Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko defended herself in final testimony before a court in the Russian city of Donetsk today, saying she was performing her duty at the time of her 2014 arrest by defending her homeland. She said a rumored exchange of her release for two Russian soldiers detained in Ukraine is too big a price to pay for her freedom, and threatened a hunger strike if the verdict in her case is delayed. RFE/RL is live-streaming the court proceedings here. (Russian Service)
Kyiv is considering stripping a major thoroughfare of the name Moskovsky Prospekt, or Moscow Avenue, and renaming it after the deeply divisive Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera.
At a military training ground near Kharkov, cadets with Ukraine’s National Guard Academy practice shooting a 120-millimeter caliber mortar. (Ukrainian Service)
Mobile app and website developers are flourishing in Bishkek, where they are receiving more and more orders from Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and other countries, and sit astride a strategic border with China. (Current Time TV)
In a 2012 interview republished to mark his 85 birthday, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said that when authorities are criticized in Russia, they only get angrier, and suggested that only the development of public opinion could cure “the disease.” (In Russian)
Ahead of the March 3 Normandy Four meeting in Paris, a contact group in Minsk on March 2 reached agreement to identify areas in eastern Ukraine that still have to be demined, and to ban any weapons training in the 15km zone from the contact line in Donbas. (In Ukrainian)
The Supreme Court of annexed Crimea announced a hearing on March 3 to consider suspending the Mejlis, the traditional representative body of the peninsula’s Crimean Tatar community, on grounds that it threatens Crimea’s constitutional order and security. (In Russian)
In a move that might improve upon Belarus’s traditionally thuggish treatment of unsanctioned protesters, Belarus’s Interior Minister announced on March 1 that demonstrators would now be subject to “administrative protocols,” interpreted as a charge sheet or citation, rather than arrests. (In Belarusian)
Former U.S. congressman Dan Burton has resigned from the Azerbaijan America Alliance, which has paid U.S. lobbyists more than $12 million since 2011.
Speaking about his recent book, Czech journalist and security analyst Ondrej Kundra said that Russian intelligence services have long been active in the Czech Republic, but that confronting them is increasingly difficult. (In Russian)
The 6,000 residents of Kalyny, a town in western Ukraine, are ditching their Soviet past and renaming Vladimir Lenin Street after the late Beatle John Lennon.
Despite the slowdown, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev told diplomats in Astana on March 2 that container traffic through Kazakhstan en route to Europe from China is expected to nearly double this year, underscoring the country’s influential role as a transit territory.