A U.S. senator has accused China of "garbage propaganda" about the coronavirus. The European Union says claims that it is "disintegrating in the face of COVID-19 are trending on social media." China and Russia are targeting global audiences with state media reporting that plays up their aid to other countries while also spreading disinformation.
The back-and-forth about a Russian coronvavirus aid shipment has raised questions among observers: Did the United States violate its own sanctions, or carve out a special exemption to allow the shipment to go forward? If so, why? And why do accounts about payment conflict?
A group of European Union lawmakers is accusing Moscow of exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to try to get sanctions imposed over Russia's actions in Ukraine lifted, according to a letter seen by RFE/RL.
Russia’s Rospotrebnadzor Center for Molecular Diagnostics announced on April 6 the launch of at-home, mass testing for the coronavirus. The for-fee, contactless procedure, currently limited to the Moscow region, was developed by the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology and reportedly will not require a doctor's referral. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Russia has paused the evacuation of tens of thousands of its citizens stuck overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic. Local media reported that Russia on April 4 canceled all flights to return citizens from abroad to prevent the import of the virus, but Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said later that day that the government was only taking a pause to better plan their return.
Russians returning from foreign trips are being sent to sanitoria for a mandatory two-week quarantine, contrary to their expectations that they could self-quarantine at home, and regardless of whether they test positive or negative for the Covid-19 virus, according to travelers on an April 2 flight from Bangkok to Krasnoyarsk. The sanitoria are reported to lack sanitary conditions, have broken electrical sockets and TVs, cold water, one toilet per corridor, and sometimes not enough beds. Lawyers say the restrictions have been implemented in the absence of a court order or a law. (Russian Service/Siberia Realities)
Russia appears to have launched its first criminal probe under a newly minted law against knowingly misinforming the public about the coronavirus. St. Petersburg activist Anna Shushpanova says that local investigators on April 4 searched her apartment and seized her computers and telephone after she published a post on social media about local residents' concerns over inadequate quarantine measures at medical facilities in the town of Sestroretsk.
The European Federation of Journalists said in an April 4 statement that the quarantine of the Serb-majority town of North Mitrovica has resulted in “inappropriate and unethical” media coverage by Kosovar state broadcaster RTK and the Sinjali news portal.
The normally bustling streets and parks of Serbia's capital, Belgrade, were deserted after the Serbian government ordered a weekend curfew in an effort to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
Uzbekistan has reported a partnership with the Slovak company Chirana and Russian firms to produce its own ventilators and respiratory devices. The estimated investment for the first phase of manufacture is $3 million, with $5 - 6 million subsequently. The devices are planned for export to Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Afghanistan. (Uzbek Service/Current Time TV)
U.K.-based researchers have developed an app they hope can play a role in reducing infections and deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Tim Spector of King's College London explained to RFE/RL how the app works and how it could provide vital insight into the disease. (video)
Russia To Halt Kaliningrad Train Service, Rights Group Urges Sanctions Relief For Iran
The bronze statue of General Ivan Konev, a controversial memorial in Prague to a Soviet-era military commander, has been removed from its pedestal, drawing a rebuke from Moscow and from Czech President Milos Zeman.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has praised the Ukrainian parliament's adoption of legislation on banking and land reforms that could unlock billions of dollars in loans. Parliament on March 30 voted to lift a ban on the sale of farmland and approved in the first reading a banking law, although it failed to adopt a revised budget for 2020.
Aqil Humbatov, a member of the opposition Popular Front Of Azerbaijan, has been detained by police a day after he was released from a psychiatric clinic where he was held against his will for almost three days. His wife says she has not been able to locate her husband, nor have Baku city police given a reason for his detention.
Authorities in Turkmenistan have quelled a protest over food shortages by handing out sacks of flour to the angry demonstrators. About three dozen women in the southeastern Mary region on April 3 briefly blocked a local highway and marched toward the nearby headquarters of the provincial administration to protest shortages of government-subsidized flour and vegetable oil.