This year, Ramadan will be different due to lockdowns and social-distancing protocols aimed at slowing the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has resulted in the closure of mosques and religious centers around the world.
The Russian Agriculture Ministry announced on April 26 that it was suspending its export of most grains until July 1, seemingly shrugging off warnings from international organizations that are asking countries not to disrupt global food supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The acting chief physician of a hospital for war veterans in the Russian city of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia is in intensive care and in "grave condition" after falling from a window of her fifth-floor office.
Thousands of Belarusians took part in an annual day of civic labor on April 25 at the government’s behest even as the coronavirus spreads in the country. Citizens working in groups planted trees and cleaned parks and streets; President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who has repeatedly dismissed concerns about the virus, took part in the event, as did other state officials. An orphanage for children with developmental disabilities in Belarus has reported that the coronavirus has spread to the facility.
TV stations in Ukraine, Serbia, and Spain, have bought up rights to the Tajik soccer championship, one of the few soccer leagues in the world that is continuing despite the coronavirus epidemic. Tajikistan has not reported any COVID-19 cases so far, but matches are being played behind closed doors as a precautionary measure.
One year ago, Volodymyr Zelenskiy won Ukraine's presidential runoff election with 73 percent of the vote, the largest tally in the country's history. Volodymyr Yermolenko, chief editor of the news site UkraineWorld and analytics director at Internews Ukraine, told RFE/RL, "Zelenskiy came to this post totally unprepared and he's facing unprecedented challenges." So, how has he done so far?
Russia is again among the five countries that spend the most on defense, according to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). In 2019, Moscow’s military expenditures amounted to more than $65 billion, 4.5% more than the previous year. Russia accounts for 88% of all military spending in Eastern Europe. By comparison, Ukraine’s defense budget last year was $5.2 billion. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
A recent wave of coordinated cyberattacks in the Czech Republic is likely tied to malware linked to Russia, Czech Internet security experts say. Earlier this month, Czech officials said IT systems at Prague's international airport, several hospitals, and the Health Ministry were targeted in the attacks, which sparked outrage in Prague.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill marking the end of World War II on September 3, a day later than the date recognized by most countries. That was the day when Soviet forces defeated Japanese troops in "a decisive contribution to end" the war. Japan and Russia have never signed a peace treaty to formally end the war because of a dispute over the Kurile Islands, which Soviet troops seized in 1945.
Reporters Without Borders says it is concerned about interference in the editorial decisions at Vedomosti since the newspaper was bought in March. In an April 24 statement, the media watchdog called the interference a further step in the takeover of the Russian media by people close to the government.
The United Nations says persistent and serious long-term consequences remain, more than 30 years after the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded in Ukraine. More than 1,000 firefighters were working on April 26 to put out brush and forest fires that have been burning the past three weeks within the plant’s 30-kilometer exclusion zone, raising concerns about the potential release of radioactive particles into the air.
Turkmenistan marked its national Horse Day on April 26, an annual holiday particularly loved by authoritarian President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov. State media, which propagates the president’s denial of any coronavirus outbreak, reported a series of events, including a race at the Equestrian Sports Complex near Ashgabat, the annual horse-beauty contest, art shows, and dancing performances.