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[Oil And The Ruble]: “He Keeps On Following Me… He’s Some Sort Of Maniac!”

VISUAL REPORTS

Ukraine's Poroshenko Hails Domestic Reforms, Pushes Trump For Support

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko extolled his country's commitment to democracy and reform as he pushed U.S. President Donald Trump for support in a meeting hailed by Kyiv but downplayed by the U.S. administration.

VOX POP: Do You Agree That Putin Is Occupying The Seat For Too Long?

“Not necessarily,” said one respondent to an informal street poll in Moscow, who said he “fantasized” that Russian President Vladimir Putin would continue to manage Russia’s foreign relations, but opposition politician Aleksei Navalny would handle domestic affairs. Other respondents also gave Putin high marks for foreign policy, said he’s a great face for the country, that as long as he can do good he should stay, and that he’s in good shape and there’s lots to do. One respondent said the government is the problem, not Putin; and another said there is stagnation, and that more political competition would be healthy. (Russian Service)

Duma Bloggers Meeting Draws Mostly No-Shows

Many of Russia’s most popular videobloggers ignored a June 19 meeting convened by the State Duma to inaugurate a bloggers’ “Council.” Egor Yakovlev, creator of the Selfie videoblog, attended, but said that others declined because “Everyone is afraid to be dragged into a political campaign...and no one wants to waste their time.” Elizaveta Peskova, daughter of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, participated, but was quiet. (Russian Service).

Thousands Rally For Gay Pride In Kyiv, Amid Massive Police Presence

Thousands of gay-rights activists marched in a pride rally in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, on June 18 amid a massive police presence.

Moldovan Patients Find Love Inside, Outside Institution Walls

Some patients in Moldova's mental health institutions are getting a chance to live their lives in more mainstream surroundings.

OTHER NEWS

Russia Says U.S. Presence In Syria ‘Absolutely Illegal’

The U.S. military says it has shot down an armed, Iranian-made drone that was bearing down on its forces near a garrison in Syria's southeast, the latest in a series of incidents that has drawn protests from Moscow.

China, Russia To Hold Baltic Sea Military Drills After Trump Visit

A Chinese naval fleet held the first of two planned military exercises with the Russian Navy in the Baltic Sea over the weekend, with another scheduled days after U.S. President Donald Trump visits NATO ally Poland next month.

Kremlin Denies That Putin's Syria Video Was Actually Of U.S. Forces

The Kremlin says reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin showed filmmaker Oliver Stone footage of a U.S. helicopter shooting Islamic extremists in Afghanistan and told him it was the Russian Air Force in Syria are "nonsense."

EU Foreign Ministers Extend Crimea Sanctions

European Union foreign ministers have prolonged the bloc's investment ban against Crimea for another year.

European Court Rules Against Russian Gay 'Propaganda' Law

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia’s law banning the dissemination of gay "propaganda" to minors violates the right to freedom of expression, is discriminatory against gay people, and encourages homophobia.

New Law Classifies Personal Data For Persons Receiving State Protection

The Russian Duma has adopted a law authorizing the Federal Security Service to classify personal data belonging to people guarded by the Service’s security detail, including data about assets and property owned by senior government officials and heads of major corporations. (in Russian, Current Time TV)

FBI Assists Ukraine’s Anticorruption Agency In Amber Trade Probe

The head of Ukraine’s anticorruption bureau announced at a June 20 press conference that a bodyguard of Boryslav Rozenblat, a deputy with President Petro Poroshenko’s bloc, and a staffer for Maxim Polyakov, a deputy with former Premier Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s Popular Front party, have been arrested on allegations of facilitating a $200,000 bribe as payment to the deputies for proposing legislation that would lift restrictions on the mining and sale of amber. Rozenblat says the payment was planted. The bureau has requested that both deputies’ immunity be suspended so that they may stand trial. (Ukrainian Service)

Russia Writes Off Kyrgyz Debt, Pledges To Strengthen Joint Air Defense

During a June 20 meeting in Moscow, Russian and Kyrgyz finance ministers signed an agreement to write off Kyrgyzstan’s $240 million debt to Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev pledged to enhance their military-technical cooperation and develop a joint regional air defense system. (in Russian, Current Time TV)

EU To Draw Up New Central Asia Strategy By Late 2019

European Union foreign ministers agreed in Luxembourg on June 19 to update the current 2007 concept and propose a new Central Asia strategy by the end of 2019.

Airport In Kazakh Capital Renamed After President Nazarbaev

The airport in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, has been renamed after long-ruling President Nursultan Nazarbaev, state media have reported.

Tajikistan Bars Citizens Under 40 From Performing Hajj

Authorities in Tajikistan have barred citizens under the age of 40 from performing this year's annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

Turkmen President Issues Ramadan Pardon

State media in Turkmenistan are reporting that President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has pardoned more than 1,000 prisoners.

BLOGGING THE CAUCASUS: Ex-Speaker's New Party Could Transform Georgian Landscape

Eight months after his Republican Party suffered a crushing defeat in the October parliamentary elections, former parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili has formally launched a new centrist opposition party.

BLOGGING CENTRAL ASIA: Hydropower A Hot Topic In Central Asia, And Not Just Among Usual Suspects

PRESSROOM: Georgian Public Broadcaster Terminates RFE/RL Programs

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