

Javid Agha in Baku January 13, 2022

The interview is thought to be Ilham Aliyev's first major appearance before local media since he succeeded his father in 2003.

Moldova seeks last-minute solutions to avoid new gas crisis

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest January 13, 2022

Repeat of November gas crisis looms as Moldovan gas importer Moldovagaz lacks the €25mn needed to pay the January bill to its parent company Gazprom.

Orban sets regulatory prices of some staples ahead of election

bne IntelliNews January 13, 2022

Opposition parties said the government’s latest move is a clear admission that the Hungarian economy is in a tragic state.

Ukrainian Space Agency announces plans to launch eight satellites by 2025.

Dominic Culverwell in Berlin January 13, 2022

Ukraine will launch eight satellites within the next three years as it launches the National Targeted Scientific and Technical Space Program for 2021-2025.

West calls for Russia to de-escalate tensions, withdraw troops from Ukraine border if the Nato talks are to proceed.

Ben Aris in Berlin January 13, 2022

Russia and the Western delegations went eyeball to eyeball at the first Nato Council meeting in two years on January 12, with the allies demanding that Russia de-escalate tensions by withdrawing its troops from the Ukrainian border.

Erdogan’s popularity rating sinks amid Turkey’s economic turmoil

bne IntelIiNews January 12, 2022

Poll also shows three potential presidential rivals more admired than ruler of 19 years.

Bulgaria mulls abolishing “golden passports” for investments

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia January 12, 2022

Sofia has been warned by the EU several times that it has to abolish the practice of giving citizenship in return for pledged investments.

Lithuania terminates transport contract with Belarus potassium giant Belaruskali

bne IntelliNews January 12, 2022

Lithuania insists it did not break sanctions by allowing Belaruskali exports but the affair was extremely embarrassing because it has been one of the most strident voices calling for sanctions on Minsk.

Saudi Aramco and MOL buy Lotos assets to make PKN Orlen-Lotos merger possible

bne IntelliNews January 12, 2022

Orlen’s next goal is taking over oil and gas exploration and production company PGNiG to build a regional oil major.

Far-right ‘vaccinated anti-vaxxers’ try to storm Bulgarian parliament

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia January 12, 2022

Supporters of far-right Vazrazhdane party protest against COVID-19 restrictions and green certificates — but one-third of party’s MPs were revealed to have got the jab.

Kazakh and Belarusian CSTO peacekeepers spotted wearing blue UN peacekeeping helmets

Dominic Culverwell in Berlin January 12, 2022

Kazakh state media caused a stir after it published photographs of state security forces wearing blue UN helmets at a checkpoint in Almaty on January 9.

Poland’s pandemic death toll surpasses 100,000 ahead of omicron wave

bne IntelliNews January 12, 2022

Government remains wary of tightening curbs as they would annoy parts of its electorate, with masks and indoor restrictions largely unenforced.

Hungary’s population decline highest since 1876

bne IntelliNews January 12, 2022

The number of deaths in Hungary reached 150,000 last year, the highest since 1945, which means that the country’s population fell by nearly 60,000, the steepest decline in 145 years.

Hungarian president sets election day for April 3

bne IntelliNews January 12, 2022

United opposition faces uphill battle to dethrone strongman Viktor Orban, who has massive financial resources and the entire state apparatus plus most of the media behind him, as well as a gerrymandered electoral system.

Lithuania pays Guantanamo ‘forever prisoner’ $113,000 over CIA torture

Linas Jegelevicius in Vilnius January 12, 2022

Abu Zubaydah is reportedly still in Guantanamo Bay, where he has been held without being charged for the past two decades.

Kazakhstan’s Tokayev slates ‘Nazarbayev’ oligarchs in populist attempt to turn page on country’s unrest

bne IntelIiNews January 12, 2022

Announcing new ‘For the People’ fund, autocrat slams Kazakhstan’s financial system as dominated by large business groups "based on the principle 'everything for friends, and laws for everyone else'".