Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has a new chief of staff. Andriy Yermak was previously his foreign affairs adviser, negotiating a key prisoner exchange with Moscow and meeting with senior U.S. officials -- as well as President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudolph Guiliani.
Plans for a new highway in Russia's capital have led to protests. Locals say the project cuts straight through an industrial site contaminated with radioactive waste. A state-owned company has blamed high radioactive readings in the area on faulty equipment.
Amid a push from Russia for closer ties, Belarus is considering adopting a new national coat of arms that pointedly looks west. A newly proposed coat of arms has subtle differences from the previous one, which had roots dating back to Soviet times.
In the final winter of World War II, Allied bombers reduced one of Germany's most elegant cities to rubble, killing tens of thousands and sparking a bitter debate over whether the attack was justified.
RFE/RL Ukrainian Service contributor Stanislav Aseyev spent 962 days in captivity, most of it at a prison in separatist-controlled Donetsk. During his captivity, he began writing a book describing his experiences, but the first manuscript was confiscated. He began writing a second time. When he was released in a December 2019 prisoner exchange, a fellow prisoner, tank crewman Bohdan Pantyushenko, helped Aseyev smuggle out the manuscript. RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service is publishing the manuscript in Russian. Excerpts in English are here.
A court in Moscow has fined Twitter and Facebook for failing to move Russian user data onto servers in Russian territory. The Taganka district court on February 13 ordered the two global behemoths to pay 4 million rubles ($63,336) each for violating a law that obliges social-media companies to store their clients' data solely inside the country.
The Netherlands has rejected an offer by Moscow to prosecute three Russian men suspected of involvement in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, in which nearly 300 people were killed.
Kyrgyzstan has announced that Russia plans to install new air- and missile-defense equipment and drones at its air base near the northern city of Kant, in an effort to "improve security in the region," a statement from the Kyrgyz armed forces General Staff says.
RFE/RL on February 13 obtained a letter from the health ministry addressed to social groups opposing the criminalization of domestic violence, which says the ministry supports “traditional family values” …and the “introduction of criminal and administrative liability for spreading information discrediting the institute of family and marriage relations.” The letter states that the ministry also supports “raising from 16 to 18 years the consent age for activities of a sexual character between individuals of the same sex.”
Reporters Without Borders is calling on the European Parliament to condemn what it says are “institutional and systematic” efforts by senior officials in Bulgaria, which is an EU member state, to intimidate journalists.
The European Court of Human Rights has ordered Azerbaijan to pay compensation to Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov, two opposition activists who were jailed on drug charges after painting political graffiti on a statue of former President Heydar Aliyev.
Reporters Without Borders is raising alarm over an "increase in the harassment" of journalists in Armenia, who the watchdog says are being subjected to defamation suits and attacks on their right to protect their sources.
Serbian and Kosovar officials have signed a deal to restore a railway link between Belgrade and Pristina and to connect the two capitals with a highway in a step toward normalizing bilateral relations.
Labor Minister Rashela Mizrahi, a member of North Macedonia's caretaker government from the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE party, has angered Greece and reopened the former Yugoslav republic's most divisive issue by repeatedly appearing in front of an old backdrop that doesn't include "North" in the country's name.
The death toll in violent ethnic clashes last week between Kazakhs and ethnic Dungans in Kazakhstan's south, which shocked the Central Asian nation, has risen to 11. Local officials say forensic work is under way to identify a badly burned body found on February 11.
The grandson of former President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazabaev, Aisultan Rakhat, has requested political asylum in the UK. Writing on Facebook, Aisultan cited pressure on the family as a reason for his appeal, and said he has evidence of a corrupt $700 million gas scheme between the governments of Russia and Kazakhstan. (Russian Service)
Thousands of Uzbek students studying in neighboring Central Asian countries are rushing to transfer to universities in Uzbekistan after Tashkent announced an easing of procedures -- including no exams -- for such transfers on February 7.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has dismissed National Security Minister Yaylym Berdiev less than a month after he publicly rebuked him for perceived shortcomings in his performance. Colonel Gurbanmyrat Annaev has been named to replace him.
The RFE/RL Ukrainian Service investigative program Schemes reports that during a trip presented as an official visit to Oman in January, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy may have met with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev. Patrushev was visiting Oman at the same time and used the same chartered plane to travel there that Zelenskiy used to return from Muscat back to Kyiv. Zelensky was accompanied in Oman by his then-foreign affairs adviser Andriy Yermak, who earlier this week was appointed head of Zelenskiy's presidential administration. Ukraine’s presidential administration has denied the allegations and demanded a retraction. (Ukrainian Service)